(12/03/07) BAY RIDGE ? It?s thick, it?s nasty and it?s making some Bay Ridge residents afraid to go outside ? the smell of feces and sewage wafting up from underground.

Residents who have homes from Fort Hamilton Parkway to Marine Avenue say the smell has gotten unbearable over the past year.

?Awful, just awful,? says resident Kadmel Coutie. ?It hits you in the face, your nostrils, you wanna run back inside. I don?t want to stand in front of my house.?

Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckman says several residents have lodged complaints with her office. According to Beckman, the problem likely stems from a $7 million sewage pipe reconstruction project that was completed a year ago.

?I don?t believe after putting in new sewer pipes and new water pipes that residents should be facing such odor problems in the area,? Beckman says.

Beckman says all complaints are being forwarded to the Department of Environmental Protection, which is investigating the issue. The agency has started dropping socks full of deodorizer into catch basins to combat the stench.

The DEP says it will be installing charcoal filters within the next few weeks. Until then, some residents will cope with the problem as usual by keeping their doors and windows shut.