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Photo by Mark Hallum
The DDC will commence construction on the Penelope Avenue sewer installation project starting Oct. 29.

The city Department of Design and Construction (DDC) was rocking and rolling on the Penelope Avenue sewer project on schedule Monday, as promised at a Community Board 5 meeting earlier in October.

Councilman Robert Holden said his office is keeping a close eye on the project after lead in the soil stalled construction on the Middle Village sewer installations for months and resulted in damage to surrounding homes.

“Now that we know the project is officially underway, I will make sure to stay on top of DDC and the contractor going forward,” Holden said. “The residents directly affected by this project have suffered too much, and there can be no more setbacks.”

Holden has also introduced legislation to require city agencies to report discoveries of contaminants to the local council member, community boards, civic associations and school districts claiming the DDC did not inform anyone of the lead found in the project.

The project – which spans from Gray Street between 66th Drive and Juniper Valley Road, and at the intersection of 77th Street and 66th Road – was originally set to cost $22 million but required an additional $8 million to finish after remediations for the lead were made.

DDC representative Jeff Margolies told CB5 the project would pick up again on Oct. 29 and should be finished by the end of 2019.

Lead in soil has minimal effects on the health of residents, according to Margolies.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer held a news conference in early September in which he toured 74th Street where damage to homes was most profound and found massive cracks forming on patios, soiling breaking away from the concrete foundations of houses, curbs that were sinking into the ground and stoops that were separating from structures.

Nancy DeMino, who lives on the street, said water flooding her basement with regularity is beginning to take an emotional toll on her 14-year-old daughter.

According to Holden, the city began the project without the knowledge that the area was once a swamp, and hence did not take into consideration the landfill area had been filled in with mainly refuse.

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