City: We’re not to blame for Ridge’s sinkhole problem

Residents: Ridge streets are caving in
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Homeowners are responsible for repairing the sinkholes that are forming throughout Bay Ridge, according to city officials who say that many of the dips, depressions, and holes opening on neighborhood streets are caused by faulty pipes that connect private homes to the main water and sewer lines — pipes that should be maintained by the property holder.

Department of Environmental Protection officials are taking full responsibility for the 70-foot sinkhole near the corner of 93rd Street and Ridge Boulevard residents say has left a cloud of noxious-smelling sewer gas over the community, but claim they are not to blame for more than two-thirds of the smaller street openings found in the neighborhood.

“Not all the holes in the street belong to us,” Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Jim Roberts said, pointing to a busted sewage conduit coming out of a home on 92nd Street between Ridge Boulevard and Colonial Road — which is just a block away from the 93rd Street sinkhole. Construction crews are tearing up part of 92nd Street to replace the pipe, but Roberts said it was unrelated to the work being done on the 93rd Street sinkhole, which he says won’t be fixed, filled in, and sealed until the end of the month.

Residents and civic leaders overwhelmed by the foul stench coming from the 93rd Street opening, as well as the loss of parking spots as crews work on the hole, were frustrated by the news and demanded that the city do a better job monitoring their underground infrastructure in the future.

“We deserve a little more assurance that this will not happen again,” said Community Board 10 Environmental Committee Chairman Bob Hudock,

Still, some welcomed Roberts’ optimistic outlook.

“They were talking about finishing up around Christmas,” said Community Board 10 Chairwoman Joanne Seminara. “They’ve been very responsive to our concerns.”