Scientists: Household products contaminate LI groundwater, but a solution could be on the horizon
A new report reveals the impact of 1,4-dioxane, a potentially cancer-causing chemical, on Long Island's water. But it also unveiled a way of helping remove the chemical from our water.
For those who live everyday with contaminated drinking water, news that there is new technology to filter household wastewater of cancer-causing chemicals is promising. Kelly McClinchey and Ron Martz, of Manorville, are among 150 homes in their community that only have well water, which is contaminated with a toxic mix of industrial chemicals including 1,4-dioxane.
Scientists say Long Island has the highest levels of one for dioxane in the nation. On Friday, Stony Brook scientists at the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology confirmed certain household products like shampoo and laundry detergent contaminate our groundwater with the chemical.
The center also announced the experimental wastewater filtration systems called Biofilters, made up of layers of sand and wood chips, effectively remove 1,4-dioxane and other contaminants.
"We are beyond thrilled it validates all of the work that has been going on for the last four years regarding 1,4-dioxane in household products and their contribution to drinking water quality and degradation our drinking water supplies," says Adrienne Esposito, of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
The chemical is a byproduct of manufacturing and not listed as an ingredient. In New York, state legislation requires manufacturers to remove the chemical from their products by December 2024.
Although the new technology will not result in clean drinking water now, Manorville residents say their hope is it will soon.
"I've been fighting for this too long, I hope I live long enough to see it ... but I'm definitely going to see it," says Martz.
The wastewater biofilters that remove 1,4-dioxane and other chemicals, as well as nitrogen, are expected to be available to the public in June of next year.