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Leaks continue plaguing Brooklyn NYCHA tenants after years of plumbing repairs. Here's why they're fed up.

Leaks plague NYCHA complex after years of plumbing repairs
Leaks plague NYCHA complex after years of plumbing repairs 01:59

NEW YORK -- Water spews from the walls and spills into hallways at a Brooklyn NYCHA complex, where tenants have been complaining for years. 

A mystery leak started spouting water into Yadira Soto's bedroom at the Borinquen Plaza Houses during heavy rainfall in June. Ankle-deep water inundated her apartment, hallway, and neighbors' units as they used brooms to sweep it out. 

Coming from the wall, the heavy torrent also ruined tiles on Soto's floor and exposed a sewer drain inches from her bed. Soto put her belongings on elevated crates because the lower shelves of her closets are unusable. 

Tenants say plumbers don't show up

"It looks almost like, if you just opened up a faucet, full force," said Soto, who works in a migrant shelter and has to take time off to deal with plumbers, who often never show. 

CBS New York has been covering the plumbing issues at the NYCHA complex since May 2023. 

"All they say is that they're going to bring a plumber, and the plumbers come, they say there's no pipes," Soto said about her efforts to get NYCHA to respond.

Raw sewage seeping from building for decades

Tenant Association Vice President Shaneque Lewis has been tracking the issue of raw sewage seeping out of the building, an issue residents say has been going on for decades.

Tenants say the building has also been without gas since January.   

"We need help, emergency help, we need help to the point where we cannot live in Borinquen Plaza with these conditions, its irrevocable," Lewis says.

Last year, CBS New York cameras captured contractors hired by NYCHA trying to address the problem.

A spokesperson for NYCHA attributed the issue to aging infrastructure and problems accessing collapsed waste lines and issued a statement, in part, "Work has been completed at two of six affected buildings, with a third building nearing completion, and we have seen considerable improvements."

Regarding Soto's apartment, NYCHA says it needs to investigate the source of the leak next time it happens. 

Problem could date back 50 years

Yet, a flushed Q-tip, shreds of toilet paper, and a brown stain still decorate the sidewalk, which residents say is often caked with feces. 

"The issue is still there. It'll get cleaned up, but it's not fixed," Lewis said.

Lewis believes the issue goes back to the way this development was built, 50 years ago. There are no basements in the buildings, leaving nowhere for foul water from dilapidated sewer lines to go.

Lewis says she has gotten elected officials involved, including Attorney General Letitia James, whose representative is slated to meet with tenants Monday night. 

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