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What You Should Know

Drinking water
  • New York City tap water is safe to drink in all areas.

  • The city’s Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are continually monitoring the city’s drinking water system.

Harbor recreation
  • On November 30, 2012, the City lifted all recreational waterbody advisories for New York harbor. All city wastewater treatment facilities are fully operational and two weeks of water quality testing confirm that city waterways are safe for recreational use.

Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek
  • Both the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek are EPA cleanup sites because of long term contamination with a variety of hazardous chemicals. The greatest amount of contamination is in the sediment at the bottom of these waterways. Residents should observe existing advisorieslinks regarding the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek.
  • Floodwaters from Gowanus and Newtown Creek reached many homes and businesses. On October 31, 2012, EPA took four samples in the Gowanus Canal area and analyzed them for bacteria and 139 other chemicals and pollutants. As expected with floods, bacteria levels were high, reinforcing the need for people to protect themselves when cleaning up floodwaters that contain sewage. The chemicals that were tested were below levels of concern or not detected at all. Full test results (PDF).

  • On November 9, 2012, EPA took two samples in the Newtown Creek area. Like the Gowanus Canal, bacteria levels were high, but other chemicals were below levels of concern or not detected at all. Hurricane Sandy Sampling Results: Newtown Creek. (PDF)

For more information, call 311 or visit

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