SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. -- With drinking water problems plaguing communities across New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced plans for a state repsonse team that would step into action when contamination issues arise.
"The infrastructure that we put in, we didn't anticipate the degradation of that infrastructure and what it might do," said Cuomo, D-New York. "This is a situation we want to get ahead of, rather than responding to individual circumstances."
Cuomo made the announcement in Suffolk County on Long Island, where questions have arisen over the contamination of well water, but Cuomo also pointed to upstate water issues, including the chemical contamination in Hoosick Falls.
"There's now a real scare in Hoosick Falls about the quality of the water and they're drinking bottled water. We're doing a rapid fire study of filtration and what's the appropriate remedy."
In the Rennselaer County village, residents re grappling with the contamination of drinking water by the chemcial PFOA, which is believed to have entered ground water through two factories and may increase the risk of cancer.
"It was not a regulated chemical, so we didn't test for it for many, many years. EPA recently decided we should test for it," Cuomo said.
Cuomo has insisted the state has moved quickly when it came to the contamination in Hoosick Falls, which was first detected in Dec. 2014 by local researchers. On Thursday, Cuomo pointed to the federal EPA changing safety limits for the chemical.
"They set one limit that was the recommended limit. We test for that. They then changed the limited, actually multipled it by four."
Hoosick Falls isn't the only upstate commnuity dealing with drinknig water issues. In Jefferson County, residents are dealing with road salt from a DOT barn that seeped into well water. Cuomo on Thursday said the problem appears to have compounded across New York.
"The long-term effects of pollution all through the state in many ways is now making itself visible in many ways we never saw before."
The Assembly in April plans to hold hearings on water quality issues across the state.