Wagner Houses tenant claims raw sewage destroying apartment

EAST HARLEM (WABC) -- Raw sewage is causing big problems at a public housing building in Manhattan.

New cell phone video shows apartments flooded in the Wagner Houses in East Harlem, with the issue happening multiple times since November.

The frustrated tenant, who lives with four young kids and her 62-year-old mother on the first floor at 2370 Wagner Houses along First Avenue, contacted Eyewitness News to tell her tale of woe. She has endured three consecutive days of on-and-off flooding and sewage that's coming out of her toilet and spilling out completely into the apartment.

Her name is Melinda Carrasquillo, and she is at her wits end dealing with the flooding, the cleanup, the unsanitary conditions and the lack of response from the city after repeated calls to NYCHA to please fix the problem.

"The floods destroyed everything, it has feces in it," she said. "It's just coming from the waste, nonstop. Housing refuses to come help us. They don't even have answers for us in the management office."

The FDNY was at the apartment on Saturday, issuing the following comments: "Wastewater creating a hazardous condition in this apartment further endangering the health of an occupant who's already suffering from a diminished state of health. If NYCHA cannot quickly correct this problem, we recommend the occupant family formally request to be relocated to a different apartment."

Emergency services from NYCA have also come to the apartment, telling the Carrasquillos that the problem is beneath their apartment in a crawlspace, where piping is clogged and will continue to pose an issue. Despite all that, NYCHA management has told them it is still not enough of a problem to relocate the family.

The family says this isn't a new issue, as it also happened in November, January and February.

NYCHA issued this statement to Eyewitness News:
"Earlier this morning, the Wagner maintenance staff snaked the plumbing line to clear any blockages in the apartment and a cleaning crew was brought in to address overflow in the apartment. A contractor is currently on site snaking the lines out to the building. A truck with high-power pressure power wash is scheduled to perform additional maintenance to the sewer lines on Wednesday to prevent stoppages. We have provided additional information to the resident on submitting a damage claim for her possessions."
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.