Official Outlines Pipe Protection Plan
Middle Village residents raised concerns Monday night, Mar., 11, about the state of sanitation in their community and a protection plan for water and sewer service lines at the Middle Village Property Owners/Residents Association (MVPORA) meeting at St. Margaret’s Parish Hall.
The association heard presentations from Iggy Terranova of the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Karen Ellis of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Changes to Sanitation
Currently, the city does not pick up some plastics-that’s about to change. Terranova said the DSNY plans to make a formal announcement in April that city collectors will begin accepting all plastics as recycling.
There will be some relief for customers whose trash is picked up in the evenings, too. Starting the first week of April, the department will switch which blocks receive evening pickup, Terranova said.
He explained that, every few years, the department rotates which areas are collected in the evenings, and now it’s time for the currently affected areas to return to regular service.
Terranova reminded the audience that, now that spring is near, garbage should be curbed no earlier than 5 p.m. the night before pickup. Changes take effect the first week of April, along wiht changes to nighttime pickup.
After a public complaint, he clarified why customers with Monday recycling pickup have to wait an extra week for service after a Monday holiday.
“Recycling doesn’t pose a health hazard,” he said.
While all garbage should be picked up by the Thursday following a Monday holiday, the city-which usually doubles its efforts on Tuesday to accomplish this-doesn’t have the resources to also expedite recycling collection, he noted.
Upon hearing a complaint about overflowing garbage cans on along Metropolitan Avenue, Terranova said the cans are emptied six days a week, and that commercial establishments and residents along the road may have been dumping personal trash in the receptacles.
“Baskets don’t get filled up-immediately- with a Dunkin Donuts coffee or a napkin. It gets filled up when somebody brings their [garbage] bag to the corner.”
He said the department would check to see whether any cans had been removed before assessing the situation further.
There was also a general concern about garbage trucks and snow plows pushing snow onto residents’ sidewalks and burying cars.
“[Trucks] have to go to the curb; there’s no choice,” Terranova said, citing current regulations.
He suggested residents keep snow on the curb rather than in the gutter and refrain from shoveling it into the middle of the street where a plow might push it back up against a car.
DEP service line protection
Karen Ellis, the DEP’s Queens community coordinator, was present to take questions about the optional service line protection plan being offered through the department.
The service covers repairs for normal wear and tear on water and sewer pipes that connect mixed-use and residential buildings to the DEP’s main lines.
While the cost of the protection plan shows up on customers’ water bill, the plan is not a city-run service, Ellis said. The city put out a request for proposals and chose American Water Resources (AWR) through a competitive bidding process, she added.
The program, which Ellis stated was “not an insurance plan,” can protect customers from incurring thousands of dollars in repair fees or losing water service to their homes in the event that a water or sewer line breaks. Upkeep of such lines is a homeowner’s responsibility, though the lines often extend into the street before tying into DEP’s main pipes, she said.
Repairs are conducted by New York master plumbers who are contracted by AWR, Ellis said.
The service is $3.99 per month and $7.99 per month for water and sewer protection respectively.
But Ellis said the rates are only fixed until the end of June, when AWR plans to raise the water protection rate to $4.49. AWR does not need city approval to raise rates, and all services are subject to state and local tax, she added.
Customers can sign up over the phone or online and opt out at any time. Protection begins within 30 days of AWR processing the paperwork, and customers will receive confirmation by mail when service begins, Ellis noted.
Responding to citizens’ concerns about whether the city made any money from the program, Ellis said it receives 11 cents on the dollar for administrative costs.
There will be a hearing regarding water rates in April.
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The next Middle Village Property Owners and Residents Association meeting will be held Monday, Apr. 8 at St. Margaret’s Parish Hall, located at 66-05 79th Pl. in Middle Village.