Drinking water task force holds 1st meeting

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STONY BROOK -

A state task force charged with identifying contaminants in Long Island's drinking water and making policy recommendations met Monday for the first time.

State lawmakers assembled the panel of scientists and water quality experts, who will work toward determining which contaminants are present, the levels at which they are unsafe, and how to remove them from the water.

Among Long Island's water quality concerns are contaminants like 1,4-dioxane and perfluorinated compounds, both probable carcinogens.

MORE: Coverage of Long Island's water quality

Last year, a drinking water survey found that the Hicksville Water District had 1,4-dioxane in one of its wells at the highest concentration ever detected in the nation. The well was taken offline.

Perfluorinated compounds were discovered in the water at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach and the Suffolk Fire Academy in Yaphank. Both are now Superfund sites.

"The bottom line is these contaminants are a true public health threat here on Long Island and we are very encouraged that the task force will be setting a standard for these chemicals, the sooner the better," says Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

The task force's next meeting is scheduled to be held in Albany next month.

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