Thursday, July 30, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces First in the Nation Drinking Water Standard for Emerging Contaminant 1,4-Dioxane

New York Adopts Standard for 1,4-Dioxane at a Maximum Contaminant Level of 1 part per billion

State Also Achieves Among the Lowest Standards set for PFOA and PFOS at a Maximum Contaminant Level of 10 parts per trillion

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State has adopted a first-in-the-nation drinking water standard for emerging contaminant 1,4-Dioxane, setting the maximum contaminant level of 1 part per billion for 1,4-Dioxane. The Governor also announced maximum contaminant levels for emerging contaminants PFOA and PFOS in New York's drinking water, which are among the lowest in the U.S. for PFOA and PFOS at 10 parts per trillion. These announcements follow a public comment period and approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council.

"While the federal government continues to leave emerging contaminants like 1,4-Dioxane, PFOA and PFOS unregulated, New York is leading the way by setting new national standards that help ensure drinking water quality and safeguard New Yorker's health from these chemicals," Governor Cuomo said. "The environmental movement was founded in this great state and we will continue to move forward to protect our most precious resources for generations to come."

The new regulations require public water systems in the state to regularly test and monitor for these chemicals, regardless of size. All three contaminants have been detected in drinking water systems across the country, yet remain unregulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is responsible for setting regulatory limits under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  

In lieu of federal action and as part of the State's commitment to ensuring clean drinking water for all New Yorkers, the Drinking Water Quality Council was established as part of the 2017-2018 Executive Budget to provide recommendations to the New York State Department of Health to address emerging contaminants in drinking water resulting from decades-old industrial pollution in communities statewide. The Council's scientific review of PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-Dioxane was part of its first directive to set standards for these man-made, emerging contaminants, which are persistent in the environment and have been detected in drinking water systems nationwide. The Council's members, comprised of academic scientists, engineers, public water system professionals, and experts from the New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, followed the available science regarding potential health impacts and technology available to remove these chemicals when recommending the standards for adoption. 

Per New York's rulemaking process, the amended regulations were published in January in the New York State Register for a 45 day public comment period. The proposal garnered more than 2,000 comments for consideration. In response to comments received, DOH drafted modifications to the proposed regulations that would establish a deferral process for public water systems who proactively tested to come into compliance with the proposed MCLs, without being issued a violation notice. Following today's PHHPC approval, and once approved by the Commissioner of Health, the final regulations will be published in the State Register. Once published, systems serving 10,000 people or more will be required to begin testing within 60 days, within 90 days for systems serving between 3,300 to 9,999 people, and within six months for systems serving less than 3,300 people.  

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