2015-11-04 / Front Page

City: File On Line For Water Main Losses

By Liz Goff
City officials are urging homeowners, residents and business owners who suffered losses in the massive water main break last month in Elmhurst to file for damages online with the office of City Controller Scott Stringer.  

A bumbling crew of construction workers turned Queens Boulevard into a raging river on October 23, when water gushed into nearby buildings for more than five hours before it was turned off.

The raging geyser wreaked havoc with mass transit and motorists near Broadway and Queens Boulevard and forced the evacuation of nearby buildings, fire officials said.

A construction worker using a drill rig accidentally ruptured the 20-inch water main at about 8:05 a.m. on Friday, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said. The water receded at about 1:50 p.m., after workers were able to shut down the damaged main, the DEP spokesperson said.

Officials had trouble identifying which of the many mains running under the street had been damaged, leading to the five-hour turnoff delay, the DEP spokesperson said.

Water near the site at 51-35 Reeder Street in Elmhurst spewed into the neighborhood, reaching the tops of light poles and fire alarm boxes, fire officials said.

Department of Buildings (DOB) officials launched an investigation to determine exactly what happened at the site, where inspectors issued two violations in recent months, including a stop work order that barred workers from doing underpinning work at the site, a DOB spokesperson said.

The owner, 85-15 Queens Blvd. LLC was also slapped with a $1,500 fine in August, after owners failed to notify DOB before they started digging at the site.

Officials at the Department of Environmental Protection are urging anyone seeking damages from the city for the massive water main break to file an online claim with the City Controller’s Office at: www.controller@nyc.org.


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