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Stinky street: City ignoring Bath Beach block that reeks of sewage, locals say

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This avenue needs a bath!

The city is ignoring a stinky Bath Beach street that has reeked of poop for at least the past two years, locals say.

The block of Bath Avenue between Bay 16th and 17th streets smells like raw sewage, and the city is forcing the block’s residents and small business owners to live with the putrid scent, according to the district manager of Community Board 11.

“It smells like a sewer treatment plant,” said Marnee Elias-Pavia. “It’s unfair that it’s not being addressed in a timely manner. It’s unfair that they have to live with those odors, and it’s unfair to the businesses.”

City records show locals have dialed in 21 complaints to 311 about the sewage odor and backups just since last March, and that a local first complained about the stink back in January 2015. A Staten Islander who works in the area and frequents a café on the block, Café Venecia, said that he has smelled the poopy fumes almost every day he’s been there for the past two years — and that the stench sometimes even drifts into the café.

“It’s really bad — you think you’re in the bathroom,” said Alun Thaqi. “It’s gross, you’re eating in there and the door opens and people come in and you get the smell.”

Thaqi and other locals pointed to a sewer drain on the corner of Bath Avenue and Bay 16th Street as the source of the stench.

Councilman Justin Brannan (D–Bath Beach) and locals alerted the Department of Environmental Protection to the smell, which the agency said it’s trying to fix.

“Councilman Brannan and his constituents brought this issue to our attention and we thank them for their patience and understanding as we work towards a solution,” a spokesman said.

The agency did not respond to inquiries about when it most recently visited the site or what its explanation was for the smell.

Elias-Pavia said she thought the odor could be due to a sewage backup, but another local dismissed that idea, citing the distinctive odor, and suggested it could be much more dangerous than just wayward poop.

“A lot of people say it smells like gas,” said Joe, who lives on Bay 16th Street and declined to give his last name. “I would compare it to a sulfur smell. But the city should investigate, for sure.”

The Fire Department, which deals with gas leaks, also did not return a request for comment by press time.

A resident who has lived just across the street from the suspect sewer drain since 2001 said the rancid stink often wafts into her home, but that even if it doesn’t, she smells it every day, and she demanded the city put a stop to it.

“It’s terrible. I don’t walk over here because I think that’s where it’s coming from,” said Kerry Noonan. “When it’s at its worst — it’s just overpowering. Do something to get rid of it!”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 12:56 pm, January 23, 2018
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