The Fourth Avenue flood! Heavy rain brings not-quite-Biblical damage

The Brooklyn Paper
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Fourth Avenue and Carroll Street was inundated Tuesday afternoon with filthy water rising as high as car tires — once again infuriating locals in the flood-prone area.

The incident — not quite of Biblical proportions, but a major inconvenience all the same — was due to repairs of a damaged sewer that caused flooding two years ago.

According to Joann Amitrano, who manages a building at the flood-damaged corner, the Department of Environmental Protection had finally gotten around last week to installing two new catch basins — a device below the storm drain that collects sediment from the water cascading into the sewer itself — but had run into problems while excavating.

“There was zero capacity for absorbing water to go into the main sewer,” said Amitrano. “I said, ‘Get the sandbags out of the basement, get the rubber mats.’ This is how we’ve lived for the last two years!”

Agency spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla said that the flooding occurred because the catch basins needed to be cleaned, but Amitrano disagreed.

“The catch basins weren’t even in existence, they had completely removed the old ones, ” she said. “They were digging and hit some utilities [last week].”

The underground utilities delayed the replacement of the basins, and led Amitrano to expect the worst.

“I asked one of the workers, ‘What happens if it rains?” recalled Amitrano. “He said, ‘I guess you have to hope it doesn’t flood.’ ”

But her hopes were to no avail, as the water from Tuesday’s brief, but heavy, rains had damaged basements and the ground floors of buildings near the intersection.

Michelle Giancola, the owner of Root Hill Café, said she was considering suing the city for damage to her badly damaged coffee shop, which actually won a design award last year.

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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