How Safe is Your Water? Questions Persist About the City's Water Quality

It comes roaring down from the Catskill Mountains, from the pristine hills of Delaware County and from the open spaces of

Westchester. As it barrels its way through enormous tunnels over 100 miles long, into a maze of pipelines a century old and out through the faucet in your kitchen, New York City's drinking water has long been taken for granted. Free until very recently, and considered to be among the best in the country, our waterand drinking water throughout the nationhas lately come under increasing scrutiny as outbreaks of bacteria have affected people in several major U.S. cities. But before you run out and have a Poland Spring dispenser placed in your living room, consider the fact that there are a number of points at which your building's water can be filtered, purified and otherwise protected from elements that can cause, or increase the likelihood of contamination.

New Yorkers consume approxM-imately 1.4 billion gallons of water each day from the vast system of upstate reservoirs that serves our city. Like any body of water, our reservoirs are home to a wide variety of fish, fowl and other animals, which live in and around these fresh-water lakes. New York City is the only major U.S. city that does not filter its water. Instead, More than 1200 tests are conducted on the water coming into the city every day, explains David Golub of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The city has one of the most rigorous testing programs for parasites and bacteria, he says, resulting in the fact that New York City's water is still considered to be the premium drinking water in the nation.

In addition to the testing procedures, the city adds chlorine to its water to kill off organisms that could cause disease or illness. According to Golub, the city maintains a residual chlorine level of .3 parts per billion, way below the safe levels set by the federal Department of Environmental Protection.

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