News Briefs: New York Proposes Nation's Strictest PFAS Standards

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, Tropical Storm Barry causes sewer system overflows in Alabama

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced $350 million in funding through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grant Program available to municipalities with projects protecting public health or improving water quality.

Cuomo also announced the state has accepted the State Drinking Water Quality Council’s recommendation for greater restrictions on perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and 1,4-dioxane levels in drinking water.

“We’re proposing the most protective levels in the nation for three emerging contaminants to ensure we are regularly testing and fixing water systems before they ever rise to a public health risk in any part of the state,” Cuomo says.

New York’s standard of 10 ppt for the two perfluoronated compounds are the strictest in the United States, while it’s the only state regulating 1,4-dioxane at all with a standard of 1 ppt.

Tropical Storm Barry Brings Sewer System Overflows

Some sewer overflows have been reported on Alabama’s coasts as a result of rains from Tropical Storm Barry.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is reporting more than 180,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled in Baldwin County, while an estimated 125,000 gallons spilled over into D’Olive Creek in Daphne. Spills also were reported in Fairhope and Bay Minette.

State officials are warning residents to avoid going into coastal waterways, adding that seafood caught in those waters should be fully cooked prior to eating.

Meanwhile, Barry has dropped more than a foot of rain over parts of Louisiana, where flash flood concerns persisted at publication time. Recent projections show the Mississippi River is likely to crest around 17 feet, while the levees in New Orleans range from about 20 to 25 feet.

Student Team Wins Grant Funds for Water Treatment Pump

A student team called AguaClara from Cornell University recently was named the recipient of a $15,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity and the Planet program. The team will use the funding to develop a pump that can treat drinking water without electricity.

The students hope the pump will be used in water treatment plants to lower costs. 

The People, Prosperity and the Planet program funds student research into technology to help solve environmental problems. The team will be eligible to compete in a second phase as part of the program for awards up to $100,000.

New Research Facility to Explore Nitrogen Removal Tech

A new research facility in Long Island, New York, will explore the future of nitrogen removal technology. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new pilot plant, called the Water Research and Innovation Facility.

“This facility is designed to bring forth the next generation of nitrogen-reducing and removing biofilters that will be smaller, will be even more effective, and even more widespread,” Chris Gobler tells WHSU Radio. Gobler is with the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology at Stony Brook University. The facility also will study removal possibilities for other emerging contaminants like 1,4-dioxane.


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