Recent water contaminant violations will be discussed at public information session


Rockland County Legislator Jay Hood Jr. said a session is being organized to provide residents and business owners with more information regarding the drinking water violations that have been reported by Suez New York.

“The public wants more information and we will work to provide it,” Legislator Hood (D-Haverstraw) said. “I want answers as to how this happened and what is being done to make sure it does not happen again. Given all the national news concerning water contamination, we need assurance that our water is being tested regularly and is safe for our families.”

Suez New York exceeded a federal drinking water quality standard at two testing locations in Haverstraw, with the treated water coming from the Lake Deforest reservoir in Clarkstown. Suez New York, formerly known as United Water New York, provides drinking water to the majority of homes and businesses in Rockland County.

Levels of trihalomethane, a byproduct of disinfecting water by using chlorine, exceeded standards at the two spots. Chlorine helps to prevent risks of bacterial infection and disease, according to the county Health Department.

According to the Suez notice regarding the violations, some studies suggest that drinking water containing trihalomethanes for long periods of time, such as 20 to 30 years, increases the risk for cancer, low birth rates, miscarriages and birth defects.

Suez advised its customers that they could use bottled water or activated charcoal filters (such as Brita pitchers and faucet filters) for drinking and cooking purposes, and run a fan or open a window when showering or bathing. The company said that such measures were not necessary to avoid health effects, but were offered as options.

Hood said he expects the Legislature’s Environmental Committee to host the information session and that the goal is to hear from state and county experts, scientists and representatives of Suez.

“I will alert the public about the meeting date, time and place as soon as we finalize the details,” Hood said. “Updates will be posted to the Rockland County Legislature’s social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, and news releases will be provided to the media.”

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