Unanimous vote sets New York's water standards as among the nation's most strict
The state has adopted new standards for acceptable levels of toxic chemicals in our water.
In a unanimous vote, the New York Health Department created some of the most strict water standards in the nation, regulating how much 1,4-Dioxane, PFOA and PFOS are in our water.
"These are toxic chemicals, they are known to cause cancer, nervous system disorders and other health ailments," says Adrienne Esposito, of the Citizens Campaign.
Esposito says parts of Long Island's Sole Source Aquifer has some of the worst 1,4 Dioxane contamination in the nation. She says PFOA and PFOS have poisoned numerous well ins Suffolk County. The chemicals come from manufacturing and other pollutants.
Filtering out the chemicals will now cost water districts millions. At the Hicksville Water District, like some others, filtering equipment is already being designed and built. But officials say there will probably be a water rate increase for customers.
"This is a very expensive treatment process, for my district we are looking at a $70 million investment," says Paul Granger, of the Hicksville Water District.
Though the state is helping with some grants, water district officials worry those funds, and possible future ones, could be reduced as money is shifted toward COVID-19 relief.
"While we are grateful to the state finance support through grant funding, there are still large budget gaps we need to make up to pay for the rest of the treatment needed," says Richard Passariello, of the Long Island Water Conference.
Water districts say they are also suing many of the industries responsible for the chemical contamination hoping to recoup some of the filtering costs.
In the end, environmentalists like Esposito say the high cost is a worthwhile investment.
"Clean water is worth it. It's a necessity not a luxury item," she says.