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Members Of Congress Demanding Federal Government Make Sure Drinking Water On Long Island Is Safe

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- They are calling it a water crisis.

Long Island's Congressional delegation is putting a full-court press on the federal government to move faster setting standards and funding to help clean up water in local communities, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Tuesday.

The Gerulas raised their family in their East Meadow home drinking tap water. That is, until now.

"I use it to cook, so it gets boiled and we use Poland Spring. I purchase water that we drink," Regina Gerulas said.

Drinking Water
Faucet (credit: CBS2)

"There's a lot of landscapers and fertilizers. You see them constantly putting it down," Steven Gerula added.

The Gerulas and their neighbors were startled by the New York Public Interest Research Group study that says drinking water on Long Island has by far the most emerging contaminants of any region in the state -- possibly cancer-causing.

"This is a serious public health crisis and we need the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, to act with the urgency that this situation requires," Rep. Kathleen Rice said.

MOREActing Head Of EPA Pressured To Look Into Threats Against Long Island Drinking Water

A bipartisan group of Long Island elected officials penned a letter to the EPA chief imploring the government for more financial and technical support.

But so far, they have not received a direct reply.

"Basically, everything is under study, needs to be looked at," Rep. Peter King said. "That's not good enough. We have these emerging contaminants."

Web Extra: Long Island Lawmakers Discuss Water Contamination: 

Contaminants that weren't detected until now from Long Island's military manufacturing, industrial, agricultural legacy, spills, wastewater and detergents, among others.

FLASHBACK: Study: Long Island Drinking Water Quality Getting Progressively Worse

New York City gets its water from upstate and acquired land surrounding the reservoirs, protecting the supply. But the drinking water on Long Island comes locally from below ground.

The consortium of water suppliers has reassured the public that Long Island tap water is 100 percent safe.

"On Long Island, we test more than other places. We come up innovative treatment solutions and we go after the polluters," said Tyrand Fuller, chairman of the Long Island Water Conference.

"We have a crisis and a crisis deserves action and it deserves funding,' said Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Advocates want standards strengthened, mandated testing of private wells and chemicals like 1,4 dioxane, PFOA and PFOS banned until proven safe.

New York water suppliers anticipate it will cost $1.5 billion to clean the systems of chemicals.


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