Ditch covered — but residents are still blowing their tops

Residents say Bergen construction a danger to kids
Photo by Steve Solomonson

The city’s attempt to secure and cover a half-block wide ditch ripping across Avenue K in Georgetown is about as helpful as putting perfume on a pig, outraged residents said this week.

“It’s still disgusting,” one resident, who wished not to give his name, told this paper Monday, during our inspection of a Department of Environmental Protection sewer project that hasn’t been worked on for over a month. “We’ve lived with this too long and we don’t need it. The city has forgotten about us.”

The city cut up two blocks of Avenue K beginning at Bergen Avenue last October so they could put in underground pipes that would prevent raw sewage from draining into the nearby Paerdegat Basin. It was part of a larger $404-million sewer treatment facility that will protect both Paerdegat Basin and Jamaica Bay. The city flicked the switch on the new facility in May.

But all work was halted on the Avenue K sewer project in July, leaving behind an unsupervised ditch that some neighbors say kids are using as a playground.

“They definitely get in,” said Anthony Joga, who lives nearby. “I’ve actually had to chase some of them out of there.”

After calls by this paper and Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Marine Park), the city blocked off and covered the ditch with concrete barriers, fences and black tarps on Aug. 5.

The ditch is now secure, encased in a fence and surrounded by black netting, but residents who have lost parking spots — and look out onto their gutted street each day, now want to know something else: when will this project be completed?

The city has no answers for them, but says that the stalled project will start up again in the fall.

“This is just a temporary work stoppage,” said Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Mike Saucier. “The work will resume in several weeks.”

Saucier said that a change in the project’s plans needed to be registered with the city before work could commence.