DiNapoli: State must maintain water quality vigilance

DiNapoli: State must maintain water quality vigilance.
Alarm bells sounded in Hoosick Falls when its water supply showed up dangerous levels of Perfluorooctanoic acid, a water and oil repellent, used since the 1940s in products including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpeting and microwave popcorn bags.
Now, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the state must raise the level of oversight on hundreds of New York water systems to safeguard public health.
Based on the Comptroller’s review of water system reports, nearly 90 percent of the state’s 192 public water systems detected contaminants equaling or exceeding limits.
"How do we protect drinking water supplies so we don’t have any of these chemicals?"
Additionally, the report said, it is incumbent on the state health department to maintain a up-to-date database on contaminants that could pose water system hazards, along with detailing their maximum allowable levels.
In the wake of the Newburgh and Hoosick Falls incidents and the fallout from serious lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, $2.5 billion was allocated in this year’s state budget for water infrastructure projects, including $120 million for remediation of contaminated supplies; at least $20 million for the replacement of lead drinking water service lines; and up to $10 million for information technology systems related to water supplies.
By DiNapoli’s estimate more than $5 billion has been spent by the state and federal government on local water systems over the past 20 years.
Among the recommendations from the Comptroller’s Office: •Create a statewide response plan, with public input, to effectively address drinking water contamination incidents.
"Water contamination incidents in the Village of Hoosick Falls and the City of Newburgh illustrate the vulnerabilities of the current regulatory structure," the comptroller’s office said in its report.

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