Environmental group calls on LI water providers to speed up removal of potentially toxic chemicals

News 12 employees

March 24, 2021 at 5:37 p.m. EDT

Updated on:March 24, 2021 at 5:37 p.m. EDT

Over 20 water utilities on Long Island are still not meeting tough new drinking water standards for certain toxic chemical contaminants – but they are not yet breaking the law.

Hundreds of Long Islanders recently received letters from their water company informing customers that the water they drank was above New York State standards with three contaminants known as PFOS, PFOA and 1,4-dioxane are known.

The letters say the water company was given two years by the New York State Department of Health to comply with regulations. In the meantime, the water is safe to drink.

Margaret Fleming of Hicksville won’t buy it.

“I drink bottled water all the time and cook with bottled water because you can’t trust it,” she says.

The environmental group Citizens Campaign for the Environment also names a foul. Two years to remove cancer-causing chemicals is too long.

“When these letters say they are good for all purposes, we believe that it is a misrepresentation of the truth that is misleading to the public and, in some cases, downright harmful,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign.

The environmental group is asking the state health ministry to list the 21 water utilities that have received deferrals, along with the pollution levels they have identified and a schedule that each water district has agreed to address the issue.

“These chemicals have serious public health implications, including the fact that they are listed by the US EPA as likely to cause cancer of the liver and kidneys,” Esposito says.

Hicksville Water District Superintendent Paul Granger admitted that his water is above state levels of contamination. However, he says the district has several filtration systems running to remove the contaminants and several other filtration systems are currently being installed. One of the high-tech filter systems planned by Hicksville is priced at $ 70 million.

“It’s our own Operation Warp Speed ​​right now,” says Granger. “This equipment is very sophisticated, the science is complex, and it is not something that can be bought off the shelf.”

The Hicksville Water District expects the newest water filtration system to go live this summer.

For a full list of the 21 non-compliant counties, click here for the Citizens Campaign for the Environment report.

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