WXXI AM News

Environmentalists urge quick decision on new water quality standards

Sep 27, 2018

Credit Matt Ryan, New York Now

Environmentalists are urging a state panel on water quality standards to meet its October 2nd deadline to set new acceptable levels of toxic chemicals in public water supplies.

The Drinking Water Quality Council was created by the governor and the legislature in the spring of 2017, in response to a contaminated water supply in Hoosick Falls New York. The village housed factories that manufactured Teflon, and used PFOA and PFOS in the process, which leached into the water. Liz Moran, with Environmental Advocates, says the Council should set new, lower minimum standards for the presence of the chemicals in public water supplies, and then facilitate testing of drinking water throughout New York.

“What’s really scary is, right now, we don’t test statewide for these chemicals,” said Moran, who said the substances could be “lurking” in New Yorkers’ public water supplies without anyone knowing.  

Moran says the health department currently has the power, even without recommendations from the Council, to enact stricter standards for the potential carcinogens and require more testing. 

A spokesman for the state health department, Gary Holmes, says “the “state is taking aggressive actions to ensure New Yorkers are not exposed to unregulated contaminants” in their water, but did not say when the recommendations might be finished, saying “it’s an ongoing process”.