DOB Issues Advice After Historic Flooding from Ida

Image Credit: NYC DOB.

New Yorkers should be on the lookout for mold and structural damage, and take caution. On September 2, 2021, the Department of Buildings advised New Yorkers on actions to take after the remains of Hurricane Ida brought record-breaking rains and flash flooding across the city. Heavy flooding can result in structural damage, undermining, hazardous mold, and the deterioration of building electrical and gas plumbing systems.

The Department of Buildings advised the following: 

– Check for structural damage, stability issues or other unsafe conditions. Contact the Department of Buildings at 311 with concerns, or 911 in case of an emergency. 

– Check for mold, newly formed cracks in the wall, and other signs of foundation damaging, like bulging walls. 

– Take precaution around outdoor structures like decks, porches and retaining walls, as the stability of these structures can be undermined by heavy flooding. 

– Be aware of shifting soil around buildings. Heavy flooding can result in sinkholes, especially around septic systems. Be cautious around large trees if the surrounding soil is soft.

– Do not wade into standing water, including in basements, to survey damage. Standing water can be contaminated, electrically charged or contain hazardous debris. 

– Use caution when pumping out water in flooded basements or cellars, as removing the water too quickly can result in structural damage. Draining the water slowly will help equalize the pressure.

– When investigating and cleaning flood damage, wear protective gear like gloves, boots, a mask and other clothing to protect from contaminants like mold.

– Electrical wiring and gas plumbing systems can be damaged by flooding causing an imminent hazard. Never attempt to turn off the power or operate a circuit breaker while standing in water. 

– Never use gas-powered generators indoors. Keep generators outside and away from open windows, and follow all included instructions.

– If your building requires extensive repair work, you may require a registered contractor and/or DOB-issued work permits. The license status of construction professionals can be found here

– Emergency work can be done by licenses master plumbers to fix hazardous situations, maintain sanitary conditions and restore essential services. Licensed master plumbers can file Emergency Work Notifications with DOB online, which will allow them to start repairs right away, and paperwork for required permits can be submitted after the job is finished.

Buildings Commissioner Melanie E. La Rocca stated, “While the worst of the flooding has thankfully subsided, that doesn’t mean that the potential for hazards is over. Flood-damaged buildings can still pose a serious danger to New Yorkers. Take precautions, and if you spot any unsafe conditions, report it immediately.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)

One thought on “DOB Issues Advice After Historic Flooding from Ida

  1. While we are observing that much of the flooding and deaths has occurred to resident basement apartments the reader needs to know that the act of renting basement as apartments is illegal and violates the NYC Building and Fire Safety Codes. And yet Mayor DiBlasio in his first term over-rode the code and law favoring the illegal aliens that arrive to NYC under this Sanctuary City status- and no one opposed him. None of the radical progressive elected officials and certainly not the property owners. And in their silence they all have aided in this law breaking that now has had consequences. So there’s a new victim populations that these same elected are fawning over and showering with freebie entitlements. And punishment is being extended to the law abiding that now have to pay for all that.

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