Variance from Drought Emergency Rules
Washing of Sidewalks, Streets, Driveways and Outdoor Areaways for Health and Safety Purposes
The Drought Emergency rules contained in Title15, Chapter 21 of the
Rules of the City of New York (the "Rules") became effective
on April 1, 2002 upon Mayor Bloomberg's declaration of a Stage I Drought
Emergency in New York City. All residents, businesses, and governmental
entities in New York City must comply with these Rules. The Rules give
the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection the ability
to grant, in his or her discretion, a variance relieving a person or
entity from compliance with the requirement of the Rules, provided that
a satisfactory demonstration of certain specified criteria is made.
When New York City is experiencing very hot weather,
the health and safety problems posed by animal and human wastes and garbage
on City streets are greatly exacerbated. In many instances, if not cleaned
properly, the wastes pose a serious health threat. Under §21-03
(c), the spraying, washing, or wetting of any street, sidewalk, driveway,
outdoor areaway (including any recreational area, whether at ground level
or on a structure) or outdoor steps, by means of a hose, fire hydrant
or other source connected to the public water system or which utilizes
public water is prohibited. In view of the (i) advent of hotter summer
weather and and (ii) the resulting health and safety hazard posed by
the presence of wastes in the mentioned areas, and the continued risk
that exists if the waste is not cleaned thoroughly and properly, DEP has
determined that compliance with this particular provision of the Rules
presents an undue hardship. As such, DEP hereby issues a variance from §21-03(c)
of the Rules with respect to the washing of sidewalks, streets, driveways,
outdoor areaways and outdoor steps to remove animal and human wastes
and garbage, subject to the following conditions:
The cleaning can only be performed when a true health or safety
hazard is present. The variance does not extend to use of water for
other reasons (aesthetic improvements; regular cleaning; etc.). To
the extent that such water use is prohibited by the Rules, it remains
- The cleaning can only be performed from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from
7 p.m. to 9 p.m., in accordance with the following schedule:
- At even-numbered addresses, on even-numbered days of the month.
- At odd-numbered addresses, on odd-numbered days of the month.
Non-potable water must be used to the maximum extent practicable.
The cleaning must be performed with the following equipment: hand-held
hoses equipped with nozzle tips or in-line hose flow regulators which
effectively limit water output to a maximum flow rate of 5 gallons
per minute; or high-powered pressure washers that limit water output
to 3 gallons per minute.
Only the amount of water reasonably necessary to accomplish the
cleaning may be used (amounts in excess thereof are considered waste
and are prohibited).
DEP reserves the right to inspect any property where water is being
used to ensure that these conditions are being observed. Any failure
to observe these conditions shall be deemed a violation of the Rules
and shall subject the violator to the penalties associated with violations
of the Rules.
DEP reserves the right to modify or withdraw this variance if, in
its opinion, the circumstances so warrant, including, but not limited
to, the declaration of a higher stage of drought emergency.