Smell hell

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city is trying to cover up a stench residents say it created — and needs to find the cause of.

“They’re not fixing the problem. They’re masking it,” said Marine Avenue resident Irene Rivera, who’s been dealing with a hideous smell that’s been permeating her house since the city completed a $6.8 million sewer and water main replacement along Fort Hamilton Parkway in 2006. “I don’t want to move. I don’t want to sell my house, but I can’t stand the smell anymore.”

The city acknowledges that the smell, which seems to be contained to Fort Hamilton Parkway between 92nd Street and Fort Hamilton Park — but is famous for rising out of catch basins at Marine Avenue — exists, but to date has only tried to figure out ways to mask the odor.

To that end, the city has installed carbon filters in local sewers in hopes of capturing the smell before it gets out. Four new filters were recently installed in manholes along the strip between 92nd and 101st streets by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

But residents say the smell persists.

“It smells like dead fish,” said Rivera.

Christine Mascialino, however, said that she hadn’t noticed any smell inside her house recently, though she had picked up the scent at the corner over the past week.

“Anything is a help,” she said. “I’m hoping that this will fix the problem.”

The new filters join seven that had previously been installed, and city officials are hoping that there is power in numbers to combat the problem that they believe arose because of a change in air flow underground.

“Instead of gases being carried underground, they are back-flowing [into people’s homes],” explained Assistant Commission Mark Lanaghan during the Dec. 9 meeting with CB 10’s Environmental Committee.

The carbon filters — like the pine-filled socks the city threw into the sewers some years back — won’t actually rectify the situation, which likely would take another expensive construction project to fix, but will hopefully eliminate the odors, Lanaghan said, as the agency continues to look for a permanent solution.

“We’ve been having some success over the last year with it,” he added. “It looks like the odors are being much better controlled than in 2008 or 2009. That’s some comfort to us.”

But residents say a permanent fix is necessary.

“You’re dealing with a symptom,” said Community Board 10 member Ron Gross. “It’s like you’ve got a cold and you blow your nose.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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