What to Know
- A water main break under FDR Drive in the Lower East Side flooded the streets and parked cars on Monday
- It took city workers hours to shut off the water flow because one of the valves were buried under a construction site
- City officials say those impacted by the flooding can file a complaint with the comptroller office to be reimbursed
A water main break left streets flooded and some cars damaged in the Lower East Side, officials said. However, the headache has just started now that streets will be torn up for days in order for the necessary repairs to take place.
Water began gushing onto the streets near Catherine Slip and South Street, right underneath the FDR Drive Monday evening. The flooding went up to Market Slip, leaving some side streets between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge impassable by car toward the end of the evening rush Monday evening.
Workers from the city's Department of Environment Protection worked to stem the flow of water pouring out onto the street, but it took six hours for it to be completely shut off.
Authorities said it took so long to turn off the water because one of two major shutoff valves for the main was buried under a construction site. One of the two large valves was able to be shut off without as much of a problem though, said city DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.
At least two dozen cars were left stranded on South Street and other surrounding roads, as the water rose up as high as the wheel wells. The interior of some of the vehicles showed the water pooling a few inches on the floor, and some didn't risk going into the more than knee-deep water to check on their car.
Monday's incident marks the sixth of water main breaks across the city over the span of the last month, including three on the Upper West Side.
One of those breaks led to extensive traffic and subway delays, while another leaked more than 500,000 gallons of water into the subway system and turned streets around Lincoln Center into a small pond.
The DEP says that the number of water main breaks in New York City is far below the national average but that didn't comfort residents who found their cars half-filled with dirty water.
Additionally, the owner of a car parked in the vicinity of the water main break said the flooded streets actually had a current due to the high volume of fast moving water, that ultimately moved his parked car onto the sidewalk.
The main rupture has lead to some residents in nearby apartments to experience water issues, including water discoloration. Meanwhile, vehicle owners are left with dealing how to clean up their cars.
At least two dozen vehicles had water damage.
"It was flooded all inside. When I got inside and I sat in the car, I got all soaking wet," Rafael Martinez tells NBC New York. "I hope somebody takes care of this for me."
City officials say those impacted by the flooding can file a complaint with the comptroller office to be reimbursed.