|East River from Brooklyn during Sandy. Photo: MK Metz|
According to Riverkeeper, Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge has dumped toxic chemicals and oil into the Hudson River and New York Harbor. On top of this, untreated sewage is being piped into the Hudson.
According to abcnews, floodwater collected in Lower Manhattan tested positive for gasoline and two types of bacteria found in sewage. The toxic Gowanus Canal has overflowed its banks and so has polluted Newtown Creek.
What does this all mean? Several things: First, don't go near the water and avoid areas where it has overflowed. Stay away from that murky water in your basement.
Second: It wouldn't hurt to boil your water until things settle down.
Sure, Mayor Bloomberg says the city's drinking water is safe. And it probably is. Still,according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after a hurricane water may not be safe to drink. If you don’t have safe bottled water, you can boil water for one minute. If boiling is not possible, use unscented household chlorine bleach*, iodine, or chlorine dioxide tablets.
Still, it's probably best to stick with bottled water. If tap water is contaminated by chemicals or petroleum products, all the boiling in the world won't help.
UPDATE: Officials said Friday that drinking water is contaminated in Breezy Point and advised residents to drink bottled water. Boiling is not enough, they said.
* Eight drops of bleach per one gallon clear water or 16 drops per one gallon of cloudy water.
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