An emerging contaminant is a chemical or material that poses a potential, perceived or real threat to human health or the environment. There is typically scarce information available on how often and at what concentrations these contaminants may be present in our environment, and little is generally known about potential health risks that emerging contaminants may pose. Specific federal drinking water standards have not been established for emerging contaminants.
Given the importance and vulnerability of our sole source aquifer, coupled with historic and ongoing threats, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services aggressively conducts monitoring and management of emerging contaminants. The department is continually tailoring programs to investigate and mitigate possible sources of emerging contaminants.
In 2015, Suffolk County laid out a blueprint to address emerging issues in the Comprehensive Water Resource Management Plan. Since then, the Department of Health Services has expanded its lab capability and assisted the New York State Department of Health and the Suffolk County Water Authority in developing and approving new treatment technologies.
New York State Drinking Water Quality Council Update
On December 18, 2018, the New York State Drinking Water Quality Council (DWQC) recommended drinking water standards (i.e., maximum contaminant levels or MCLs) for PFOS, PFOA and 1,4 dioxane. The DWQC was established by New York State Public Health Law 1113 for the purpose of providing recommendations to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) on emerging contaminants in drinking water.
The recommendation of the DWQC is not a final drinking water standard. The NYSDOH will take the DWQC recommendation under advisement as they consider formally proposing drinking water standards for these emerging contaminants. To formally adopt a drinking water standard into State Sanitary Code, the NYSDOH must complete a process that includes notice in the State Register with a 60-day public comment period and adoption by the Public Health and Planning Council.
PFOS and PFOA MCL Recommendation of the DWQC:
- PFOS: 10 parts per trillion (ppt)
- PFOA: 10 parts per trillion (ppt)
1,4 Dioxane MCL Recommendation of the DWQC:
NYSDOH Drinking Water Quality Council Website:
NYSDOH 2018-12-18 Press Release:
Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Suffolk County:
For more information:
Information on Contaminants of Emerging Concern, visit
If you want to view your water quality results and Suffolk County Water Authority is your water supplier, visit