FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE02-27
Contact: Geoff Ryan
Continues, Water Conservation Urged
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) announced today that the City continues to be in a Stage
I Drought Emergency. The Commissioner reminded all New Yorkers that water
use restrictions remain in effect with reservoir levels at only 83.8% of capacity,
while normal levels for July 17th are 93%. He also announced one modification
of the rules to address potential public health concerns and clarified some
"Only one quarter of an inch of rain has fallen on the watersheds of
New York City's reservoirs so far in July," said Commissioner Ward. "Normal
rainfall for the month is expected to be over four inches. Reservoir levels,
which never reached their normal capacity this year, are going down again,
and all residents, businesses and governmental entities in New York City must
continue to comply with the Stage I Drought Emergency rules.
"However, the City is in the midst of a very hot summer," Commissioner
Ward continued. "In such weather, the health and safety problems posed
by animal and human wastes and garbage on City streets are greatly exacerbated.
In many instances, if not cleaned properly, the wastes may pose a serious
health threat. Accordingly, I am issuing a modification of the Rules with
respect to the washing of sidewalks, streets, driveways, outdoor areaways
and outdoor steps to remove animal and human wastes and garbage, subject to
In addition to announcing the modification of the sidewalk-washing rule,
Commissioner Ward clarified some other water use issues. "It is permissible
under the rules to water trees on the street, on private property, in parks
and other public areas. Trees are of vital importance in our urban environment.
They help to clean air; provide cooling shade and aesthetic amenities. It
is also permissible under the rules to operate a sprinkler so that children
may cool off and play.
"I want to stress, however, that use of the sidewalk washing modification
or other provisions of the rules to evade the general restrictions on sidewalk
washing and lawn watering will not be tolerated. DEP is continuing aggressive
enforcement of the Stage I Drought Emergency Rules. Any person caught violating
those rules will be served with a Notice of Violation. Fines under the rules
range between $100 to $1,000."
The illegal opening of fire hydrants continues to be a problem during hot
weather, and DEP advises that the fine for tampering with a hydrant is $750.
To report illegally opened hydrants or other water or sewer complaints, people
should call the DEP's 24-Hour Help Center: 1-718-DEP-HELP (1-718-337-4357).
For more information on water conservation, see the How Can I Save Water?
section of DEP's Web site at www.nyc.gov/dep.
Conditions of the Rule Modification
- The washing of sidewalks, streets, driveways, outdoor areaways and outdoor
steps may only be performed when a true health or safety hazard is present.
The variance does not extend to use of water for other reasons (aesthetic
improvements, regular cleaning, etc.). To the extent that such water use
is prohibited by the Rules, it remains prohibited.
- The cleaning may only be performed from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 7 p.m.
to 9 p.m., in accordance with the following schedule:
- At even-numbered addresses, on even-numbered days of the month.
- At odd-numbered addresses, on odd-numbered days of the month.
- Non-potable water must be used to the maximum extent practicable.
- The cleaning must be performed with the following equipment: hand-held
hoses equipped with nozzle tips or in-line hose flow regulators which effectively
limit water output to a maximum flow rate of 5 gallons per minute; or high-powered
pressure washers that limit water output to 3 gallons per minute.
- Only the amount of water reasonably necessary to accomplish the cleaning
may be used (amounts in excess thereof are considered waste and are prohibited).
- DEP reserves the right to inspect any property where water is being used
to ensure that these conditions are being observed. Any failure to observe
these conditions shall be deemed a violation of the Rules and shall subject
the violator to the penalties associated with violations of the Rules.
- DEP reserves the right to modify or withdraw this variance if, in its
opinion, the circumstances so warrant, including, but not limited to, the
declaration of a higher stage of drought emergency.