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You Paid For It: Drinking Water Quality Council

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Hoosick Falls, Newburgh and parts of Long Island are all places that have been devastated by water contaminants that include PFOA, PFOS and 1,4-Dioxane.

In the wake of those water crises, last fall NYS created the Drinking Water Quality Council. The council was tasked with making recommendations to establish maximum allowable levels of those contaminants. Just one problem, after a few initial meetings late last year and early this year, the council vanished into thin air. It hasn’t met since February.

On the council’s Department of Health website, it says a meeting scheduled for March 19 was postponed due to last minute scheduling conflicts. It says the meeting would be rescheduled, but that has never happened. Seven months have passed with no meeting.

The people of Hoosick Falls, whose water has been contaminated by PFOA, say the council has let them down. Residents Michele Baker and Silvia Potter say they are desperate for help from the state and can’t understand the delay.

Liz Moran, the Water and Natural Resources Director for Environmental Advocates of New York, says New York State should be a leader in setting maximum contaminant levels, but instead has provided nothing but inaction and delays.

The Department of Health did not provide a direct answer when we asked why the council isn’t meeting. Instead DOH gave CBS 6 this statement:

“New York State remains focused on setting protective MCLs for federally unregulated chemicals in drinking water and has made unprecedented funding available to municipalities to upgrade outdated and compromised infrastructure. In the absence of consistent national standards, New York State is considering all available information from stakeholders, including the recent Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry report recommending new minimum risk levels for substances like PFOA and PFOS. It is imperative to get these new drinking water standards right to fully protect New Yorkers for decades to come.”

The council’s recommendations are due next week, but a check of the website on Thursday shows there is still no meeting scheduled.

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