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Long Island Water Districts Say They Need More Time To Meet New Drinking Water Standards

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Some Long Island water districts claim they were unable to meet new drinking water standards in part due to COVID. Shipments of crucial carbon filtration systems were delayed, but environmental groups argue there are no excuses when it comes to public health; CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports.

Video Transcript

- Some Long Island water districts claim they were unable to meet new drinking-water standards, in part due to COVID. Shipments of crucial carbon-filtration systems were delayed. Environmental groups argue there are no excuses when it comes to public health. CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reporting tonight from Farmingdale.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: New York State adopted tough new drinking-water standards one year ago.

- Aquifers right underneath our ground.

- --what we're putting into our own water.

- I am concerned about it.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: An investigation into compliance, launched this year by Citizens Campaign for the Environment, revealed that 21, almost half Long Island water districts, were granted two-year deferrals in clearing wells of contaminants. The nonprofit calls deferrals a danger to the public health.

ADRIENNE ESPOSITO: They're forever chemicals, because they stay in your body, and they don't break down.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: 1, 4-Dioxane, a likely carcinogen found in some household cleaning products, PFOS, linked to firefighting foams, PFOA, used in nonstick and stain-resistant products.

PAUL GRANGER: Most of our wells are impacted by the contamination. You know, we had no choice but to take-- take the aggressive action.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Hicksville recently won approval for a $50-million bond, and the fix is underway-- specialized oxidation, carbon-filtration systems.

Even with state and federal grants, water providers say rate increases will be necessary to pay for treating the systems.

Highest concentrations of 1, 4-Dioxane, Western Nassau-- PFOA, Garden City-- PFOS, Hampton Bays. The state required notification.

ADRIENNE ESPOSITO: Many members of the public were startled to get such a letter from their water district.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: The State Drinking Water Council is reassuring the public, the water is safe, calming news for the Makar family.

- We are not nervous. Now, also, we use the tap water.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Water districts are suing chemical manufacturers and polluters for payback, pledging to meet the deferred safety deadline within two more years. On Long Island, Jennifer McLogan, CBS2 News.