Assembly Task Force to Address Water Quality Issues

The Assembly Minority Conference announced the launch of its Task Force on Water Quality in response to concerns about the cleanliness of the state’s water sources. The task force was created in response to the challenges facing New York’s public water supply systems, including how best to develop long-term, sustainable solutions to protect the state’s water sources, address sewage problems and prioritize and fix aging water infrastructure.

The task force will conduct several regional forums aimed at collecting input from stakeholders, including environmental experts, municipal representatives and community members.

“We have seen the devastation water quality issues can impose upon a community, and we must take those repercussions very seriously. Our Task Force on Water Quality is an important step toward ensuring New Yorkers never have to fear giving their families a cup of water, taking a swim at a local lake or becoming exposed to toxic pollutants simply by going about their business,” said Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua). “We must address any concerns related to water quality now, before little problems fester and manageable issues become problematic.”

The goal of the task force will be to identify which municipalities and water districts are in need of funding for improvement projects and the extent to which emerging contaminants and other pollutants have infiltrated, and potentially impacted, the state’s water supply—for example, rivers, reservoirs and aquifers. It also aims to generate new, stricter water management standards to ensure the health and safety of New York’s residents.

“Water is an elemental building block of our society and its purity must be a given. There is absolutely no excuse for letting this critical part of our day-to-day lives succumb to inhibitive pollution,” said Task Force Co-Chairman Assemblyman Dan Stec (R,C,I-Queensbury). “Our task force will directly address the concerns of New Yorkers who have, for too long, questioned the cleanliness of their drinking water. Like all problems, the sooner you address them the more cost effective they are to mitigate. That is what we must do here.”

“Across the state, New Yorkers are faced with dilapidated water and sewer infrastructure leading to an increase in failing community water systems,” said Task Force Co-Chairman Assemblyman Mike LiPetri (R-Massapequa). “With a number of water districts and communities struggling to make repairs and upgrades due to budgetary constraints, more and more residents could experience sudden interruptions in water capacity, limited supplies of potable and drinking water and toxins being delivered through taps. It is our job to ask questions, listen and help identify solutions to these public health issues.”

“Statewide, preventing the introduction of pollution is the simplest way to help ensure the quality and sustainability of our water sources for our future generations,” said Ty Fuller, Chairman of the Long Island Water Conference. “Specifically, the water Long Islanders receive comes from directly beneath their feet. While this is an unbelievably convenient and valuable situation, it also means that whatever pollution we create on the surface can find its way into our only source of water. Understanding how our actions on the surface, and the substances we and our local businesses use in day-to-day activities, impact our water quality is of vital importance.”

Once the forums are concluded, a report including a summary of findings and targeted solutions will be generated and brought to the Legislature. The regional forums have been scheduled as follows:

* The Central New York Regional Forum will be held the evening of Thursday, October 24;

* The Capital Regional Forum will be held the evening of Tuesday, October 29;

* The Hudson Valley Forum will be held the evening of Wednesday, October 30;

* The Suffolk County, Long Island Forum will be held the evening of Monday, November 18;

* The Nassau County, Long Island Forum will be held the evening of Tuesday, November 19; and

* The New York City, Staten Island Forum will be held the evening of Wednesday, November 20.

Additional details will be provided in the near future. For more information about the task force, contact the Assembly Minority Office of Public Affairs at 518-455-5073.

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