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City Adopts Weprin's Proposal for Public Playground Sprinklers

Department of Environmental Protection adding timers and activation buttons to prevent sprinklers from running all day long at city playgrounds.

The city will install timers on sprinklers at public playgrounds to prevent them from running all day long, the Department of Environmental Protection’s commissioner said.

Councilman Mark Weprin, D-Oakland Gardens, had proposed legislation two years ago to prevent public playground sprinklers from running nonstop.

Last week, the DEP and the city’s Parks Department announced that the sprinklers were now being retrofitted with timers and activation buttons.

“There is no reason for sprinklers to operate continuously,” Weprin said. “With consumers being hit with water rate increases every year, wasting water is a slap in the face to taxpayers.”

Currently, most sprinklers in city parks spray from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., while others continue to operate all night long.

Weprin said the city’s new initiative to control the amount of water being sprayed out of sprinklers at playgrounds could save as much as one billion gallons per year.

The city will retrofit 24 sprinklers by next summer and up to 400 others by 2017.

“The Parks Department should move forward with this change as quickly as possible,” Weprin said. “The cost of continuously operating playground sprinklers represents funding that could go toward schools, hospitals, senior center or libraries.”

Carter Strickland, DEP’s commissioner, said the retrofitted sprinklers would have two-minute automatic shut-off timers.

A pilot program for the new sprinklers has been launched at Flushing’s Maple Playground and Glendale Playground.

Strickland said the new equipment will help prevent flooding during heavy rain and ease pressure on the city’s wastewater treatment plants.

“New York City water is one of the city’s most precious resources and it’s important that we conserve it wherever we can while also enhancing opportunities for New Yorkers to enjoy water outdoors,” Strickland said.

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