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November 2009

Dear Shareholder: This notice affects owners who have done or may do Basement Conversions only but we thought many of our residents here in Glen Oaks Village may find it of interest. Now that our uniquely Glen Oaks Village' program of Basement Conversions has been in progress for more than a year we continue to modify and develop it as we gain new experiences and insights on the program. If you are considering renovating and reclaiming a basement for personal use or have already done so, we wish to inform of a new policy that has been adopted regarding plumbing modification hook ups in basement conversions. WE WILL NOW REQUIRE THE INSTALLATION OF A BACKWATER FLOW PREVENTION VALVE on the sewer line in a basement that has a sink, toilet or washing machine. For those residents that have already renovated their basements, this new plumbing requirement is not mandatory but we are recommending that you consider having it done. It will require opening a wall and/or floor to get to the main sewer pipe and must be done by a licensed contractor and plumber. 

WHY ARE WE NOW REQUIRING THIS IN NEW BASEMENT CONVERSIONS? Each Glen Oaks Village building has a main sewer line that runs the length of the building and then connects to the NYC sewer system. Every time anyone in your building uses water in their apartment, whether it comes from a sink, tub or toilet, it flows down from your apartment into the main line exiting the building at a specific location and entering the NYC sewer system. Sometimes the main sewer line of a building gets clogged and the water will not drain into the NYC sewer lines. These lines can get clogged for many reasons such as tree roots or personal items flushed down the toilet. We do have a preventative maintenance program in place to minimize these occurrences but sometimes they do happen. As the clogged line gradually fills with "dirty" water due to the blockage it begins to back up and because of gravity will seek the lowest opening to exit. Most of the time those openings are one of the 146 sewer pits located throughout the basements of our buildings. However, if you have renovated a basement and that basement is between the blockage and the sewer pit, that backup of sewage may find its way to the toilet or sink located in your basement. Those who live over a basement that has a sewer pit and have experienced a back up, know that it is not a pretty sight or smell and the damage is limited to an unused basement. If that basement is finished the damage is obviously more severe. 

WHAT DOES A BACKWATER FLOW PREVENTION VALVE DO? It is a special valve that is connected on the sewer line in your basement that allows water to flow in only one direction - towards the city sewer lines. It will not allow water to back flow into your sink or toilet if there is a stoppage in the main line. The water will continue to back up seeking some other exit, which most likely will be one of the 158 sewer pits in our buildings. Backwater Valves can fail but rarely do so. 

HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST? The cost of the valve and the labor to install it for a basement that is yet to be renovated is minimal (around $200 plus labor) in comparison to the full cost of the renovation. However, the cost will be greater for a basement that has already been completed and now needs to be retrofitted. Although the cost of the valve is minimal, the labor that will be required to break the wall and/or floor to get to the pipe will be the most expensive part of the project. We feel it may be worth the inconvenience and additional cost, but that is a decision you will need to make for yourself. Your licensed plumber will know where the valve needs to be installed and will work with Glen Oaks personal to identify the correct location. An Alteration Agreement will be required but the fee for the Alteration Agreement will be waived for those doing a retro-fit (putting a Backwater Flow Prevention Valve in an already finished basement). 

WHAT TYPE OF PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM DOES GLEN OAKS VILLAGE TO MINIMIZE SEWER BACKUPS? The Glen Oaks Village Maintenance Plumbing Department has a preventive sewer cleaning program. Any building that has a record of sewer backups or has a Basement Conversion in it has the main sewer line and trap cleaned on a 2 or 3-month basis. All other buildings have the traps cleaned on a semi-annual basis. While this procedure will help minimize the 2 most frequent causes of sewer line stoppage (tree roots and grease build up), it cannot guarantee that a stoppage will not occur. Glen Oaks Village has no control over what residents put down their drains and toilets but we continue to remind you that the plumbing system here is 65 years old and not meant to handle many of the new "plastic" household products that are regularly flushed down the toilets. We do understand that occasionally adults or children may inadvertently drop something in the toilet that creates an obstruction. We will continue to provide services and preventative maintenance programs that few other co-ops are even thinking about. 

Thank you. 
The Board of Directors

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