Dept. of Health: 21 LI water providers applied for more time to remove toxic chemicals
Some Nassau residents have received letters from their water provider saying that their drinking water might contain toxic contaminants. The notices are part of a process passed into law last year.
The Water Authority of Western Nassau County sent the letter out, alerting residents that the water supply contains cancer-causing chemicals known as PFOS, PFOA and 1,4-dioxane.
Last August, the state passed a law that water providers must work immediately toward removing these contaminants if they are found in drinking wells. If the contaminants could not be removed within a three-month period, water authorities could apply for more time with a deferral.
However, if the deferral is granted, customers must be contacted with information letting them know that the water doesn't meet New York's new drinking water standards.
According to the New York state Department of Health, 21 water providers in Nassau and Suffolk have applied for more time to get the cancer-causing chemicals out of its water. The deferral gives the water provider two years or more to get filtration systems up and running.
Kris Thomas, a mother of three from Floral Park, was among those to receive the concerning letter. She says she was shocked.
"They are basically informing us that we are consuming a cancer-causing agent and continue drinking this until we get further news in a year and half," says Thomas.
"It is infuriating and upsetting that residents are getting letters from their water supplier here on Long Island telling them there is now contamination in your water and it will go on for another two years until we get the treatment installed," says Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "That's unacceptable, the public shouldn't accept it and we don't accept it."
According to the Nassau County Health Department, 17 water providers have applied for more time to get the cancer-causing agents out of the water. The Suffolk County Water Authority says they have also applied for deferral for its water supply.
In a statement to News 12, Suffolk County Water Authority CEO Jeffrey Szabo says, "SCWA has led the nation in addressing these contaminants, including putting into service the first treatment system in New York to address 1,4-dioxane three years ago. But receiving the deferral was essential for us as there was no possible way to meet the new regulations on the state's timeline, as we needed to receive approval for, construct and put into service literally dozens of treatment systems."