From the Daily News:
Cemetery operators, who care for thousands of acres of green space in the city, say they are unfairly targeted in the city's annual battle against mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus.
Between April and October, cemeteries are under orders to remove all standing water from their premises. That includes everything from decorative urns to the small plastic vases that hold flowers at gravesites.
Over the past three years, the Health Department has issued 42 standing water violations to cemeteries in the city. Each can bring fines as high as $2,000.
But Jay Ivler, president of the New York State Association of Cemeteries, said its "ludicrous" for the city to hand out violations, especially after a rainfall.
"Would the Health Department cite the Parks Department if there was water in the roadway at Central Park after a rainstorm?" asked Ivler, also president of Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Glendale.
"Cemeteries are unique, given the size and the nature of them," said Richard Fishman, director of the New York State Division of Cemeteries. "The city needs to take that into consideration during inspections."
Cemetery visitors often add to the problem.
City officials acknowledged in a statement that "leaving flowers at a loved one's burial is meaningful and important. As a result this year, for the first time, the Health Department is permitting vases with wet sand or soil to hold flowers in the place of water."