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Drinking Water Quality Council to meet for first time

A well pump at the Hicksville Water District's

A well pump at the Hicksville Water District's pump station, seen on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016, has been taken offline since the contaminant 1,4-dioxane was discovered in the well water. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The new state Drinking Water Quality Council will hold its first public meeting Oct. 2 in Stony Brook and chief among its tasks is examining the probable carcinogen 1,4-dioxane and making recommendations to the health commissioner as to safe levels in drinking water.

The man-made chemical is not regulated federally but has been found in trace amounts throughout Long Island’s groundwater supply.

Results of a national survey of drinking water supplies released last year showed that the highest detection in the nation of 1,4-dioxane was found in a Hicksville Water District well, which was subsequently taken offline.

And of those districts tested on Long Island, 71 percent detected levels of the chemical that posed a 1-in-a-million cancer risk after prolonged exposure, compared with nearly 7 percent nationwide.

The council will also focus on Perfluorooctanoic acid and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, compounds which are commonly used in firefighting foams and consumer products like nonstick pans, food packaging and carpeting.

Contamination from these perfluorinated compounds prompted the state to add Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach and the Suffolk County fire training academy in Yaphank to the state Superfund list.

The council was included in the state’s $163 billion budget that passed in April and health officials said an initial public meeting would be held in June but that was delayed as council members were selected and vetted.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be at 10 a.m. in the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University, 100 Nicolls Rd.

The council members are:

n State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. Office of Public Health Deputy Commissioner Brad Hutton will fill in when Zucker’s schedule does not allow.

n State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. Executive Deputy Commissioner Ken Lynch will fill in as needed.

n Roger Sokol, state health director of the Division of Environmental Health Protection, Center for Environmental Health.

n Scott Stoner, DEC’s chief of standards and Water Quality Assessment Section in the Division of Water.

n Stanley J. Carey, Massapequa Water District superintendent and Long Island Water Conference chairman.

n Joseph H. Graziano, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health professor of environmental health sciences and pharmacology

n Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, professor and associate director of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute

n Harold Walker, co-director of Stony Brook University’s Center for Clean Water Technology and a civil engineering professor

n Sarah Jocelyn Meyland, associate professor at New York Institute of Technology.

n Steven Schindler, director of water quality in the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Water Supply.

n Kris Dimmick, a professional engineer at BCA Engineers & Architects in Watertown.

n Paul Granger, superintendent of the Port Washington Water District.

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