FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-48
Contact: Geoff Ryan
Recommends Steps For Homeowners To Ensure Proper Identification Of Employees
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has learned
that individuals have been visiting homes in areas of Queens and asking to
take water samples for testing.
"Complainants from Glendale, Hollis and Ozone Park have reported that
the individuals identify themselves as being from DEP or the 'water department,'"
said DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. "These people are not employees
of DEP or its contractors. Accordingly, we have outlined precautions that
citizens should take to protect themselves from impostors who claim they need
to inspect water quality, water meters or plumbing equipment."
DEP employees authorized to enter homes must carry and show photo I.D. cards
and badges. Since impostors or others seeking access may have some form of
identification, it is important to make sure that the I.D. card is from the
New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
- Most water meters are read remotely from outside the home. DEP's water
use inspectors, however, may seek access without appointments for certain
assignments, such as meter reading (if there is no remote or it does not
work) and inspecting installations or repairs performed by DEP contractors.
- DEP water use inspectors wear uniforms and carry Photo I.D. cards. Con
Edison workers, who read water meters for DEP on Staten Island and in the
Bronx, also wear uniforms.
- Contractors installing water meters usually, but not always, make appointments
in advance, wear uniforms, carry photo IDs and drive trucks bearing company
- DEP air and noise inspectors and water quality investigators do not wear
uniforms, but they must carry and present photo I.D. cards and DEP inspector
badges. When doing tests in buildings and homes at the request of citizens,
they normally make appointments in advance.
- DEP employees who respond to emergency situations, such as hazardous material
spills or leaks in water and sewer systems may need to gain access to buildings
or homes to determine the source of a leak. They do not wear uniforms, but
must carry and present photo I.D. cards whenever requesting access to a residence
- No DEP employee is ever authorized to ask for cash money to perform any
service or for payment of past due bills.
IF CITIZENS BELIEVE THAT PERSONS ARE MISREPRESENTING THEMSELVES AS DEP
EMPLOYEES, THEY SHOULD PHONE THE LOCAL POLICE PRECINCT AND THE DEP HELP CENTER
AT 718-DEP-HELP (718-337-4357).