New City, NY (September 4, 2013) – Rockland County Legislator Ed Day (New City-Pomona) has requested a committee discussion concerning several incidents relating to water quality that occurred at United Water New York’s Lake DeForest Treatment Plant at various times during the month of July and the subsequent failure by the utility to provide timely notification to its customers as required by the NYS Sanitary Code.
Water turbidity (cloudiness) levels that exceeded the standard were discovered at varying times between July 10 and July 22 through testing which the utility is required to conduct at four hours intervals throughout the day. The utility states that extreme heat conditions in July interfered with its ability to reduce turbidity which was caused by the increase in water temperature, depleted oxygen levels and increase in the levels of algae and manganese.
While the Rockland County Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Ruppert stated that measurements did not reach levels that represent a public health concern, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth; may indicate the presence of disease causing organisms; and those dynamics can have effects on health, particularly those with compromised immune systems. The Commissioner did issue a violation to the utility for exceeding a surface water turbidity performance standard.
Legislator Day heard from several residents who experienced the cloudy water and were distressed by the late arrival of the notification. “I am interested in learning about the cause of these incidents of turbidity and what steps the utility will take to avoid future incidents of this nature,” said Legislator Day. “I would also like to know why they failed to notify customers within the 30-day period as required by the NYS Sanitary Code, and recall a similar lack of transparency when arsenic was discovered in a number of wells in 2007.” UWNY notified customers in a letter dated August 16, more than 30 days after the initial recorded incident of July 10. “These incidents,” added Day, “are matters of public safety and public trust, especially with the backdrop of a potential desalination plant being put on line. This discussion will give UWNY officials the opportunity to address these matters in front of the public.”
The discussion will be scheduled for an upcoming meeting of the Environmental Committee. All legislature committee meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged. Meetings generally take place in the legislature’s chambers in the Rockland County Office Building, 11 New Hempstead Rd., New City, NY. To obtain information on committee meeting schedules and agendas, please visit www.rocklandgov.com, click on County Legislature and follow link to Committee Agendas or call 845-638-5100.
(Press Release from Ed Day campaing)