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Lax oversight, dubious testing in water tanks pose health risks

By June 6, 2018 No Comments

By FRANK G. RUNYEON

Shards of decayed wood are all that remain of the roof that once shielded the wooden water tank at 137 Centre St. On a recent morning, raindrops fell through the splintered support beams, rippling the surface of the dark water inside the open barrel. Something green grew on the sides of the rustic exterior. A shredded tarp hung off the top of the tank, like a tattered garment, flapping with each gust of wind. The holes in the tarp were so big that a bird could easily fly into the tank.

This is the drinking water supply for office workers at the New York City Department of Sanitation. Another city agency, which is responsible for the tank, has certified year after year that the entire structure, including the roof, is sound and that the tank has no sanitary defects, dismissing its own 2015 report of E. coli in the water as a “clerical error.”

When asked if there was currently any issue with the sanitary condition of the water tank, a city official replied, “No.”

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