Hempstead Town plans to sue companies over water contamination

Posted: Updated:

The Town of Hempstead is planning to sue companies that contaminate drinking water.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen says emerging contaminants threaten the quality of drinking water all across Long Island. She announced Wednesday that the town is planning to file legal action against major companies that she and environmental experts say are to blame for contaminating public drinking water.

Gillen says that while the town's drinking water quality meets all state and federal guidelines, it is still being polluted by emerging contaminants found in everyday household products, such as PFOA or 1,4-dioxane -- which the Environmental Protection Agency says are "likely carcinogens." She called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday to sign a bill into law that would make it easier for municipalities to successfully sue major polluters.

Currently, an entity must sue the polluter within three years of contamination.

Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, says big companies like Proctor and Gamble and Lysol are fighting the bill in Albany.

Gillen and activists say many emerging contaminants have been entering the water supply since the 1940s.

Gillen says she's putting forth a resolution that will be voted on next Tuesday. It would allow the town board to hire outside legal counsel as they pursue the lawsuits.

A spokesperson for Cuomo says he "is taking aggressive action to ensure every community has safe drinking water and polluters pay the price when they are found responsible. As for this legislation, we'll review it."

Read more:
Lawmakers approve ban on possible contaminant 1,4-dioxane
Officials call on EPA to enact strict standards for water contaminants
Report: Long Island has most contaminated water in NY

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