FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE03-07a
DEP Issues Advisory To Homeowners To Beware Of Imposters Posing As “Water
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has learned
that individuals have been visiting homes in areas of Southeast Queens
and asking to take water samples for testing.
“Complainants from Cambria Heights, Rosedale, Hollis, Jamaica,
St. Albans and Queens Village have reported that the individuals identified
themselves as being from DEP or the water department, ”said DEP
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward. "These people are not employees
of DEP or its contractors. Accordingly, we have outlined precautions that
citizens should take to protect themselves from impostors who claim they
need to inspect water quality, water meters or plumbing equipment."
DEP employees who are authorized to enter homes must carry and show photo
I.D. cards and badges. Since impostors or others seeking access may have
some form of identification, it is important to make sure that the I.D.
card is from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
IMPORTANT FACTS FOR HOMEOWNERS
Most water meters are read remotely from outside the home. DEP water
use inspectors, however, may seek access without appointments for certain
assignments, such as meter reading (if there is no remote or it does
not work) and inspecting installations or repairs performed by DEP contractors.
DEP water use inspectors wear uniforms and carry photo I.D. cards.
Con Edison workers, who read water meters for DEP in all five boroughs,
also wear uniforms and carry identification.
Contractors installing water meters usually, but not always, make
appointments in advance, wear uniforms, carry photo I.D cards, and drive
trucks bearing company identification.
DEP air and noise inspectors and water quality investigators do not
wear uniforms, but they must carry and present photo I.D. cards and
DEP inspector badges. When doing tests in buildings and homes at the
request of citizens, they normally make appointments in advance.
DEP employees who respond to emergency situations, such as hazardous
material spills or leaks in water and sewer systems may need to gain
access to buildings or homes to determine the source of a leak. They
do not wear uniforms, but must carry and present photo I.D. cards whenever
requesting access to a residence or building.
No DEP employee is ever authorized to ask for cash money to perform
any service or for payment of past due bills.
IF CITIZENS BELIEVE THAT PERSONS ARE MISREPRESENTING THEMSELVES AS
DEP EMPLOYEES, THEY SHOULD PHONE THE LOCAL POLICE PRECINCT AND THE DEP
HELP CENTER AT 718-DEP-HELP (718-337-4357).