State Must Act to Protect Our Drinking Water
by Henry Euler
Feb 13, 2018 | 5795 views | 0 0 comments | 408 408 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In many parts of New York State, brownfields are present because of illegal dumping of toxic chemicals and other substances into the soil. These substances, many of which are linked to cancer, can contaminate the underground water sources that many areas rely on for drinking water.

These contaminated underground areas often plume out and have been discovered under homes, schools and businesses.

Other sources of drinking water can also become polluted. Take the city of Newburgh. That city relies on potable water from Lake Washington, and it was discovered that the lake is contaminated with a toxic substance called PFOS that is linked to cancer.

It comes from foam that is used to put out electrical and chemical fires. Apparently, the foam was being used and tested near the lake at a military air base over a period of time, and the residues from the foam eventually made their way into the lake.

The toxin was found in the water supply of Newburgh, and when some residents were tested for the presence of the toxin, their blood, in many instances, revealed levels above the Federal guidelines for PFOS, especially in children.

Residents were alarmed and rightly so. The town had to install a filtration system to alleviate the toxic levels, and there is still concern over the longterm effects from exposure to the contaminated water.

Other states face similar issues. We have all heard about the problems that Flint, Michigan, has had with lead contamination in its drinking water. In many cases, lead levels in the blood of children in that community were dangerously elevated, which can cause all sorts of developmental issues.

On January 30, a speaker from the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), made a presentation before the Bayside Hills Civic Association regarding the need to protect all sources of drinking water from contamination.

The speaker mentioned that there are sites in Nassau and Suffolk counties where the groundwater is compromised. If contamination sites plume out, they can cross county lines and affect other areas.

With the cuts in the federal budget to the Environmental Protection Agency, the burden of monitoring and maintaining the quality of our drinking water and remediating water quality problems is now pushed more on to the state.

Our drinking water in New York City is highly regarded for its taste and purity, but we must be ever vigilant that it remains so.

NYPIRG is attempting to make the public aware of these drinking water problems and issues. They are also petitioning the state's Drinking Water Quality Council, which is part of the Department of Health, to commit to continue to monitor, clean up, safeguard, and properly maintain all public water systems throughout the state by establishing the strictest possible health standards for unregulated contaminants.

Please contact your local elected officials and tell them that our drinking water sources must be protected. Without potable water, we can not function or survive.

Henry Euler is a resident of Bayside.
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