Glass of water
When Bergen Beach Civic Association President Sal Calise received word of a potential problem with the neighborhood’s drinking water back in January (see “Residents Worried About Their Drinking Water,” Canarsie Courier, January 27, 2022), he reached out to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for answers.
The notice Bergen Beach residents received with their January water bill had indicated that the levels of a by-product called Haloacetic Acid, or HAA5, had exceeded the acceptable limit of 0.060 milligrams/liter (mg/L) in a water sample collected in November in zip code 11235. This raised a number of questions and concerns, the most important of which pertained to the safety of public drinking water.
Although DEP had advised residents that the exceedance posed no immediate health risk and that the risk of any adverse health effects from HAA5 was small compared to the risk of illness from drinking inadequately disinfected water, some Bergen Beach residents still had their doubts, having read that studies suggest long-term exposure to haloacetic acids may cause cancer. Many said they would rather drink bottled or filtered water just to be on the safe side.
After a number of unsuccessful attempts to obtain answers through 311 inquiries, Calise composed letters to the head of DEP, the Mayor’s Office and anyone else who might be able to provide additional information. After some digging, Calise discovered that the issue had been remedied and that the most recent sampling, done in February in zip code 11235, indicated the level of HAA5 was acceptable, clocking in at exactly 0.060 mg/L. A notice verifying this information has since been posted on the NYC website and residents may expect to receive them with an upcoming water bill. While this good news may not be enough to assuage the concerns of everyone in Bergen Beach, it has certainly come as a relief to many.