NYS Awards $27MM to 9 Long Island Communities to Battle Emerging Water Contaminant


Funds will go to upgrade water treatment to remove 1,4-dioxane.

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The chemical 1,4-dioxane is a solvent used to manufacture other chemicals and can be found in trace amounts in cosmetics, detergents, and shampoos. New York State recently set the nation's first-ever maximum exposure concentration level for 1,4-dioxane at 1 part per billion.


Governor Andrew Cuomo called the new minimum standards “the most protective levels in the nation… 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."


According to a statement released by the governor's office the EPA does not have guidance on 1,4-dioxane but chemical is classified as a ‘likely carcinogen’ by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.


At the same time, New York State put aside $27 million in grants to support nine Long Island projects that will remove emerging contaminants from drinking water. 


"This process to tackle the serious issue of contaminants will address health needs to enhance and protect water quality,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.


The following communities each received $3 million to upgrade treatment systems:

  • Franklin Square Water District (Nassau County): Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) and 1,4-dioxane treatment; 
  • Greenlawn Water District (Nassau County): 1,4-dioxane treatment; 
  • Town of Hempstead (Nassau County): East Meadow Water District 1,4-dioxane treatment;
  • Town of Huntington (Suffolk County): 1,4-dioxane treatment;
  • Manhasset-Lakeville Water District (Nassau County): 1,4-dioxane treatment;
  • Oyster Bay Water District (Suffolk County): 1,4-dioxane treatment;
  • Port Washington Water District (Nassau County): 1,4-dioxane and PFOA treatment;
  • South Farmingdale Water District (Nassau County): 1,4-dioxane treatment; and
  • West Hempstead Water District (Nassau County): 1,4-dioxane treatment.

The grants will fund up to 60 percent of each project's cost. These projects are expected to support local jobs in construction, supplier, and service sectors. 


Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen announced the $3 million to upgrade that municipality’s drinking water treatment systems at its East Meadow water district facility on Thursday.


A statement said that the grant will be used by the Town to begin construction of an Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) system, utilizing ultraviolet light, for the removal of trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane present in Town wells.


AOP is already being utilized by the Suffolk County Water Authority. 


Sample analysis results within the Town’s East Meadow Water District shows 1,4-dioxane is present at varying concentrations. The Town’s East Meadow Water District services approximately 40,000 people. Aside from residences, the District is also home to several schools, as well as Nassau University Medical Center and Eisenhower Park.


“Clean, safe drinking water is a basic human right, which is why the Town is aggressively pursuing every option available to ensure our drinking water conforms to the most stringent standards in the nation,” said Supervisor Laura Gillen.


Hempstead will soon begin soliciting bid proposals for the construction of treatment systems.


Supervisor Gillen had also introduced a resolution last month to hire legal counsel in order to hold chemical manufacturers responsible for further drinking water remediation costs


New York State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in  a statement that lack of Federal leadership on the issue forced the state had to take the lead on addressing the contaminant.