To protect citizens’ health, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) since 1974 has set national safety standards for drinking water.
As the nation’s largest publicly traded water service providers, American Water takes that responsibility very seriously. In addition to working closely with the USEPA and state authorities to ensure that the water we provide customers meets federal and state safety standards, our researchers help the USEPA develop its standards and regulations.
We consistently score among the highest of all water companies when it comes to complying with strict federal regulations for delivering clean, quality drinking water with a current score of greater than 99% for drinking water compliance.
Additionally, over the past several years, and all over the country, we’ve received more than 150 awards for superior water quality from state regulators, industry organizations, individual communities, and government and environmental agencies.
New York American Water also works cooperatively with federal and state regulators to support the development of new drinking water regulations that will benefit our customers.
What are emerging compounds?
1,4-Dioxane is a synthetic industrial chemical that is present in many goods, including paint strippers, dyes, greases, antifreeze and aircraft deicing fluids, and in some consumer products such as deodorants, shampoos and cosmetics.
PFOA/PFOS are Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are a group of man-made chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFAS can be found in:
- Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
- Commercial household products, including stain- and water-repellent fabrics (ex: Scotchgard), nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).
- Production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.
Today’s Drinking Water Standards
Currently, the US Environmental Protection Agency has established guidance for the presence of PFOA/PFOS in drinking water. The EPA has established a non-enforceable health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for the sum of PFOA and PFOS.
No federal maximum contaminant level (MCL) for 1,4-Dioxane drinking water has been established.
New York American Water meets all current federal, state and local drinking water standards. Our Annual Water Quality Reports demonstrate this and are available to customers online at www.nyamwater.com/water-quality/water-quality-reports.
New York State’s Proposed Regulation of Emerging Compounds
The New York State Department of Health has indicated that New York State is looking to establish formal regulations for PFOA/PFOS and 1,4-Dioxane in drinking water. In anticipation of these proposed regulations, New York American Water is acting proactively to identify the presence of these emerging compounds in our water supply, and design, permit and construct the appropriate treatment where needed.
New York American Water routinely samples all our water sources for compounds regulated by federal, state and local regulations. Our sampling process has expanded to capture the emerging compounds PFOA/PFOS and 1,4-Dioxane, in recognition of the New York State Department of Health proposed regulations.
Of the 55 sites that supply water across New York American Water's service areas in Long Island and upstate New York, four sites have detection of emerging compounds above the proposed Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). These sites are as follows:
- Plant #16 in Roosevelt, NY showed detection of 1,4-Dioxane above the proposed MCL of 1.0 part per billion. This plant was taken offline in October 2019 and is not producing water.
- Seamans Neck Well Station in Levittown, NY showed detection of 1,4-Dioxane above the proposed MCL of 1.0 part per billion. New York American Water is pursuing the appropriate treatment for this site.
- Glen Head Well in Glen Head, NY showed detection of PFOS above the proposed MCL of 10.0 parts per trillion. New York American Water is pursuing the appropriate treatment for this site. Learn more.
- The Dykeer system that serves The Willows community in Somers, NY showed detection of PFOA/PFOS above the proposed MCL of 10.0 parts per trillion. New York American Water is pursuing the appropriate treatment for this site.
New York American Water is developing mitigation measures, including the development of active treatment technology, in response to the proposed regulations for PFAS and 1,4-Dioxane. In the event the regulations are adopted, we will leverage our extensive industry experience and our resilient water supply system and meet our water supply obligations for potable water and fire suppression service.
Here is a map of the approximate locations of the three sites on Long Island that have detection of emerging compounds.
Click here to view announcements from the New York State Governor on regulation of emerging compounds in drinking water and consumer products.