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Drinking Water Quality Council proposes water standards

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - New York State now has the toughest standards in the country when it comes to chemical contaminants linked to cancer in drinking water.

After months of delay and public concern, the state's drinking water quality council tonight finally established limits on some of the industrial pollutants that wreaked havoc with two local communities.

The council set 10 parts per trillion as the new maximum contaminant levels for PFOA and for PFOS. To put that in perspective, those standards are the lowest in the country and seven times lower than the EPA health advisory guideline for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.

Those chemicals raised serious health concerns and uprooted lives in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh as residents faced a years-long water crisis.

The 12 member council also set a maximum level of one part per billion for 1,4 dioxane, another chemical found in drinking water that’s also found in cosmetics and detergents and shampoos.

These new maximum contaminant levels are legally enforceable and cannot be exceeded. Public water systems must act now when they reach half the maximum contaminant level to ensure safe drinking water.

The state health commissioner now either accepts, rejects, or proposes a different maximum contaminant level.

There will then be a public comment period and if adopted, public water systems would have to test their water to make sure it complied.

Public watchdog NYPIRG put out a statement urging the health department to take swift action to adopt final regulations for the public's protection.

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