Expanding Drinking Water Testing

Environmental Advocates Strongly Support this Bill

Explanation: 

Every New Yorker deserves to know if their water is safe to drink. By creating New York’s first emerging contaminant testing list, this bill ensures that all public water systems across the state test for potentially dangerous chemicals.

Emerging contaminants are chemicals present in drinking water that may be harmful to human health. Under the federal Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR), the US EPA publishes a list of up to 30 emerging contaminants every few years to be tested for in drinking water. However, the federal regulation does not require testing in small community systems serving fewer than 10,000 people. This gap in testing keeps approximately 2.5 million New Yorkers from knowing whether these toxic chemicals are in their drinking water.

In 2017, the NYS Legislature passed the Emerging Contaminants Monitoring Act, which instructed the NYS Department of Health (DOH) to create an emerging contaminant testing list and begin statewide testing. To date, DOH has not followed through with creating this list.

This bill takes action by listing emerging contaminants that all New York public water systems, even smaller systems with fewer than 10,000 people, will be required to test for in their drinking water. The list is largely drawn from chemicals known to occur in New York from EPA’s latest round of emerging contaminant testing, and includes PFOA and PFOS which have already contaminated water systems across the state.

Every New Yorker deserves the same drinking water protections. This testing will provide New Yorkers critical information on emerging contaminants in their drinking water and the levels they are exposed to when they turn on the tap. The longer New York waits on this comprehensive testing, the greater the chance that contamination will go undiscovered and people will get sick.

Summary: 

This bill amends Section 1112 of the Public Health Law to create New York’s first emerging contaminant testing list.

Memo #: 

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