Septic tank issues behind Hutch gas station raising concern

Constant septic tank problems along the Hutchinson River Parkway is leaving the bicycle path covered in waste. Photo by Vito Signorile

There’s a constant stench coming from a gas station along the Hutchinson River Parkway, and it’s not gasoline.

The Citgo Gas Stations on the north and southbound side of the Hutchinson River Parkway are mostly known for their high gas prices, but a constant septic tank overflow behind the station on the northbound side is raising a stink.

Throggs Neck resident Tom Ziegler frequently uses the bike path directly behind the gas station. While walking along the path in early 2010, Ziegler said that is when he first noticed the overflowing septic tank.

“At first I thought maybe it was just a one-time problem, but if you look closely at the bike path, the concrete is stained from waste,” Ziegler said. “From that point on I continued to use the path for exercise and I found the same result every time. The smell is unbearable back there so I started making phone calls to city agencies to get to the bottom of it.”

Although Citgo and Dunkin Donuts lease the property, the land is owned by the city Department of Parks and Recreation. Ziegler contacted Parks Department and the city Department of Environmental Protection to get answers.

According to Ziegler, he was told on several occasions by Parks that the situation was already known about and that a repair was emminent.

However, after over a year and a half from when he first discovered the problem, the septic tank is still leaving a stinky mess along the path.

DEP told Ziegler that after the location was inspected, it was confirmed that the sewage on the bicycle path is from “a reoccurring chronic septic tank overflow condition.”

Ziegler was also told that a condition, such as this, falls under the jurisdiction of the city Department of Health, who apparently issued summonses to all parties responsible for the maintenance of the septic system.

The most recent inspection of the area, according to Ziegler, came during the first week in November.

On Friday, November 4, Ziegler said nothing was repaired once again, and sewage waste was running freely over the path.

Reach Vito Signorile via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3383.

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