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Call 911 if someone is in need of immediate medical attention.

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You can report a problem with cold drinking water from the tap or faucet, an illness caused by drinking water, learn about NYC's water quality, and report building drinking water tank inspections.

You can report brown, black, rusty, yellow, or dirty household COLD water from the tap or faucet in single and multi-family dwellings, as well as in commercial establishments. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will not investigate complaints that are the result of an internal condition. The building landlord or superintendent is responsible for addressing complaints due to internal conditions.

The problem is internal if:

  • It is occurring in only one location, such as the bathroom or kitchen
  • The water clears after it has run for 5 to 10 minutes
  • No other tenants in the building are experiencing the same problem (only applies to multi-family dwellings)

Discolored Water

Occasionally, street construction or water main work can cause discolored water. While it is not harmful, residents should not drink obviously discolored water. Washing clothes with discolored water may tint or stain garments. Discolored water occurs when disturbances to the water main, including an opened fire hydrant, cause pipe sediment to shift. Settling times vary, depending on the size of the water mains in the area. Residents should run their taps until water runs cold and clear. Reporting dirty water conditions helps the DEP engineers pinpoint any problems.

Fire Hydrant Survey - Reporting Brown Water

During the spring, the DEP checks and repairs fire hydrants located throughout the five boroughs. This process can cause tap water in area homes to temporarily run brown. There is no need for concern if water runs brown for a short time as a result of the hydrant survey program. Just let the tap flow until the water runs clear.

Household Hot Water

The building owner, landlord, or superintendent is responsible for addressing all complaints regarding hot water.  This includes dirty, rusty, brown, discolored, smelly, or foul tasting hot water. These conditions in hot water are caused by either a problem with the water heater, corroded pipes, or both.

Report drinking water from the tap or faucet that smells or tastes bad. Reports can include a smell or taste of: 

  • Chlorine
  • Chemicals
  • Something metallic
  • Something musty or stale
  • Sewer, sulfur, or rotten eggs

Report cold drinking water from the tap or faucet that:

Drinking Water Supply and Quality Report

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for maintaining up-to-date and accurate information on New York City's drinking water supply and quality. You can request a booklet that details these findings.


Learn more about water quality.

By Phone

Call 311 to request a paper copy.

Drinking Water Information

You can get general information about the quality of NYC's drinking water supply, including water hardness, treatment, and filtration for a specific address.

Owners of buildings in New York City that use tanks to store or pressurize the building’s drinking water must have the tanks inspected at least once each calendar year, and must submit the results of those inspections to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene by January 15 of the next calendar year.

Inspection reports may be submitted online or by mail.

Learn more about reporting water tank inspections, get forms, or access the online reporting tool.