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State health department backtracking on drinking water standards

Feb 04, 2020 1:30 pm
The Environmental Advocates of New York is reporting on the effort to convince the governor's office to rescind a a proposed revision to the state Department of Health's Maximum Contaminant Levels, or MCLs, for PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-dioxane in public drinking water. Environmental Advocates, and others, gathered before the February 4 meeting of the Drinking Water Quality Council, to urge the reversal of a proposed deferral system that "curtails public notification requirements and could unnecessarily delay the treatment of drinking water." The MCL process now in use requires water suppliers to test for harmful chemicals and take action if the health department issues a Notice of Violation when levels exceed a certain level. The actions required include public notifications and the development of a timeline to return the water supply to compliance. Under the new process, a water supplier is eligible to receive a deferral to avoid formally violating an MCL for up to 3 years. And after an initial public notification, water suppliers would only have to notify the public every year, rather than every three months. Mary Finneran, environmental activist and resident of Cairo said, “The Town of Cairo, New York has been impacted by PFOS in our water for several years. Without a drinking water standard in place for PFOS, people continue to drink the contaminated water. Our town cannot wait for the state to revise its regulations and create a whole new deferral program. We need the state to act now to protect the residents of Cairo, including babies and children in our elementary school.” Public comment on the new deferral system closes on March 9. Read the full press release at the Environmental Advocates of New York's website.