City Council passes legislation to improve water tank cleanliness

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The New York City Council passed several bills this week meant to improve the inspection practices and cleanliness of water tanks.

Council Member Ritchie Torres announced the new legislation on Friday. Among the regulations is a new requirement for those responsible for water tanks to provide photos of their condition.

"The message that we are sending to owners is we will no longer take your word for it," Torres says. "This is a baby step - it feels good to know that at least, we will have some clean water."

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The measures come after reporting by Frank G. Runyeon at City and State New York found filings with the city’s Health Department that stated NYCHA left out key details from field reports, including the presence of dead animals, insects and damaged tanks.

As a longtime Bronx resident -- and current president of the Bronx River Tenants Association -- Norma Saunders says she has seen the issues public housing tenants face. There have been reports of cockroaches, pigeons and rodents floating and decomposing in water tanks, Saunders says.

Torres has called out the New York City Housing Authority, private building owners and the Department of City Administrative Services as responsible for these issues.

"These owners have been chronically neglecting conditions of water tanks in New York City," he says.


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