In December, the New York Drinking Water Quality Council (DWQC) recommended that the state’s Department of Health (DOH) adopt the nation’s most stringent drinking water standards relating to PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4 dioxane, three high-profile emerging contaminants. DWQC proposed maximum contaminant levels of 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS, and 1 part per billion for 1,4 dioxane. The proposed limits are seven times lower than U.S. EPA’s lifetime health advisory of 70 ppt for the two PFAS compounds, and New York would be the first to set drinking water regulations for 1,4 dioxane.
Emerging contaminants have been a major focus for DOH and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) following high-profile drinking water contamination crises in Hoosick Falls, Newburgh, and Long Island. DEC now requires review and/or testing of groundwater at current and past remedial sites to analyze for PFAS and 1,4 dioxane. The agency has also indicated that it intends to develop groundwater contamination limits and will require soil sampling during the groundwater investigation process of new sites added to remedial programs, such as those under the brownfield cleanup and superfund programs.