Is the Water Safe to Drink on Long Island After Hurricane Sandy?


The Long Island Water Conference wants to assure residents throughout Long Island that public water supplies are safe to drink, with the minor exceptions of two isolated areas in Nassau County, Long Beach and Mill Neck Estates and three areas in Suffolk County, portions of Fire Island, Maidstone Park Cottages and Peconic View Mobile Home Park, as well as areas significantly impacted by floodwaters.

“We understand that there are several incorrect media reports that Long Island and Nassau County have issued boil water alerts,” said Water Conference spokesman Dennis Kelleher. “This is incorrect.  With the exception of a few isolated areas, no public drinking water provider on Long Island has reported any problem and residents should know that their water is safe to drink.”

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) has received reports of fuel spills and potential sewage releases in areas which continue to be affected by standing floodwater, including Lindenhurst, Mastic and several other low-lying areas of the County which have been flooded by Hurricane Sandy.


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In addition to obvious safety issues, flooded areas pose environmental health concerns. These flooded areas should be assumed to be potentially contaminated until further notice.  Mandatory evacuations are still in place, and residents should not reoccupy residences until advised by local authorities.  Any persons who have not evacuated are urged to do so as soon as possible.  Shelters are available with clean water, food and provision for overnight stays.  The list is available at http://scoem.suffolkcountyny.gov/Home.aspx or by phone at 631-852-4900.

Residents are advised to avoid contact with residual floodwaters.  If contact is unavoidable, protective clothing should be worn, such as hip waders, rubber boots and rubber gloves.  Protective clothing should be left out of living areas after use, and post-exposure personal hygiene  should occur as soon as possible.  Children should avoid potential exposures to floodwaters at all times. Boiling water will not be effective if you suspect potential contamination from fuel or other chemicals.

Standing flood water can be a source of diseases such as tetanus.

During the storm, despite the power outages impacting the vast majority of residents, Long Island’s water providers are utilizing emergency generator to ensure that even customers who do not have electricity will continue to have a supply of clean and safe water.

Additional personnel have been on-site around the clock to handle any potential emergencies that might have occurred and to assure residents that they would see no effect to their water service.

Reports of fuel discharge, such as visible floating product, sightings of detached tanks, or significant persistent odor, should be provided to NYSDEC at 1-800-457-7362.

NYSDEC will manage fuel problems through their Spills Program and has deployed teams to respond to reported problems. SCDHS will provide surveillance inspectors to assist NYSDEC. Reports of suspected sewage contamination or damage to sewage systems should be provided to SCDHS at 631-852-5900.

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