Finding information about drinking water quality should, with today’s technology, be as easy as a simple internet search. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. This bill amends the emerging contaminant monitoring program created in the SFY 2017-18 budget to make information on drinking water systems in New York more accessible for the public by requiring information to be made available on the Department of Health website.
Recently, the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) launched the Drinking Water Profiles Project – this is an exceptional tool and all New Yorkers benefit from NYPIRG’s efforts. However, this is a responsibility and obligation to the public that should be shouldered by government, with continuing access to the most up-to-date information, accessibility of public alert programs, and more.
In Hoosick Falls, an emerging contaminant, PFOA, lurked in their water for years, but residents remained in the dark until one resident took it upon himself to test for the chemical in his own water. No one should find themselves in the same situation, which is why it is not only important for communities to test for emerging contaminants, but also to make sure residents can easily access information regarding their water quality.
The public has a right to know what is in their water – this bill would provide a key tool in ensuring this right.
This bill amends the public health law to require the department of health to provide educational materials regarding emerging contaminants in drinking water available on their website, and requires participation in the federal water watch program.