For Immediate Release
August 11, 2016

DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS ADVISES PROPERTY OWNERS & CONTRACTORS TO TAKE PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES & ELIMINATE STANDING WATER


New York, NY -- The New York City Department of Buildings advises property owners and contractors that outdoor structures that retain standing water may attract mosquitoes and act as breeding grounds. Mosquitoes pose a public health hazard and may carry diseases that are dangerous to humans, such as the Zika, West Nile, and St. Louis encephalitis viruses. Property owners and construction contractors are required to take measures to minimize standing water on their sites to help reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes.

How Does Water Help Mosquitoes Breed?

Studies show that female mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in stagnant water or standing water left unattended for a period of three or more days. Stagnant or standing water can be found throughout construction sites and on properties wherever there are areas or items that collect water and aren’t able to drain properly.

What Should You Do?

Contractors are encouraged to ensure that dewatering plans for construction sites are strictly followed. Sites must be routinely checked for stagnant or standing water, and when necessary treated with the appropriate insecticide if elimination of water is not feasible. Accumulated water throughout a site should be removed promptly when possible. Contractors should be mindful of water that can collect in excavated areas, pipes, tarps, and barrels.

Homeowners should check their property to eliminate common mosquito breeding grounds. It is important to keep in mind that water can collect in unused flower pots, buckets, cups, and discarded tires, which provide an ideal habitat for mosquitoes.

A few steps homeowners can take to reduce standing water include:
  • Pick up trash, such as styrofoam containers, that can collect water;
  • Clear clogged rain gutters;
  • Cover bins, wading pools, and other items that can hold standing water for extended periods of time; and
  • Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes regularly.
The Department suggests consulting a professional to advise how to address potential mosquito breeding grounds in and around construction sites.

DOB advisories are a courtesy to remind building and land owners and contractors of their responsibility to maintain their property in a code compliant manner, and cannot be read to suggest that the Department, rather than the property owner, is responsible for maintaining his or her property.

Under §28-301.1 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, property owners are legally obligated to maintain their properties in safe and code compliant conditions at all times.

New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report unsafe conditions, or 911 to report emergencies at construction sites or buildings.