Homes over leaky NYC aqueduct to get buyout offers

November 14, 2011 • Business

In this Nov. 9, 2011 photo, Michael Rosselli stands near cracks in his garage floor at his home in Wawarsing N.Y. Rosselli’s basement and property flooded due to what he blames is leakage from the nearby Delaware Aqueduct. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

WAWARSING, N.Y. (AP) — The same tunnel that delivers water to millions of faucets in New York City is blamed for leaving homes in this upstate town in soggy misery.

Residents say the leaky aqueduct running below their neighborhood creates flooding in their basements during even routine rain storms. They are plagued with heaving floors, moldy walls and sinkholes in their lawns.

“There’s just nowhere for the water to go on the property. It’s like a big wet sponge,” said Mike Rosselli, who raised his family in this semi-rural neighborhood 80 miles north of New York City.

“We’re used to saying, ‘Oh, nice spring rain!’ Now it’s ‘Oh crap.’ … It’s a terrible way to live.”

After years of complaints and lobbying by residents, the government is preparing to spend more than $7 million to purchase homes from willing sellers in Wawarsing. But even as 67 homeowners have applied for the buyout, some residents fear the offers won’t be large enough to cover the cost of their homes and their out-of-pocket losses.

“I’m glad to see them finally stepping up and doing something, but for me it’s a little late,” said 65-year-old Andrea Smith as she walked around her trailer to point out a sinkhole on her lawn. She and her husband applied for a buyout as a way of telling government officials they have a problem, but she says they won’t sell.

Complaints of flooded basements and squishy lawns have come from residents of this town at least since the Login to read more

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