By ELLYN MARKS
8:27 PM EDT, August 8, 2012
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
It’s not the sky that’s falling, but the earth opening up in a couple of spots in Bay Ridge, that has some of its residents rattled.
Mimi Carroll lives near the giant sinkhole on 79th Street that came close to swallowing a car last Wednesday.
“Thank God there wasn’t a car going down the street at the time,” she said. “So then it’s not just damage to the street, and property, it’s people.”
But the mother of all sinkholes in the neighborhood was the cave-in at 92nd Street and Third Avenue at the end of June. Workers have yet to reach the damaged portion of the sewer main 70 feet below street level. It’s expected to be weeks before the work is completed and the street reopened.
“We have to deal with keeping the hole structurally sound. We have to deal with buildings around us being shaken, and we have a lot of concerns from gas lines to electric,” said construction worker George Aragona.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection said the two incidents are a coincidence, but that both were caused by holes in the more than 100 year old pipes. While the agency said there was no cause for alarm, Community Board 10 has been carefully logging an increased number of complaints about sinkholes, potholes and depressions.
“We have been paying closer attention to trends or to complaints that recur,” said Community Board 10’s district manager, Josephine Beckmann. “In those situations we will ask, particularly when it comes to a small sinkhole or cave-in, the DEP to make sure the sewer line or water lines are intact.”
State Senator Martin Golden said the band-aid fix is not a solution to problems caused by aging infrastructure. He’s calling for an overhaul of the area’s old water and sewer pipes, like what was done successfully in Dyker Heights a few years ago.
“If you have a real plan that goes in and takes this aging infrastructure and fixes it, you get it done,” Golden said.
Community Board 10 will host a meeting with representatives of the DEC Thursday, August 9 at 7pm to update residents on the 92nd Street emergency sewer repair project. It will be held in the Shore Hill Community room at 9000 Shore Road.
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