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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Progress, if slow, on Barnes
Jeffrey Press
When the Department of Public Works paved over a sewer cap on Barnes Avenue, residents wondered if the county was merely covering up a problem. Those fears, it seems, are unfounded. The sewer system has been extensively repaired, according to the county, and informed observers of the situation are optimistic.

The sewer system that ruptured on Barnes Avenue during Hurricane Sandy has been repaired — a sign of progress in an area where some residents feel things are moving too slowly.

Early this month, a crew from the Department of Public Works set up on Barnes, did some work below street level, then paved around the sewer caps with new asphalt. Residents writing to the Herald at the time wondered if Nassau County was just “paving over the problem?” The answer appears to be no.

According to Mike Martino, press secretary for the DPW, the repairs on Barnes have been comprehensive. “The work included cleaning of storm debris, excavation and inspection and assessment of buried utilities,” Martino said. He also told the Herald that a tide-flex valve had been added to the storm drain to prevent the back-flow of seawater from the canal onto the roadway, and pointed to the area’s new “concrete curbs, gutters, sidewalks and new sub-base and asphalt.”

Jerry Brown, Commissioner of Sanitary District 2 — which handles Baldwin and the surrounding area — observed the repairs and said he felt positive about the outcome. “The jury’s still out on this one,” Brown said. “We can’t really know until there’s a rain event, but we’re optimistic.”

High and dry?

Above ground, some residents are not pleased with the rate at which homes that were contaminated when the sewer backed up are being set to rights. Most vocal among these are Barnes Avenue residents Jeffrey and Erica Press, who said that dealing with the aftermath of the storm now amounts to a full-time job. The Presses’ home was flooded during Sandy, and they worry that contaminants that mixed with floodwater and flowed through their first floor may pose health risks to them and their young daughter.

The Presses said that county cleanup crews in white protective suits came to their home and treated areas of their first floor with a mold-stabilizing agent called Fiberlock IAQ. They were puzzled, however, when the crews left their bathroom and furnace untreated. While the substance used to treat their home will stop additional mold from growing, they said, it will not do anything to redress the damage already done.

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