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January 3, 2003

Contact: (718/595-6600)

Important Information About Your Drinking Water

For individuals living or working in Manhattan and the Southwest Bronx

New York City's Catskill Water Supply System recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this was not an emergency, and no action is required on your part, you, as our consumers, have a right to know the circumstances. Catskill water is distributed in areas of Manhattan and a small area of the southwest Bronx.

On December 1, 2002, the turbidity of the New York City Catskill Water Supply at the Kensico Reservoir in Valhalla, New York exceeded 5 nephelometric turbidity units, at approximately 6:45 a.m. for about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The actual violation occurred at 8:00 a.m. Turbidity is a measure of water clarity related to the amount of suspended matter present. The elevated turbidity was a direct result of operational changes that involved the opening and closing of valves and gates, which in turn created redirection of flow and the re-suspension of sediments within water supply facilities. The turbidity levels returned to normal shortly after the operational changes were complete, the evening of December 1. As a precaution, chlorine treatment was increased during the operational changes to enhance the disinfection of the water. This incidence constitutes a treatment technique violation of the State Sanitary Code [10 NYCRR Section 5-1.30 (d)]. However, there is no reason to stop using the water supplied to your home/business as a result of this violation. Extensive distribution system monitoring demonstrated that the water supply met all other drinking water quality standards. While there is no reason to believe this turbidity incident introduced any microbiological contaminants into the drinking water, the State and federal drinking water rules require public notification that includes the following language: Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.

For further information, call the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Public Affairs at (718) 595-6600 or the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Public Health Engineering at (212) 676-1520. Please share this information with other people who drink this water.

Public Water System ID#: NY7003493

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600