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Suffolk County Water Authority gets extra time to meet state standards

Running water out of a faucet on Oct.

Running water out of a faucet on Oct. 15, 2019. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

The Smithtown and St. James water districts notified about 8,800 customers this week that their water supplier had received extra time to meet New York State standards adopted last year.

The standards are for PFOS, PFOA and 1,4-dioxane, substances that are likely carcinogens and are found in minuscule amounts of water supplied to the districts by the Suffolk County Water Authority, the authority said.

The Suffolk water authority has until August 2022 to meet state standards. The water districts began adding a $20 surcharge to bills in January to offset the costs of remediation.

All water going to St. James and Smithtown district customers meets the state standards, said Tim Motz, a Suffolk Water Authority spokesman. Chris Nustad, superintendent of the districts, said in an interview that "the water is perfectly fine to drink and good for all uses."

The deferral announced in a letter to the districts last week means that state health authorities will hold off enforcement while the county water authority implements corrective action to reduce the contaminant levels. Those substances are measured in parts per billion or trillion. One part per trillion is the equivalent of a single drop of food coloring in 18 million gallons of water.

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