Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Sewer blockage pushes waste into 300 New York City homes

Published:Monday | December 2, 2019 | 9:50 AM
In this photo provided by Cynthia McKenzie is sewage backup that flooded her home, Saturday, November 30, 2019, in the Jamaica, Queens section of New York. (Cynthia McKenzie via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A blocked sewer main flooded basements Saturday with brown filth and left residents in the neighbourhood near New York City’s Kennedy Airport feeling sickened by the stench.

A water condition caused the backup, pushing human waste into about 300 homes in Jamaica, Queens, officials said.

Cynthia McKenzie said she woke up around 3:00 a.m. to an odour she thought was a gas leak, only to realise that sewage water was rushing into her basement.

As the water level rose, McKenzie said she raced to move furniture and other belongings — but some electronics couldn't’t be saved.

After a few hours, she said, her whole neighbourhood was awash in fetid fluid.

“It’s messy,” said McKenzie, who posted photos showing murky water covering the floor of a basement bedroom and the bottom of a staircase.

“When you open it, it just smells,” she said. “It makes you want to vomit. We have to pack up all the clothes.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said crews were making repairs and bringing in pumping equipment to clear up the mess.

The city’s water agency says drinking water is safe and unaffected, but de Blasio advised residents to reduce usage to cut down on water going into the blocked main.

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