Water leak concerns Pelham Bay Park user

Spencer Estate resident Sal Grassia stands next to a manhole cover he said frequently bubbles over with water that pools on a path he uses to cross through the park. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Sal Grassia enjoys his morning strolls through Pelham Bay Park on his way to pick up his coffee and a newspaper. But sometimes on the way back, he feels like he is crossing the Bronx River.

The path that Grassia travels on through the park is sometimes flooded by water that comes gushing out of a manhole cover near the Pelham Bay Nature Center at the Wilkinson Avenue entrance to the park, he said.

It bothered Grassia, a senior citizen from Middletown Road in Spencer Estate, so much that he spoke with supervisors in the Parks Department’s office near where the back-up of water sometimes makes the path unusable.

“The other day I was going through the park and you could see the water coming out of the manhole and running like crazy,” Grassia said. “The water runs like a river, and it is coming from a pipe that was installed in the last few years.”

Grassia said that he thinks this issue should be brought to light, as it appears that the water pipe leading to the sprinkler at the Sweet Gum Playground is wasting many gallons of water at a time when homeowners have been socked with double-digit increases in water and sewer fees over the past few years.

As elected fight against still another water rate increase for the next fiscal year, and the city is straining under fiscal distress, Grassia argued that every ounce of water counts.

“I am not sure how many gallons of water are being wasted with this problem,” Grassia said when asked.

Grassia said that he had spoken to Parks Department personnel in the park, and that he had been informed they had put a snake in the pipe leading to the playground, but as of yet have not been able to find the cause of the problem.

The Parks Department said it is looking into the matter, and has taken corrective measures to temporarily stop the pooling of water on the pathway. The agency denied there was a leak.

“There is no leak in the water valve in Pelham Bay Park, though an occasional back up from a storm line or spray shower run at too high a volume can cause puddling,” said Parks spokeswoman Jesslyn Moser. “Our plumbers are investigating the situation and we hope to rectify it soon. In the meantime, we are keeping the showers on low.”

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