WENY News - Firm alleges drinking water is contaminated; NYSDEC refutes clai

Firm alleges drinking water is contaminated; NYSDEC refutes claims

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ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Toxics Targeting President, Walter Hang, is claiming New York State knew about the contamination at Ithaca Falls and failed to clean up the area.

"It's like so many other problems," said Hang. "They know that the water is impaired. They simply haven't cleaned it up. It's endless delay."

Hang says the lead contamination, as well as excessive phosphorous, harmful algal blooms, and others contaminates have made its way from the falls and into Cayuga lake. Threatening the drinking water to more than 30,000 people.

"This is just an intolerable situation," said Hang. "It's inexplicable why the state of New York knew about these problems and never cleaned them up. We're fourteen years behind schedule on adopting a total maximum daily load.  We're telling the Governor, delay is unacceptable. You've got to clean up these problems."

According to the New York State Department of Health, the public water systems that use Cayuga Lake as a source of drinking water are routinely monitored to ensure they meet drinking water standards. As for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Assistant Commissioner of Public Affairs, Sean Mahar, he's not buying into Hang's Claims. 

"Today's Walter Hang circus was an unfortunate attempt to mislead residents regarding the state's actions and commitments to ensure the public is protected," said Mahar. "At the Ithaca Gun site, DEC proactively sampled, discovered the contamination, and called in EPA to take immediate actions and commence a full investigation and cleanup of the gorge area.  This aggressive approach extends to the multiagency $65 million commitment to battling Harmful Algal Bloom in Cayuga Lake and around the state to protect water quality at all times.  Any assertions that the state is not acting to address these issues is just plain false and irresponsible and the state's credible experts will continue to work on a daily basis to ensure these areas are restored and public health is protected."

Mahar says the state has been working with multiple state agencies to improve and protect water quality at all costs. 

"Any assertion that the state is not acting to address these issues is just plain false and irresponsible," said Mahar. "The state's credible experts will continue to work on a daily basis to ensure these areas are restored and the public's health is protected."

Just last week, the city of Ithaca announced the Environmental Protection Agency will be collecting additional soil samples to further monitor elevated lead levels in the area of Ithaca Falls.

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