The foul nasty smell of sewage is driving customers away from a restaurant in Clason Point.
In 2017, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and NYC Department of Design and Construction began a $95 million project to clean up Pugsley Creek in the eastern Bronx.
Smack in the middle of this work is Blackgal Sea Food at 1930 Patterson Avenue.
Owner of the eatery, Ricky Chambers, said the past two years have not been easy. In addition to the foul smell, his street was blocked off for about five months, so his delivery drivers could not get to the store and it was difficult for customers to access as well.
Furthermore, last month raw sewage overflowed from the store’s bathroom toilet causing him to spend $600 to clean up the mess. He had to throw out all the prepared food and close the store.
He said the sewage disruptions are impacting his business. “I can’t operate a food (establishment) here like this.”
The construction area is fenced off around the corner from the restaurant, warding off a huge gaping hole in the street.
The stench forced Ras Gourmet Deli, at 268 White Plains Road, to close and has created problems for Mi Casita next to it, he said.
Some customers have remained loyal. Sherard King, a south Bronx resident, who travels across town to the seafood joint because of its sumptuous dishes, has commented that the smell in the area is terrible.
“It’s nasty. It smells just like sewage,” King said.
Chambers said he has contacted the DEP, but has not heard back.
Meanwhile, Community Board 9 is well aware of this issue. William Rivera, district manager for CB 9 said the board is working with the DEP and DDC to resolve the smell.
Rivera explained the board meets with Yolanda Vasquez, the site’s construction representative every month and he has visited the site himself.
“(To make a) long story short they have tried to cover the construction site with tarps and have an air system in place which has not helped,” Rivera said.
The odor is coming from the sewage that is passing through an exposed chamber, which unexpectedly needed repairs, according to DDC
To address odor concerns from the local community, two odor control systems were installed to continuously spray a solution to reduce the smell, which is refilled once or twice a week.
To alleviate combined sewer overflows into the East River and upgrade the local infrastructure, DDC is working near Pugsley Creek to add 4,175 feet of new sewers, replace 20 catch basins, replace 9,500 feet of water mains and install 1,800 feet of new water mains.
The job entails installing nearly mile-long parallel sewer lines along White Plains Road from Lacombe to Cornell Avenue.
The project is needed to direct wastewater to the Hunts Point Wastewater Treatment Plant and reduce combined sewer overflows into Pugsley Creek by 98 percent.
The project will also include the replacement of nearly two miles of roughly 100-year-old cast iron water mains with new, stronger ductile iron mains.
The project is anticipated to be completed in mid to late winter 2020