Yesterday in Albany I joined with environmental and health advocates and other legislators to urge the immediate passage of legislation I'm sponsoring in the Assembly to protect New York's drinking water. My bill, (A.7839), would require testing drinking water all across New York State for a list of harmful chemicals, and establish a deadline for the New York Department of Health (DOH) to conduct such testing.
The bill explicitly cites many contaminants for which local municipalities and local jurisdictions in New York must test their water systems, including highly toxic substances such as PFOS, PFOA, and 1,4-dioxane. Up until now, there has been no federal or State government law requiring water testing in many small communities with systems supplying water to less than 10,000 people - meaning that about 2.5 million New Yorkers are drinking untested water potentially containing toxins.
Since 2017, New York has made historic investments in water quality, but it's only as good as our implementation and oversight. New Yorkers - especially those depending on smaller water systems - deserve the same protections as the rest of us, and that means monitoring for emerging contaminants statewide. No one should have to wait any longer for comprehensive testing for these potentially dangerous chemicals!
Nearly three years ago, the Cuomo Administration promised swift action to close the federal loophole - but DOH has yet to implement or promulgate any regimen to test water contaminants or enforceable drinking water standards, even though the Legislature directed it to do so in 2017.
Nearly 16 million New Yorkers rely on water systems in which contaminants have been identified. After several crises in New York involving contaminated drinking water in Hoosick Falls, on Long Island, and elsewhere, it's clear that we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to clean, fresh water that is toxin-free.
I hope that you agree with me that preserving clean water for all New Yorkers is a top priority.
As always, I want to hear from you on this or any other issue. If you have questions or comments, please email me at Gottfriedr@nyassembly.gov.
Very truly yours,
Richard N. Gottfried
NYS Assembly Member