In the wake of a sudden lawsuit by the Environmental Protection Agency last week against Westchester County regarding a delay in providing protections in a supply line serving Water District 1, of which White Plains is a part, the City of White Plains released the following statement.
The lawsuit regards a stipulation by the EPA that ultraviolet filters be placed to protect against the parasite Cryptosporidium that might be found in drinking water supplies. To date no gastrointestinal disease caused by the parasite has been reported in Westchester County and the water supply is considered safe to drink.
Statement from the Mayor’s Office, White Plains:
Westchester County is in the process of determining the approach for compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act Long Term 2 Enhanced Water Treatment Rule (LT2EWTR) for County Water District #1, which includes the municipalities of Mount Vernon, Scarsdale, White Plains and Yonkers. The LT2WTR requires that public water systems install equipment to ensure against water borne diseases. This new equipment involves construction and placement of an ultraviolet (UV) treatment plant that further protects against parasites, namely Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
Drinking water is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Health and the Westchester County Department of Health. These agencies have not given the municipalities in County Water District #1 any indication that the water is unsafe to drink.
Again, it is important to remember, as this issue continues to be discussed between Westchester County, the US EPA and US Attorney, that there has been no change in the water supply and no indication that it is unsafe to drink.
In a similar announcement, Caren Halbfinger, spokesperson for the Westchester County Department of Health issued this statement:
About two thirds of the 300,000 customers who live in District 1 already receive water that is in compliance with this regulation, and the county is working on a solution to bring the water that goes to the northern part of the district into compliance for the remaining one-third of the district.
The water in District One is safe to drink.
The same water that District One draws from, in the Kensico Reservoir, is sampled weekly by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and no elevated levels of cryptosporidium have ever been found that would trigger a public health advisory.
Further, the health department would know if water was causing any illnesses in Westchester, and it has not. Cases of cryptosporidiosis, the illness this bacteria can cause, are reportable to the county health department and there have been no cases attributed to the water supply.