PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- The Port Chester police station was forced to close its cell blocks due to a sewage backup last week, and will have to use cells in Rye to hold prisoners until the problem is fixed.
"Each time you flushed the toilets in the cell blocks, raw sewage was leaking because the seals were broken behind those toilets," Village Manager Christopher Steers said.
The sewer and plumbing problems affected eight out of the department's 10 cells. The sewer lines were cleaned out and now flow, however, the village is going to have to repair those lines, which will cost an estimated $30,000, according to Steers.
The cells will remain closed for about six weeks while repairs take place. In the meantime, prisoners will continue to be held in Rye. Steers said that the cost of overtime and manning the cells will fall to Port Chester. Mayor Neil Pagano has also talked to the mayor of Rye Brook, who has offered that village's assistance while repairs take place.
Port Chester's Police Headquarters, which was built in the 1930's, has suffered a number of problems recently. In May, the New York state Department of Labor cited the building for 18 violations including a lack of proper exit signs, not mounting fire extinguishers and improper electrical outlets. Steers said that many of the problems have been corrected, and the village has $300,000 for repairs to the building.
Pagano said that the Board of Trustees should make it a priority to improve the situation, whether that be through repairs or a new building. Trustee Saverio Terenzi has proposed purchasing a commercial property at the corner of Poningo Street and Irving Avenue, and building a municipal center that would include a parking garage. The proposal is in the early stages of discussion, but is estimated to cost the village around $24 million.
"This is going to be a heavy lift for this village, make no mistake about it," Pagano said. "We don't have a choice, and this board is not going to walk away from this responsibility. No way, no how."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.