Environmental group calls on LI water providers to speed up removal of potentially toxic chemicals
Over 20 Long Island water providers are still not meeting strict new drinking water standards for certain toxic chemical contaminants -- but they are not yet in violation of the law.
Hundreds of Long Islanders recently received letters from their water provider informing customers that the water they were drinking was contaminated above New York state standards with three contaminants known as PFOS, PFOA and 1,4-dioxane.
The letters stated the water provider was given two years by the New York state Health Department to come into compliance, but that meanwhile the water is safe to drink.
Margaret Fleming, of Hicksville, isn't buying it.
"I drink bottled water all the time and I cook with bottled water because you can't trust it," she says.
Environmental group Citizens Campaign for the Environment is also calling foul, saying two years to remove cancer-causing chemicals is too long.
"For these letters to say 'they're good for all uses,' we feel is a misrepresentation of the truth, misleading to the public and in some cases downright harmful," says Citizens Campaign Executive Director Adrienne Esposito.
The environmental group is calling on the state Health Department to list the 21 water providers that received deferrals, along with the detected levels of contamination and with a timeline that each water district has agreed to remedy the problem.
"These chemicals have serious public health consequences including being listed as a likely carcinogen by the U.S. EPA for liver cancer and kidney cancer," says Esposito.
Hicksville Water District Superintendent Paul Granger admitted their water is contaminated above the state level. However, he says the district has several filtration systems running to remove the contaminants, and several other filtration systems are in the process of being installed. One of the high-tech filtration system Hicksville is planning for carries a price tag of $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 nothing you can buy off the shelf."
The Hicksville Water District says they expect to have the newest water filtration system up and running this summer.
If you want a complete list of the 21 districts that are not in compliance, click here
for the Citizens Campaign for the Environment report.