Rosemary McGuiness Sibilla said she has nightmares about the long-term effects of the “rusty, brown and chlorine-scented water” that comes out of the pipes in her Valley Stream home. Lorrie Sand said her dishwasher racks have been rusted out from the corrosive water, and Ann Massa–Garofalo said the water stained her sinks, toilet bowl and clothes.
Residents have been expressing these complaints for several years now, they said in response to a Herald social media inquiry, and some said they have learned to adapt. Massa-Garofalo, for example, said she has to buy bottled water for her family to drink from and cook with. “[It’s] not acceptable,” she said.
But New York American Water officials say the water is safe to drink, and that the utility is “in no violation of any water quality standards.” Still, President Lynda DiMenna said that she understands that the discolored water is unacceptable, and that the utility is working to improve its water quality.
“Water quality is really at the forefront of everything we do,” she said.
According to DiMenna, the utility is currently working with the Nassau County Department of Health to conduct a water quality study. As part of the study, the utility has been collecting and testing water samples from areas with brown water, including Valley Stream. The results of the test would help the utility determine whether it needs to update its water filtration system, and whether the utility should use a different chemical to address water main corrosion. DiMenna said she should have the results of the study within the next five weeks.
Additionally, she said, the utility has replaced 190,000 feet of ageing water mains in the Lynbrook Service District between 2014 and 2018, including 28,300 feet of water mains in Valley Stream. That would help clarify water, DiMenna said, because the older water mains become rusted and may carry sediments into residents’ water systems.
NYAW also constructed a new iron removal plant on North Terrace Place, which is scheduled to come online in March. And to further remove sediments that have built up in water mains, the utility will begin flushing Valley Stream’s water mains on May 13.