Volume 74, Number 14 | August 04 - 10 , 2004

Sinking feeling on St. Mark’s Pl. and E. 11th St.

By Erica Stein

The Department of Environmental Protection is currently examining a large sinkhole at 98 St. Mark’s Pl., which was reported two weeks ago and has not yet been repaired.

The hole is big enough for a chair — and, in fact, one has been in the hole for two weeks, though it is now broken.

Melissa Leggieri said that she reported the sinkhole, as well as another one on 11th St. between First and Second Aves. “at least two weeks ago.” Leggieri said that she was passing by St. Mark’s Pl. and noticed the sinkhole, which is in front of a fire hydrant. “I was concerned, because if it breaks the water pipe and then we have a fire we’re in trouble,” said Leggieri. “So I called 311 and they transferred me to the D.E.P., which surprised me. I thought the Department of Transportation was supposed to handle these, but apparently the D.E.P. does.” Leggieri said that, although she has seen chalking around the hole that indicates D.E.P. visited the site, she was told the sinkhole would be fixed in a day or two.

A D.E.P. spokesperson said, “We would never have told her that. It’s just not within our timeframe. There are hundreds of these in an area like Downtown. Sometimes it takes a few weeks, sometimes less. Two weeks isn’t out of the ordinary.”

The spokesperson also said that the department does not have a record of the sinkhole on 11th St., but that they were working on the St. Mark’s Pl. hole. The department handles sinkholes, the spokesperson said, “if we believe a street leak is causing the problem.” A supervisor went to the site yesterday and D.E.P expects to have the hole fixed “as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.

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