Friday, August 2, 2019

Roosevelt Island Drinking Water Fountains Shut Down For Safety Reasons Since Last Summer Not Expected To Be Fixed This Year, RIOC Cites NY State Minority And Women Owned Business Enterprise Regulations As Reason For Delay - Free Water Available At Nisi On Weekends

On hot summer days, Roosevelt Island residents and visitors alike would love to get a sip of water from one of our drinking fountains.

But, according to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse:

As reported July 6, 2018:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) announced Friday that it will shut down drinking water fountains on the Island while it investigates potential water source line issues.

RIOC thanks Island resident Frank Farance for sharing his concerns about the fountains with RIOC.

Independent consultants have been enlisted to assist RIOC with its review....

Earlier this week I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Susan Rosenthal:
What is the current status of Roosevelt Island drinking water fountains.

They had been turned off last year due to safety fears from contaminated water. Has that problem been fixed?...
A RIOC Spokesperson answered:
The fountains were turned off because our system did not comply with new Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) guidelines that had been passed after the Island’s water system was installed. RIOC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the work, but only one bidder responded who could not meet the established project goals for state’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) regulations. So RIOC sought a waiver.

Additionally, RIOC executives met with representatives of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), which is the governing body that oversees approval of waivers for MWBE projects. The purpose of the meeting was to seek guidance on how to move this project forward. The State rejected the contractor’s third submission for a waiver to lower the project goals for MWBE work, so RIOC had no choice but to put the work on hold. (Please note that RIOC had already solicited bids from dozens of MWBE-qualified plumbers during the RFP process, but were unsuccessful in generating interest.)

RIOC will move forward to restore the water fountains by adding upgraded fountains to the scope of active projects. For example, the Lighthouse Park restoration will repair the fountain at that location. An upgraded fountain will be added to the new comfort station at Firefighter’s Field. The water fountain at Southpoint Park already complies with DEP guidelines.
It's unlikely the water fountains will be fixed this year.

But, on weekends, you can get a free glass of ice water at the outdoor table set up by the thoughtful folks at Nisi Restaurant. As the Nisi sign says:
It's going to be hot. Please help yourself to a cup of cold water and stay hydrated. See you at Nisi.

You can also get free water at the Roosevelt Island Starbucks.