Advanced Oxidative Process (AOP) Found to Effectively Remove Unregulated Contaminant 1,4-dioxane from Drinking Water
New Treatment Continues to Leverage Innovative Technologies to Stay Ahead of Emerging Unregulated Contaminants in Drinking Water
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State's Department of Health has conditionally approved New York's first use of a technology known as Advanced Oxidative Process (AOP) to remove 1,4-dioxane from drinking water. This approval was given to the Suffolk County Water Authority to utilize AOP at its Commercial Boulevard well field to remove 1,4-dioxane, a chemical that is relatively widespread in the area's groundwater and is not readily removed by conventional drinking water treatment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to establish a national regulatory standard for 1,4-dioxane despite New York State urging them to do so in February 2017.
"New York is stepping up to protect and preserve drinking water resources in the absence of federal standards," Governor Cuomo said. "We will continue to advance the latest treatment technologies to ensure our public drinking water systems are safeguarded from these unregulated chemicals that threaten the health of New Yorkers and the environment."
With today's conditional approval, the system will enter an enhanced monitoring phase to ensure that the system continues to operate effectively. AOP processes effectively degrade organic contaminants, such as 1,4-dioxane, by producing strong reactive compounds that break the chemical bonds. This type of technology has not been previously used in drinking water treatment in New York State.
The State's approval of new treatment technology to remove 1,4-dioxane will allow New York to stay ahead of emerging water quality issues and will inform the statewide Drinking Water Quality Council, a group of experts charged with recommending maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) to the state in the absence of federal guidance. Once a level is set for 1,4-dioxane, AOP could be used to treat those public water systems in exceedance.
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "As we face more and more legacy drinking water pollution from decades old industry in New York State, the need for innovative treatment technology and standardized levels to protect health continues to grow. This exciting and unique treatment process ensures clean drinking water for the residents on Long Island and has the potential to pave the way for new treatments for drinking water systems statewide."
New York State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "As we continue our comprehensive efforts to track down and cleanup contamination wherever it is found, ensuring we have effective treatment technologies is essential. I commend the Suffolk County Water Authority and our partners in DOH for their strong efforts to develop this new treatment system."
On Long Island, the primary source of 1,4-dioxane pollution occurred from legacy industrial use as a stabilizer for other solvents. EPA has released several different guidance or reference concentrations for 1,4-dioxaneincluding a lifetime drinking water health advisory level of 200 parts per billion.
The new treatment technology complements the state's historic $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, an investment that acknowledges the significant and complex nature of maintaining New York's nearly 10,000 public drinking water systems. This bold investment helps local communities complete drinking water infrastructure construction projects and manage water emergencies, and provides resources needed to investigate and mitigate emerging contaminants to ensure access to cleaner, drinkable water for all New Yorkers.
Additionally, in September 2016 Governor Cuomo awarded $5 million dollars to the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology at SUNY Stony Brook to leverage innovation and promote advances in clean water technology. This work prioritizes the research and advancement of 1,4-dioxane treatment technologies.
For more information about New York's Drinking Water Protection Program, please see: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/.