Amid Cancer Concerns, Long Island Considers Getting Water From NYC

WCBS 880 Newsroom
October 19, 2019 - 4:31 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The water supply on Long Island could soon contain harmful chemicals and it would cost a lot of money to clean them out. So there’s a new idea being proposed: shipping water in from New York City.

For years, Long Island has gotten its water from underground aquifers hundreds of feet below the surface. But there are new concerns about emerging contaminants in the water, according to Newsday.

Now state and local officials want to “explore the feasibility” of sending water from New York City to residents of western Nassau County.  

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, of Long Beach, says there are three emerging cancer-causing chemicals in the underground water used for the current supply.

“We have found a number of toxins in it from having industry many decades ago that are very concerning,” Kaminsky, a Democrat, said.

It could cost a $1.5 billion to clean the contaminants out of the water—double or tripling rates.

Kaminsky is helping spearhead the idea of tapping upstate watersheds for Long Island’s supply. He wrote a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker last week.

“New York City water may be a solution, but a study is required to determine if this is possible or prudent,” Kaminsky wrote in part.

The city's water department says it has enough water to share, but there are a lot of hurdles to overcome, like the cost of wider water pipes between Queens and Nassau County. There’s also the question of who would control the flow of the water.

“New York City says they want to be involved. I think instead of everybody being territorial, we should figure out what the best way to get Long Islanders clean water at a cheap price would be, and I’m interested in studying this,” Kaminsky said.