The home to one of the world’s greatest aquifer systems, Long Island’s water has come under great scrutiny in recent years due to emerging contaminants. As stewards of the water served to over 620,000 people, the Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioner’s Association (NSWCA) member water districts have long been out front in the fight to safeguard Long Island’s water supply and sole source aquifer.
These emerging contaminants, sometimes referred to as ‘forever chemicals’, are in large part a pervasive legacy from Long Island’s industrial past, including WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Space Race that resulted in the United States becoming the first nation to put a man on the moon. Other emerging contaminants are byproducts of everyday household products such as non-stick kitchenware, food packaging and detergents, even paints, cleaning products and water-resistant clothing.
The presence of such contaminants is not limited to Long Island, this is a nationwide concern. New York State’s aggressive stance on emerging contaminants and definitive corrective actions began with the implementation of some of the country’s strictest regulations, and progress is being made.
NSWCA President Patricia Peterson stated, “Each of the NSWCA’s 21 member districts has different situations and different needs, but all emerging contaminants are being addressed with proper engineering, technology and filtration treatment systems. The single most significant fact for the public to understand is that all the water that goes into the distribution systems of all of our 21 NSWCA member districts meets or exceeds all local, New York State and federal MCL regulations, all of the time.”
The NSWCA member districts have been proactively involved in rectifying the problems even prior to the New York State mandates, standards and regulations. Given the advances in technology and the impetus from Albany, NSWCA member districts have constructed some of the most advanced water treatment systems in the country to ensure a plentiful supply of potable water.
“For example,” President Peterson commented, “Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) systems have been successfully designed, constructed and installed to remove 1,4-dioxane, and Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration has proven to be the most effective means of removing PFOS and PFOA substances. Even with the presence of forever chemicals, it is far from a hopeless situation and much more of a hopeful situation. The science and technologies of today, as deployed by our 21 NSWCA member water districts, have proven to be effective remedies to yesterday’s legacies and they ensure the purity, potability and compliance of the water of tomorrow. Our commitment to safeguarding the future is unwavering.”