DYKER HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (PIX11) – A little rain is cause for big concern for residents of a Brooklyn neighborhood dealing with persistent flooding issues in their homes due to outdated sewer infrastructure.

That’s according to Democratic State Sen. Andrew Gounardes, who joined Dyker Heights residents and other elected officials on Tuesday in calling on the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to make much-needed upgrades to the neighborhood’s sewer system.

The sewer issues are happening in homes along 10th Avenue south of 77th Street in Dyker Heights. More than 20 years ago, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection began work to modernize the century-old sewer system along 10th Avenue. The project was completed several years ago, but the sewer upgrades stopped short of replacing pipes south of 77th Street. 

Due to the outdated infrastructure that remains south of 77th Street, light rainfall can cause sewage to backflow into basements and homes, as well as flooding up to 4 feet, according to Dyker Heights residents.

“It’s unacceptable,” Gounardes said. “10th Avenue residents have been waiting for DEP to replace the 100-year-old sewer system in Dyker Heights for over two decades now, and enough is enough. DEP must act to save these families’ homes from dangerous sewer backflow and flooding – not next year, or next month, but now.”

Residents said the frequency and severity of the sewer problems have worsened in the past decade.

“I ask for one thing. One thing we pay for anyway: for sewers to function,” said Dyker Heights resident Brad Hennessy. “It’s crazy to me. It’s not my house that’s failing; it’s the city’s infrastructure that’s failing. So fix it.” 

A spokesperson with the Department of Environmental Protection said climate change is causing more intense storms in New York City, which can overwhelm the capacity of sewer systems. Many sewers cannot be built any larger than they already are, according to the department.

“This is why we are focused on creating a multi-layered system of defense that will combine the use of green infrastructure and traditional sewers to better manage these storms. We look forward to working with the Dyker Heights community on this important work,” said Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Edward Timbers.