Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen was joined by Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment Adrienne Esposito to call on Governor Cuomo to sign a bill that makes it easier for the Town, along with other local municipalities and water providers, to successfully sue polluters for the cleanup costs of recently discovered emerging drinking water contamination. Hempstead Town is voting to pursue legal action against the polluters, but will require state action to ensure its success in court.

The Town of Hempstead Water District has the highest reported level of PFOA contamination in the entire state and has tested positive for 1, 4 – dioxane. These emerging contaminants, used in many household products such as cosmetics, detergents, and shampoos, as well as industrial solvents used to produce nonstick cookware like Telfon, are both classified as ‘likely carcinogens’ by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Currently, chemical manufacturing companies have been successfully evading responsibility for helping clean up contamination by taking advantage of a loophole in state law that requires water providers to file lawsuits within three years after polluting has occurred. The recently passed state law, which now requires the Governor’s signature, closes that loophole so water providers can successfully sue to recoup clean-up costs even after the polluting occurred.

Over 120,000 people are served by the Town’s Water Department and officials estimate that the full cost of building new water treatment facilities to filter out these emerging contaminants will cost at least $50 million. 

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