Lawmakers call on EPA to address Rockland County water contamination
Federal officials say about 300,000 people in Rockland County don't have safe water to drink.
News 12 was told that a number of Suez's public wells were tested and that their PFOA levels exceed the state's maximum level for drinking water - which is 10 parts per trillion.
News 12 was told that the PFOA levels in some of Suez's well water is almost double that - at 19 parts per trillion.
The chemical is used to make materials like fire-fighting foam, food packaging and stain repellents.
According to the CDC, exposure to high levels can lead to cancer, high blood pressure and lessen the effectiveness of vaccines in children.
The problem in Rockland County has captured the attention of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Mondaire Jones.
They're calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step in and determine the source of the contamination and help with cleanup efforts.
Rob Hayes, with Environmental Advocates New York, says PFOA and a number of similar chemicals, including PFAS, are in the water too, making it unsafe for pregnant women and very young children.
"Nobody should have to wonder whether their water coming out of their tap is safe to drink, which is why it is so important for Gov. Cuomo's administration to hold water utilities accountable, to hold the polluters accountable, to make sure Rockland residents are provided safe water as soon as possible," he says.
Suez says it is "now investing in the necessary technology and facility upgrades, which will require swift municipal permitting approvals."
The state lowered the maximum limit for these chemicals this past summer, but Suez says its water levels have not changed - and that its water many times has tested below the federal limit, which is 70 parts per trillion.