DEP vows to fix Puritan Ave. sinkhole

This sinkhole in the middle of Puritan Avenue between Waterbury and E. Tremont avenues should be fixed by DEP soon. Photo by a Rocchio

For two months, residents of Puritan Avenue between E. Tremont and Waterbury avenues have had to contend with a large sinkhole right in the middle. Cars have to swerve to avoid hitting the one- to two-foot deep hole.

The Department of Environmental protection has responded to the situation, placing temporary barriers and cones up in the middle of the street to alert drivers, before they reach the large cave-in, so they can steer clear of a potential accident.

A DEP spokeswoman said that the hole, which is about the width of a manhole cover, is caused by a minor break in an underground sewer main.

“The hole was caused by a small crack in the sewer system, but no one is going to get a backup in their [home’s] sewer line,” said DEP spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla. “We made the area safe by sending a work crew which put cones up. We have an emergency contractor that is scheduled to repair it in the next few days.”

Padilla claims the agency has not received any phone calls from the residents of the street, but Rose Francomano who lives directly across from the cave-in said she had called 311 about seven times since the beginning of July.

“I first called 311 on July 3, but no one came out [right away],” Francomano said. “After a while, they put cones up in the street, but in the meantime anyone who would drive down the block would have to swerve out of the way to avoid hitting the cave-in. When they did this, they would just miss hitting cars that were parked along the street. Even though the cones are up, people still park next to them, risking accidents.”

Francomano is concerned that the broken sewer pipe could cause the sewer line on her own property to back up, and that this would need to fixed at her own expense. Residents on the block had been in touch with Councilman Jimmy Vacca, whose staff has been working on the project.

When asked, DEP did not comment as to whether or not the broken pipe was an isolated incident, or part of a larger underground problem.

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