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Need for a stink expert

Given the city’s track record in determining and curing the source of the odor that has plagued Fort Hamilton Parkway residents for years, maybe a private consultant should take on the challenge.

That’s the recommendation of Community Board 10, which voted unanimously at its most recent meeting to recommend that the city do for the strip what was done for another perennial Bay Ridge problem, the Owls Head Water Treatment Plant.

For that site, which was a sore spot for nearby residents, City Councilmember Vincent Gentile allocated funding that paid for a specialist to take on the problem.

“The city doesn’t seem to be moving on this at all,” complained Greg Ahl, the chairperson of CB 10’s Environmental Committee, during the board’s June meeting, held at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road. “It’s been years, and we still haven’t signed off on the project. They are really sitting there, doing nothing.”

To eliminate the endemic problem of basement flooding in the area, the sewer and water mains were replaced along Fort Hamilton Parkway, between 92nd and 99th Streets, over the course of a multi−year, $6.8 million project that was concluded in 2006.

But, once the project was completed, the smells started, and residents who had to bail out their basements regularly now had to hold their noses.

“At times it smells like a sewer,” noted Irene Rivera, who lives on Marine Avenue near Fort Hamilton Parkway. “Other times, it smells like rotten eggs.”

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has tried masking the odor by putting deodorizers into the sewer, and has tried to track down the source of the raw sewage smell, but, so far, to no avail.

“Can you imagine not being able to open your window?” asked Josephine Beckmann, CB 10’s district manager. “They know there’s a problem, and their masking it. Why can’t they figure out what the source of the problem is?”

“DEP continues to work to solve the matter,” remarked Mercedes Padilla, an agency spokesperson. “We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause to the community. We continue to implement ways to mitigate the odor (including carbon filters) while we continue to work to solve it.”

In the meantime, however, the residents wait. While DEP sent a machine into the sewer to do some measurements, “We never got an answer as to what the smell is,” Rivera said.

The good news, she added, is that for the past several weeks, the residents’ noses haven’t gotten a workout. “We haven’t had a small for about six or seven weeks,” Rivera reported. But, she stressed, “I don’t think they fixed it. I think they’ve been lucky.”

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