Water Emergency Procedures

OVERVIEW

This guideline is for establishments that conduct food processing operations for the public. During a water emergency, water used as an ingredient, for handwashing, or for washing food contact equipment may become a source of contamination.

In the event of water supply contamination, the establishment should cease food processing operations. The establishment operator(s) should place a consumer advisory sign on any self-service equipment such as plumbed drink machines or water fountains to alert consumers of the water emergency.

If an establishment has a limited supply of water or the supply is contaminated the following guidelines must be followed by the establishment operator(s). Emergency water procedures are intended to allow for short term emergency repairs such as if a city water main breaks or if flooding has caused a private well to test positive for pathogens.  Long term circumstances involving non-potable water are regulated by the Department of Health and may be enforced by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Adherence to emergency water procedures is required if water is not considered approved and/or potable, but does not restrict regulatory action if corrections are not made in a manner and timeframe deemed acceptable by the regulatory jurisdictions.

Water or ice from a suspect or non-potable water supply shall never be used as an ingredient, in any form, in the manufacture of any food product or come in contact with foods, ingredients or food‑contact surfaces. Foods, including ice and beverages, manufactured with the contaminated water must be discarded.

Approved alternate water sources of water include bottled drinking water, water provided by a NY State certified bulk water provider (aka “DOH approved water hauler”) or potable water provided by an emergency response agency during a natural disaster. Containers used to transport water during emergency situations must be clean and sanitized prior to filling.


OPERATION

WHEN WATER IS LIMITED OR UNAVAILABLE

WHEN WATER SUPPLY IS CONTAMINATED

Handwashing by employees

Use water from an approved alternate source.

Use water from an approved alternate source. (Any alternative accepted for employee hand-washing must
fully meet the need of regular and effective handwashing by employees). Temporary handwashing stations can be set up with water from approved sources. Handwashing should be followed with a hand sanitizer.

Cleaning and sanitizing tableware, kitchenware, vending machine compo- nents, equipment and contact surfaces

Use only single-service tableware and single use kitchenware.

Use water from or take components to a department approved alternate source elsewhere for cleaning.

Use only single-service tableware and single use kitchenware.

 

Use water from or take components to a department approved alternate source elsewhere for cleaning.

Cleaning floors, walls and other non-food contact surfaces

Use waterless cleaning methods.

Use nonpotable water if approved by this Division.

 

OPERATION

WHEN WATER IS LIMITED OR UNAVAILABLE

WHEN WATER SUPPLY IS CONTAMINATED

Storing dispensing utensils in dipper well.

Store utensils in food.

Store utensils in food.

Using garbage grinders.

Discontinue use and dispose of garbage in proper containers together with other refuse.

Use nonpotable water if approved by this Division.

Flushing toilets.

 

 

 

 

 

Use adjacent approved facilities which are readily available.

Use waterless toilets
(portable toilets).

 

Limit toilet use to employees only.

Use water from an alternate
source.

Use adjacent approved facilities which are readily available.

Use waterless toilets
(portable toilets).

 

Use nonpotable water.

 

Use water from an alternate
source.

Preparing carbonated and
other cold/hot beverages.

Replace with bottled or
canned beverages.

Use water from an approved alternate source.

Replace with bottled or
canned beverages.

Use water from an approved alternate source.

Disconnect water line to post-mix carbonated and other hard plumbed beverage machines, drain and disinfect lines prior to reuse.

Thawing of frozen foods.

Thaw only in refrigerator, or as part of cooking process if food weighs less than three pounds.

Thaw only in refrigerator, or as part of cooking process if food weighs less than three pounds.

Washing produce.

Obtain and use prewashed packaged produce.

 

Use produce washed prior to emergency. (Note: May be difficult to know if product was not washed with contaminated water).

Obtain and use prewashed packaged produce.

 

Use produce washed prior to emergency. (Note: May be difficult to know if product was not washed with contaminated water).


OPERATION

WHEN WATER IS LIMITED OR UNAVAILABLE

WHEN WATER SUPPLY IS CONTAMINATED

Washing produce (continued).

Use frozen or canned produce.

Wash fresh produce with water from an approved alternate source.

Use frozen or canned produce.
Wash fresh produce with water from an approved alternate source.

Spraying, dipping and soaking of produce.

Use water from an approved alternate source.

Use water from an approved alternate source.

Preparing and cooking food, including reconstituting dried food.

Use only food that was prepared prior to the interruption.

Discontinue sale of prepared foods.

Use prepared food from an approved alternate source.

Use water from an approved alternate source.

Use only food that was prepared prior to the interruption.

Discontinue sale of prepared foods.

Use prepared food from an approved alternate source.

Use water from an approved alternate source.

Ice-making.

Use ice prepared before interruption.

Use ice from commercially approved facilities outside of the affected area.

Do not use ice for preparing or serving beverages.

Purchase packaged potable ice.

Disconnect machine from supply; drain and disinfect equipment prior to re-use.
Use ice from commercially approved facilities outside of the affected area.
Do not use ice for preparing or serving beverages.

Purchase packaged potable ice.

 

Information Note: Non-potable water systems may be used for air conditioning, equipment cooling and fire protection.  This water shall not contact food or food contact equipment. The non‑potable water system shall be durably identified as such.