Tolaim – Crustaceans – Found in NYC Tap Water


copepodsAllie Townsend reports: New York City is known for having excellent tap water, but why does it taste so good? It might be the microscopic shrimp.

Tiny copepods were discovered after a reddit user uploaded photos of what they found through the other end of a microscope after adding H&E stain to New York tap water. According to blog Gizmodo, copepods are added to water to eat mosquito larvae, keeping water sources clear.

But besides a serious “ick” factor, the copepods are technically crustaceans, which means they aren’t kosher for the city’s large Orthodox, observant Jewish population. Reports of requests by the Jewish community to have the water “purified” surfaced in 2004, but according to the Department of Environmental Protection, extracting the creatures wasn’t possible, claiming that they deliver health benefits to water reservoirs. “When it comes to delivery, if there is a spike and you are not comfortable with what you see in your water, all we can recommend is a commercial filter, which will effectively filter them out,” DEP spokesman Charles Sturcken told Water & Waste Digest.



  1. nothing new!!!! all stores in BP & FLATBUSH have signs W FILER OUR WATER.
    Unless you follow R Belsky, we do it already!!!

  2. I don’t get it…this is VERY old news. The issue of copepods in NYC’s water supply made the kosher news headlines back in the summer of 2004. The poskim — Rav Yisrael Belsky, Rav Dovid Feinstein (in consultation with Rav Eliyashuv) and the OU all weighed in on the issue at that time as to whether the water needs filtering. So what’s the chiddush?

  3. This would mean that all NY water has this problem, we were led to believe that only certain areas do. Many people here in Far Rockaway have filters on their homes or at least on taps that they use for anything that could get water into their mouths. Can these copepods be seen with the naked eye?

  4. If it’s not visible to the naked eye, it doesn’t exist and it is kosher. What the Rabbonim prohibited in New York were only the visible tolaim.

  5. Tzoorba: Please don’t paskin for anybody. Some poskim are lenient and don’t require filtering, others are more stringent and do require filtering. The “Rabbonim” of whom you speak did not paskin unanimously.

    ChaimZ: Yes, many people in Far Rockaway only use filtered water for drinking and cooking. However, as in all cases where there is a halachic issue involved, ask your Rav how to proceed.

  6. the copepods are 100% visible with the naked eye. just look very carefully and you will see hundreds of them. if you put it on a light source it is easier to see, but is still very visible without the light.

  7. #10, I quote from the article “Tiny copepods were discovered after a reddit user uploaded photos of what they found through the other end of a microscope after adding H&E stain”