Bay Street residents split $$ for leaky ‘private’ main

Bay Street residents split $$ for leaky ‘private’ main
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

A leaky water main underneath a City Island street has been fixed, but is still causing a flood of concerns.

On Tuesday, December 18, NYC Department of Environmental Protection Public Affairs and Communications deputy commissioner Michael DeLoach sent a letter to the affected property owners about Bay Street’s water problem.

According to DeLoach, residents of 152, 154, 168, 175, 176, 178, 179 and 180 Bay Street are served by a private water main which DEP does not maintain.

The private water main has been leaking for some time resulting in a ponding condition near City Island Avenue.

DEP recommended that a licensed master plumber investigate the issue and asked that all necessary repairs be made as soon as possible.

DEP threatened to shut off water service in order to curtail the leak if the repair wasn’t made.

In such an scenario, homeowners would be subjected to a sizable $1,000 Water Shut Off fee as required under the NYC Water Board Rate schedule.

Bill Stanton, City Island Civic Association president, said that Bay Street residents contacted the civic group about this issue.

Fred Ramftl, City Island Civic first vice president, said that Bay Street’s private water main leak started prior to Thanksgiving and froze up during a recent cold snap.

A decade ago, at the urging of then-Councilman James Vacca the city mapped and paved the street, but did not take responsibility for its private water main.

Barbara Dolensek, City Island Civic second vice president, explained that the 100-yard long Bay Street was originally known as Vickery Lane.

She recently observed water from the leaky main flowing past the City Island Library.

“Puddling on City Island is nothing new especially with all of the rainy weather we’ve had this year, but this incident happened on a dry day,” shared Dolensek.

Ann MacIntyre, a 24-year Bay Street resident and mother of seven, said she and four of her neighbors anted up $700 each to hire a licensed plumber to fix the leak.

The private water main was fixed about two weeks ago at a cost to the homeowners of approximately $4,000.

The next step is to have the city take over the aging water main.

“Now that the water main is fixed, we want to know what can be done to make the water main public since we all live on a public street,” said MacIntyre.

She expressed concerns that the water main may be in bad shape and start leaking from other spots in the near future.

MacIntyre and her neighbors will explore if there is a way the DEP can reclassify Bay Street’s water main as a public one.

She and her neighbors will also pursue means to have the city reimburse their repair bill.

In the wake of this incident, Matt Cruz, Community Board 10 district manager, urges homeowners to sign up for the Water and Sewage Line Protection program.

Most residential and mixed-use properties with a single 2-inch or smaller water service line may be eligible for the voluntary Service Line Protection plan offered by the city through American Water Resources.