WPCNR WATER NEWS. By John F. Bailey. August 7, 2013:
White Plains and Scarsdale tap water is safe to drink.
Westchester County was notifying doctors and interested parties today who called the county asking whether White Plains and Scarsdale drinking water was safe to consume after it was reported the county was sued in federal court over a delay in implementing an EPA regulation.
David Simpson, a spokesman for the Department of Communications told WPCNR Thursday “Yes, the water is safe for drinking and any other use and the EPA agrees. No agency has disputed that. “
Simpson also said the County Health Department said there has never been a case of gastrointestinal disease caused by the parasite the EPA wants the county to install advanced treatment procedures to eliminate in supplying White Plains and Scarsdale.
Concerns had been raised by the filing of a lawsuit yesterday in Southern District Court by the Environmental Protection Agency in federal court for the county failure to install ultraviolet water treatment equipment to kill the parasite, Cryptosporidium found in the drinking supply for White Plains (according to the White Plains city water report of 2012).
Not One Case.
Simpson said the gastrointestinal disease caused by Cryptospridium is a reportable disease which hospitals and doctors must report.
Simpson said the Westchester County Health Department has never had one case diagnosed caused by this parasite ever reported. Nationally in 2010, only 8,000 cases were reported nationwide, he said
Health Department confirms:
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.
Not a word from EPA on the County “Delay” Until Yesterday.
Simpson added that in 2006, a law was passed by congress requiring water to be treated for this parasite. The county had, he said until April 2012 to install the ultraviolet treatment in the District 1 towns (Mount Vernon, Scarsdale, White Plains, Yonkers.
The county piped water from the Kensico reservoir to Mount Vernon and Yonkers, but decided that it would cost $100 Million to run a pipe up to the Mount Pleasant reservoir to make the fix for White Plains and Scarsdale.
Simpson said the county informed the EPA in 2011 they could not meet the April 2012 deadline, and had not heard from the EPA since, while they explored a less expensive solution.
Simpson said the EPA had not given any indication before the suit was filed in Southern District Court yesterday that they were in any disagreement with the delay and the county search for a less expensive solution. “It (the suit) came as a complete surprise to us.” Simpson said.
Asked if this was a systemic communication proplem between the EPA and the Justice Department, Simpson said WPCNR should speak to the EPA about that.
The county, Simpson said, was not pausing in their attempt to fix the problem with the $5 Million fix running a pipe up from the Kensico reservoir.
Simpson said design work had been done to run a spur of pipe off the Delaware acqueduct from the Kensico reservoir and the request for the $5 Million bond issue has been with the Board of Legislators for their approval since April.
The Mayor’s Office and the Commissioner of Public Works was contacted by WPCNR as to the issue of whether White Plains water was safe to drink, but neither has returned WP