Water in Long Island: safe or dangerous?

Jessica Guo, Staff Writer

 Long Island has come under fire after a “review of detections of substances” by the New York Public Interest Research Group revealed that the drinking water on Long Island has the most contaminants of any region in the state. 

New York City is known for having extremely clean tap water while Long Island is known to have its drinking water contain industrial contaminants from spills, wastewater, and personal-care products. The water attainment method is what accounts for this difference. Long Island acquires its drinking water from a local source underground, while New York City gets its water from upstate with surrounding land protecting the reservoirs.

Long Island has some of the nation’s most toxic chemicals in its water, such as the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane. Testing has shown that this chemical is in 70% of the Island’s tap water. 

Even with this evidence, experts insist the water is safe to drink. “If you were to do an honest comparison of the data for the water that Long Islanders drink, you’ll find plenty of suppliers that compare favorably with New York City,” says Gobler, chairman of coastal ecology at Stony Brook University. Also, Dennis Kelleher, a spokeswoman for the Long Island Water Conference says Long Island’s water suppliers work tirelessly to ensure tap water meets state requirements. 

So is poor water quality on Long Island just a myth? 

According to executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment Adrienne Esposito, the legacy of inferior water on Long Island mostly comes from the Island’s industrial past. However, local officials are reporting that the age of local reservoirs is taking its toll on the water it is producing. As the years go by, more and more toxic chemicals seep into the aquifers.

The New York State government is trying to provide funding to replace these aquifers, but for now, residents can use a water filter as a temporary solution.