New York Drinking Water Quality Council
meeting to recommend PFOA & PFOS drinking water limits of 10 ppt each

December 18, 2018

NY State News Release
NY DWQC website
Webcast of the 18 Dec 2018 meeting

See New York City reaction - story at bottom, below.


Who the New York State Drinking Water Quality Council is:

Howard Zucker, MD, JD, Commissioner, New York Department of State Health (Designee: Brad Hutton, MPH, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Public Health)

Basil Seggos, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Designee: Ken Lynch, Executive Deputy Commissioner)

Roger Sokol, PhD, Director, Division of Environmental Health Protection, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health

Scott J Stoner, MS, Chief, Standards and Water Quality Assessment Section, Division of Water, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Stanley Carey, Massapequa Water District Superintendent, Long Island Water Conference Chairman

Joseph Graziano, PhD, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Professor, Environmental Health Sciences and Pharmacology

Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Darrin Fresh Water Institute Associate Director and Professor

Harold Walker, PhD, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Senate and Assembly appointees are:

Sarah Meyland, JD, Associate Professor, New York Institute of Technology

Steven Schindler, MS, Director, Water Quality: NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Water Supply

Kris Dimmick, PE, PWLF, Professional Engineer, BCA Engineers & Architects

Paul Granger, PE, Superintendent, Port Washington Water District

NEBRA meeting notes (from listening to webcast recording)

· Brad Hutton: “Most sites have PFOA or PFOS predominating” “400 different systems – very few would have an exceedance based on summing PFOA + PFOS rulemaking – Dept. of Health will propose how they will handle when there are exceedences of the combination.”

· Remember that action levels are ½ of the MCL for most contaminants, so water systems will be required to take action at 5 ppt, in practice.

· Costs for testing alone can be significant.

· NELAP certification is moving forward. 22 labs are now certified by NY State for PFOA and PFOS in NY (and 12 labs for 1,4-dioxane)

· Joe Graziano, Columbia: concern about costs impacting water utility customers ($150/person estimate for 1,4-dioxane cleanup); “We should not be under the illusion that a new MCL will benefit private well owners.”

· Relative Source Contribution: Garry Ginsburg said: “70 ppt completely swamps background.” 4 – 10 – 20 ppt levels in drinking water in the background range of our other exposures; NJ used 20% intake from drinking water.

· Joe Graziano: made motion for 10 ppt; not comfortable with higher than 14, which NJ DWQC recommended. Seconded by Scott Stoner.

· Harold Walker: wants to go to 4 ppt… “it will be expensive, yes.” Use of chemicals has affected large number of people… “at the same time, not all those folks are sitting here…. We should consider if there are practical issues that prevent us from going lower to 4.”

· Steve Schindler: don’t know what the costs will be – not enough information… would support additional monitoring… the prior reporting level (UCMR?) was 20 ppt. Going lower means more uncertainty on the impacts.

· Sarah Meyland, NY Inst. of Tech - wants 4 ppt: won’t cost too much…

· NELAP detection limit is 2 ppt. So 4 ppt is untenable, said one guy.

· They are talking numbers and simplicity.

· Brad Hutton: difficult to have as an MCL a number (4 ppt) that is pretty much background. And he had concerns about MCL being so close to detection level.

· Kris Dimmick: Every water consumer will pay the cost and also have added protection. 10 ppt will affect ¼ of the population. “Celebrate that we are protecting a large number of people in our state.”

· VOTE re 10 ppt: yes: 6, no: 8? Motion does not carry.

· Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Darrin Fresh Water Institute Associate Director and Professor – motion for 6 ppt…

· VOTE re 6 ppt: 3 yes, 7 no

· Motion for 14 ppt (with action level of 7). VOTE: 2 yes, many no

· REVOTE for 10 ppt: 8 yes, 2 no - Hal Walker voted against (he really wants lower #) - PFOA

· PFOS – VOTE for 10 ppt: no discussion…. 9 yes, 1 no, 2 abstentions



POLITICO NY Health Care -

by Marie French

December 28, 2-18

ALBANY — New York City has concerns about testing costs and the scientific backing for recommended new limits on toxic chemicals in drinking water.The state is now considering enforceable limits on three toxic chemicals — PFOA, PFOS and 1,4-dioxane — that have been found in drinking water systems across the state. Experts say the chemicals pose a risk to public health. But a city official on a drinking water council tasked with crafting the limits did not support the recommendations, highlighting concerns among water suppliers about how to pay for new testing and treatment requirements and whether additional state funding will be available.

“Every cost that a water supplier incurs that goes to treatment takes away from their ability to do other things with the water supply. Right now, water suppliers are faced with a lot of challenges with aging infrastructure and other issues. Every dollar that’s taken for treatment goes away from those needs,” Steven Schindler, director of water quality for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Water Supply, said at a meeting of the state Drinking Water Quality Council earlier this month. “It’s about balancing public health risk against unintended consequences.”

Schindler abstained from voting on the 10 parts per trillion limits recommended for PFOA, the chemical that sparked a drinking water crisis in Hoosick Falls, and PFOS, which was found in Newburgh. He said during the meeting that water suppliers, including New York City, might not know what the level was below 20 parts per trillion — the reporting level required under EPA testing rules for those chemicals.

Ted Timbers, a spokesperson for the DEP, clarified that New York City has conducted more robust testing with detection abilities “one thousand times lower” than the 20 ppt detection level and found no PFOA or PFOS.

“NYC’s tap water is considered the gold standard of municipal water supplies because of the deliberate steps DEP takes to protect the source of its water and the exhaustive testing done to ensure it’s safe,” Timbers said in a statement. “DEP is confident our water will meet or exceed the regulations recommended by this Council — as our testing confirms.”

Schindler voted against the recommended 1 part per billion limit for 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen found in several systems on Long Island and elsewhere in the state.

“1,4-dioxane is more prevalent in the environment than PFOS/PFOA and as a Council representative of water suppliers, DEP does not believe the scientific data supports the proposed limit that could impact water suppliers across the state,” Timbers said in a statement.

Liz Moran, the environmental policy director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, said the costs to public health must be considered as well.

“There are costs affiliated with exposure. When people get exposed to unhealthy levels of these chemicals, that comes out in medical costs, costs for bottled waters and emotional costs,” she said.

Other officials from water suppliers on the council also questioned the recommended limits. They raised concerns about the cost to water customers and asked what state resources would be available to assist in paying for treatment and testing.

State officials on the council made no commitment to provide additional funding but noted available grant programs and the state’s effort to push for polluters to pay for any clean-ups required.

The estimated capital costs for treating for PFOA and PFOS at the recommended level are $855 million and $45 million annually for all water systems across the state. The department dramatically lowered its estimate for the price of 1,4-dioxane treatment but it will still cost $317 million initially and $46 million annually. Those were based on models and estimates to facilitate discussion, said Department of Health’s Brad Hutton.

“What remains to be seen is what percentage of systems will actually have exceedances and need treatments,” Hutton said. “I think we can still stand by with pride that we have such an enormous commitment initially to funding water systems for emerging contaminants and clean water infrastructure. I think we’ll have to wait and see what the results of testing are.”

The council's recommended limits are subject to review by the health commissioner and must be formalized through the regulatory process before testing will start.

Advocates are already pushing for more state funding for water quality in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s upcoming budget. The 2017 budget included $2.5 billion for emerging contaminants, pipes and treatment infrastructure, lead service line replacement and other water priorities.

“The state is absolutely going to need to prioritize increasing water quality funding this year,” Moran said.