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Residents At East Harlem NYCHA Complex Fume Amid Clean Water Problems

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Thousands of New York City Housing Authority residents said Tuesday the city is failing them, because they don't have clean water to drink or to use for bathing.

As of Tuesday night, water service was slowly returning to the public housing tenants in East Harlem, reports CBS2's Jessica Layton.

Earlier on Tuesday, many living in the Taft Houses complex in East Harlem told CBS2's John Dias the rain that was falling was ironic. Mother Nature was able to get them water, but the city couldn't.

Plumbers and NYCHA crews were on the scene, many assisting residents, while others worked to repair a broken water line and restore services.

Taft Houses residents told CBS2 they've been dealing with this issue since the weekend. In order to get water, they have needed to fill up buckets from fire hydrants and water from tanks on Emergency Services vehicles.

"Drink, take a bath, flush the toilet," said resident Natalie Acevedo on her basic needs for water.

Acevedo has lived in NYCHA housing for 18 years and says conditions have never been worse.

"It's always something with the heat or the hot water," she said.

Tuesday night Public Advocate Jumaane Williams dropped off bottles of drinking water.

"We have a city within a city of residents that have been neglected for a very long time," he said.

NYCHA officials said crews were working to complete repairs in at least three buildings Tuesday after a water main break impacted heat, water, and hot water over the weekend. Just when all services were restored hours earlier, a different break happened. So the residents went back to square one.

"Basically, no water, which is inhumane," resident Irene Hernandez said. "You just need basic water to flush the toilets and take a bath. It was the whole development on Sunday,
Monday, half the development, and yesterday water came back and then shut off, because one of the pipes broke that was connected to the pipe they fixed."

Finally by 9 p.m., city crews said they fixed the problem pipes and water was slowly returning to the taps.

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