All State Policies: New York
Below are short descriptions of relevant state agencies/departments by policy topic, followed by more information on specific policies.
Drinking Water: Over 9,000 public water systems provide nearly 95% of New Yorkers with drinking water. The Department of Health’s Drinking Water Protection Program “regulates the operation, design and quality of public water supplies and commercial bottled water suppliers; assures water sources are adequately protected; provides financial assistance to public water suppliers, [and] reviews and approves plans for proposed realty subdivisions.” The DOH implements and enforces the SDWA.
Environmental Justice: New York’s environmental justice policies are regulated and implemented by a number of agencies, with an advisory group and interagency coordinating council providing guidance and consistency across departments. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Environmental Justice works to “address environmental issues and concerns that affect primarily low income and minority communities through grant opportunities, enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, consultation, guidance, and enhance public participation.”
Bolstering CWA Protections
Rule Related to Maximum Contaminant Levels for PFOA, PFOS, 1,4-Dioxane
In 2018, the New York State Drinking Water Quality Council recommended adopting maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOA, PFOS, as well as the nation’s first MCL for 1,4-dioxane to the Department of Health. The recommended MCLs were: 10 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA, 10 ppt for PFOS, and an MCL of 1 part per billion (ppb) for 1,4-dioxane. After facing rulemaking delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the MCLs were adopted in August 2020 by the Public Health and Planning Council. Public water systems must monitor for contaminants, notify health departments and the public of confirmed exceedances, and develop a plan and timeline to bring water systems into compliance. For more information on New York’s efforts to address PFAS contamination, view this informational report provided by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation.
Requires school districts and boards of cooperative educational services to conduct periodic testing to monitor for lead contamination in certain school buildings; provides additional aid to such districts and boards for the costs incurred due to the testing of potable water sources and systems containing an unacceptable amount of lead. Upon finding lead contamination in school drinking water, school districts will continue to conduct testing, provide safe potable water, and provide parents and guardians of students with notification of test results.
Signed into law on 12/23/2019
Amended the Environmental Conservation law to include a new article related to environmental justice. It established definitions of key terms, including “environmental justice,” “fair treatment,” and “meaningful involvement” and established a permanent environmental justice advisory group and an environmental justice interagency coordinating council. The law requires all state agencies that have a significant effect on the environment to adopt an environmental justice policy based on a model policy developed by advisory group. Each state agency must appoint a staff member as an environmental justice coordinator to serve as a liaison to the EJ advisory council and to communicate with the public.
The law noted that the development of the model policy and the establishment of the EJ advisory group should be done by January 2021 – but as of May 2022, neither appear to exist yet.