Poughkeepsie, NY— Members of the Dutchess County Legislature’s Environment Committee received an update from Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) Commissioner Dr. Henry Kurban and his staff on the state of county water systems at their July 7th meeting. Dr. Kurban and representatives of DCBH gave the committee an overview of the health risks of lead contamination and the role that their department plays in monitoring and mitigating these issues in a number of areas, including in the public water systems that the county is responsible for.
“We were pleased to hear that our water systems are well taken care of here in Dutchess County” said Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Dale Borchert. “Anyone who has followed the news in recent months knows about the problems involving lead contamination in water, most notably surrounding the crisis in Flint, Michigan. Lead contamination is a public health crisis in many communities in this country. I know that this is an issue that we must be on top of as a county and would like to thank Dr. Kurban and his staff for accepting my invitation to present to us on this matter.”
The DCBH Environmental Health Services Division currently regulates 655 public water supplies in Dutchess County. The larger community supplies, which number around 200 and serve residents, are regulated by the Division’s Engineering section. 439 of the systems are monitored by the Division’s Water Enhancement Program staff. These systems supply water to seasonal residents, commercial facilities, camps, schools, daycares, campgrounds and restaurants that fall under the definition of a public water supply. An additional 13 supplies are inspected by Public Health Sanitarians. Approximately one third of the population of Dutchess County relies on public water.
Of the 655 water supplies that Dutchess County monitors, 653 of them do not currently exceed the Action Level set forth by the New York State Sanitary Code. The Action Level is a threshold at which public water supplies are required to take steps to reduce lead levels and take action to reduce potential health impacts that could develop in the future. The two systems at the Action Level in Dutchess County are very small systems and work has begun to reduce their lead levels.
“Lead levels in water are an important environmental issue and I am pleased that we had an opportunity to learn more” said Environment Committee Chairman John V. Forman. “Some of the larger public water supplies in our county are in Southern Dutchess, including Beacon and Fishkill where I represent. I am very pleased to see that the public water supplies are well taken care of and closely monitored. The integrity of our public water is of the utmost importance and I am confident that we will continue to give this issue the attention it deserves.”