A final vote on clean drinking water standards has been pushed back by the state twice, environmental groups said during a press conference on Tuesday.
"Approximately 4.3 million New Yorkers rely on drinking water that has levels of PFOA, PFOS, or 1,4-dioxane above levels considered by health experts to be safe – but that's only where testing has been conducted in larger water systems," Liz Moran, environmental policy director for the New York Public Interest Research Group wrote.
"Over 2 million New Yorkers rely on small water systems that may not have had any testing for these contaminants."
The new regulations will require all of New York's water systems to be tested for PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-dioxane, and for those harmful chemicals to be removed when they exceed the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs).
Advocates and lawmakers are asking that the Department of Health set the MCLs at 2ppt for PFOA and PFOS and for 1,4-dioxane.
"New Yorkers should feel assured that the water coming out of their faucet is clean, safe, and drinkable," Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy said.
A final vote on these standards were cancelled twice and on Tuesday it was moved to July 30.
“A full year ago, on July 8, 2019, Governor Cuomo directed the NYS Department of Health to adopt the Drinking Water Quality Council's recommended MCLs for PFOA, PFOS and 1,4-dioxane," Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried said. "It should not take a year to implement when people's health is at stake. It is unconscionable to postpone the PHHPC meeting again, especially when we know these cancer-causing chemicals compromise the immune system.”
A spokesperson for the Deparment of Health reached out stating that the two meetings were pushed back due to the fact that the Department was responding to the coronavirus pandemic during that time. The two meetings had been scheduled for April and June.
"We join clean water advocates, concerned legislators and impacted communities in appreciating the importance of New York's proposal to implement one of the most protective drinking water standards nationwide of 10 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFOS and the nation's first standard at 1 part per billion for 1,4-dioxane," Erin Silk with DOH wrote. "This process is a result of intense collaboration over many months with an array of experts and using the best available industry science to ensure achievable standards that are protective of public health."