NYCHA cleans up wastewater mess in South Jamaica Houses

Photos courtesy of Councilman Ruben Will’s office

Updated 2:19 p.m.

A problematic sewage pipe that flooded three floors of a Jamaica housing development was flushed out Tuesday by a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) cleaning crew but one resident was forced to remove and clean her damaged belongings.

Ebony Holmes, who has lived in an apartment in South Jamaica Houses for seven years, bore the brunt of the flooding and had water laced with feces and cigarettes spewing out of her toilet and tub on Sunday.

NYCHA employees visited the housing development several times since then to try to clean up the flooding, which also occurred last year, Holmes said. Employees came out on Sunday night and Monday to mop the floors and snake the drain.

“It’s disgusting,” Holmes said. “I told them this is not going to fix the issue.”

According to published reports, a NYCHA crew came back on Tuesday and used a high-power washer to clean up the wastewater and injected enzymes into the pipe, which will eat the sludge collected in the pipe.

Holmes was forced from her home Sunday night while the development was being cleaned and NYCHA set her up in a one-bedroom apartment until her home is cleaned out. In order to fully disinfect her apartment, Holmes was told that she must remove clothing and other damaged items so crews can work.

Holmes requested a new apartment to avoid dealing with flooding again but NYCHA officials told her they do not have an apartment open.

Councilman Ruben Wills, who visited the site after Holmes expressed her frustration to him, commended NYCHA for taking steps to fix the problem, including working to compensate her for damaged possessions.