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Friday, July 27, 2018

RIOC Update Says Preliminary Report On Roosevelt Island Drinking Fountain Water Quality Finds "No Risk For Continued Use" - But Water Remains Shut Off At All Parks For Additional Testing

As reported July 24:

 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Susan Rosenthal reported during the July 23 RIOC Board meeting that preliminary testing of Roosevelt Island water fountains revealed:
... some high levels, higher than EPA allows, of bacteria, not E-Coli, in some of them. One sample had elevated iron levels..
Roosevelt Island drinking water fountains have been shut off since July 6 after RIOC received a report from resident Frank Farance of possible contamination of the water supply to drinking fountains.

Image From Frank Farance

Today, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) provided an update on our Drinking Water Fountains. According to RIOC Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson:
Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s top priority is the safety and well-being of its residents and visitors. On July 6, after concerns were raised about water quality, we immediately shut down the water supply systems in all parks, playgrounds and drinking fountains, conducted water quality testing at 11 different locations, and consulted with state health officials. Preliminary results indicate that the water in drinking fountains poses no risk for continued use.

However, as an additional safeguard, health officials recommended that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation conduct additional testing from a New York State certified laboratory. The water will remain off at all parks while additional testing is performed and reviewed, and upon completion of testing, we will share the results with the public.
Following the lead of Mr. Farance, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) expressed their concerns to RIOC about the water fountains in this July 25 letter.
Re: Quality Concerns of RIOC Maintained Public Fountains

Dear Ms. Rosenthal,

As Co-Chairs of the RIRA Island Services Committee ("ISC") and as the President of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association ("RIRA"), we write to express our collective concern about your report on July 23rd at the RIOC special Board meeting that preliminary testing on Roosevelt Island drinking water fountains revealed “... some high levels, higher than EPA allows, of bacteria, not E-Coli, in some of them [including] elevated iron levels...”

Of particular disappointment is RIOC’s failure to keep in direct communication with residents, particularly those that use such water fountains, about the concern over the safety of consumption of water from the drinking water fountains as well as its failure to adequately post signs/notices with information related to the drinking fountains shut off and the reasons for such shut off.

It would be prudent that RIOC recall that the suspicion of contamination of the public drinking fountains arose from information that RIOC provided to Roosevelt Island residents during negotiations to secure an adequate source of potable water for the WFF cat sanctuary in Southpoint Park.

All Roosevelt Island residents, and especially parents of young children, expect that RIOC will maintain the highest standards ensuring a healthy, safe environment for all, especially our children.

RIOC must publicly provide and present a complete water analysis report. On behalf of all Roosevelt Island residents we demand to know the accuracy of RIOC's assertion and assurance that only some of the public drinking fountains are hooked up to the irrigation water source, which is not potable, as opposed to the main water lines that serve the Island buildings and which we presume is chlorinated and UV-treated New York City water. RIOC has provided no reassurance that even the public drinking fountains in Southpoint Park are safe.

We trust that both you and RIOC share the Roosevelt Island residents' concerns over the safety of public drinking water sources, and agree that water quality and safety is an extremely important and a top priority for residents. As RIRA Common Council elected members, we demand to be kept promptly informed of any and all further results on the water quality testing, the timeline for ameliorating this disturbing issue and on RIOC’s progress in finding solutions to the problem.

Jeffrey R. Escobar
President, Roosevelt Island Residents Association

Rossana Ceruzzi & Mickey Rindler Co-Chairs, RIRA Island Services Committee
The Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee discussed the issue

during July 19 meeting.