New York Proposes Drinking Water Limits for PFAS

July 11, 2019

State plans to set limits for PFOA & PFOS in drinking water

New York state has set the lowest limit in the U.S. for PFAS in drinking water. 

According to AP, the state’s health department plans said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker accepted the New York State Drinking Water Quality Council’s recommendations of 10 ppt for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in drinking water Monday, July 8. The health department also plans to set a limit of 1 ppb for 1.4-dioxane, a chemical used in solvents, greases, and waxes.

"We're proposing the most protective levels in the nation for three emerging contaminants to ensure we are regularly testing and fixing water systems before they ever rise to a public health risk in any part of the state," said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to Newsday

According to Newsday, this is the first time in two decades that new contaminants will be regulated in New York. The U.S. EPA guidance level for these substances is 70 ppt. According to AP, millions of dollars were spent to remove the chemicals from water in multiple communities across the state.

Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker recommended the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) follow limits placed in December by a panel of health experts, state officials and drinking water providers. The PFAS substances have been found in drinking water supplies in Montauk, N.Y., and Hoosick Falls, N.Y.

According to Newsday, water providers warn costs for treatment may double current water rates and top $1.5 billion. These costs include an estimated $840 million for 1,4-dioxane treatment. 1,4-dioxane is difficult and expensive to treat, according to Newsday.