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Water Fully Cleared for Drinking at NYCHA's Jacob Riis Houses After Last Batch of Tests Come Back Negative for Contaminants

September 10, 2022

Water at Riis Houses Already Cleared Safe from Arsenic

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today released the following statement after test results came in clearing the water for drinking at the Jacob Riis Houses in Manhattan:

“I know the last eight days have been unbearable for the residents of Jacob Riis Houses, but, this morning, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reviewed the final test results for contaminants and found the water to be well within EPA drinking water quality standards. We can confidently say the water at Riis Houses is and has been free of any discernible amount of arsenic since the initial tests were initiated in August and meets EPA standards. I would not ask the residents of Riis Houses to do anything I wouldn’t do, which is why I have already stopped by Riis Houses and drank the water myself.

“While having the basic need of drinking water is welcome news, it is the bare minimum. It is unacceptable that Environmental Monitoring and Technologies introduced arsenic into the samples that not only led to the false results, but to fear, turmoil, and massive inconvenience.

“As we stated yesterday, NYCHA nor any other city agency will test water through Environmental Monitoring and Technologies any longer, and the city intends to pursue all available legal options on behalf of the residents of Riis Houses and will look for how we can reimburse residents for costs incurred over the last week.

“In regard to the Legionella bacteria reported earlier this week, we suspect these results are inaccurate. As public health experts have noted, Legionnaires Disease cannot be contracted by drinking water. Additionally, we are actively reviewing our Legionella surveillance data, and have found no reported or confirmed cases of Legionnaires Disease at Riis Houses over the last 12 months.

“We will continue to be transparent about the information we receive, and have already publicly released all the arsenic reports, both true and what we now know to be false. We will also work to get any remaining reports on contaminants mentioned yesterday up online as soon as possible.”

All test results related to claims of arsenic in the water at the Jacob Riis Houses can be found online.


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