New York Announces Statewide Water Quality Initiatives

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New York Announces Statewide Water Quality Initiatives

New York State Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, recently announced a series of water quality initiatives to protect public health and the environment. Key among these is the creation of a Statewide Water Quality Rapid Response Team to strengthen New York’s existing programs, review currently regulated contaminants, and address emerging (unregulated) contaminants.

What is the New York Statewide Water Quality Rapid Response Team?

In the past year, two towns in upstate New York (Hoosick Falls and Petersburg) have reported elevated levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in their drinking water. In response to political pressure associated with this and other drinking water-related concerns that have gained national attention (i.e., elevated concentrations of lead in Flint Michigan’s water system); the New York’s Statewide Water Quality Rapid Response Team has been established to address drinking water, groundwater, and surface water contamination issues across the state.

How Could This Affect your Organization?

As part of this program, the state is expected to strengthen the existing drinking water, groundwater, and surface water protection programs; revise existing standards; and develop new standards for currently unregulated contaminants such as PFOA. As a result, additional environmental testing may be required for both regulated and currently unregulated contaminants; especially for sites near potable water sources. Furthermore, there is the possibility that sites, including operating Facilities in close proximity to impacted drinking water supplies, may be placed on the New York State Superfund list, creating significant legal and environmental issues for operational facilitates.

The Statewide Water Quality Rapid Response initiative has the potential to identify previously undiscovered groundwater impacts or to reopen previously closed projects.

What Can EHS Support do to Help?

EHS Support has experience with evaluating and addressing emerging contaminants, including per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) (i.e., PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonate [PFOS]) through risk-based solutions and engineering controls. Emerging contaminates are constituents that have not yet been regulated. In many cases, these constituents do not have approved laboratory testing methods, and therefore, were not typically tested for at historical remediation sites.

We understand the risks this poses to manufacturing, chemical and petroleum operations in New York. If you have industrial operations in New York, we can assist with a proactive review of your risks and ensure you are prepared for the changes that are likely to be driven from this new initiative.

EHS Support also has significant experience working within the New York State Superfund Program. We have worked with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) staff at all levels in response to NYSDEC demand notices, implementing investigation and remediation efforts, and spearheading Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) resolution. Do not hesitate to let us know if you would like to discuss these Water Quality Initiatives in greater detail. Our team of dedicated and energetic individuals are always willing and able to assist.

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