Sewage fills Lawrence basements after plant shutdown

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Raw sewage poured into the basements of some 50 homes in a section of Lawrence near a treatment plant that shut down during the height of superstorm Sandy, Mayor Martin Oliner said Thursday.

More than 48 hours later — the sewage is still there.

And none of the residents have evacuated.

And the power is still out.

“So I have a major health emergency now,” said Oliner, reached by mobile phone. “We have lots of people with five to seven feet of water and sewage in their homes and we can’t do anything to pump it out.”

Oliner said a Long Island Power Authority substation in Lawrence was pummeled by seawater during the storm surge. He said the Lawrence sewage facility, located on Rock Hall Road, was shut down for about eight hours amid the storm.

During that time, sewage flowed into the basements of about 50 homes — just blocks from the treatment plant.

“I don’t know if it was for good reason or bad,” Oliner said of the shutdown. “But the effect is we have people in Lawrence Bay Park with sewage in their homes. I’m not blaming anyone but we need electricity now.”

LIPA spokesman Mark Gross said the utility is "looking into" the Lawrence issue.

Oliner said LIPA has responded to his calls “but I can’t get anyone at LIPA to make this a priority.”

Separately, the much larger Bay Park treatment plant was flooded during the storm, causing sewage to seep into homes. But officials had no immediate estimate of how many houses were impacted.

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