Talking About Drinking Water Quality


Consumers of the Locust Valley Water District are encouraged to learn about the resources and effort it takes to ensure that their tap water is safe to drink. Concerns and curiosity from the public are understandable and welcomed. Inquiries about your drinking water should always be directed to an official of the Locust Valley Water District who will gladly respond to your question directly or get the answer from another knowledgeable qualified professional.

• Is the water provided by the Locust Valley Water District safe to drink?

• When I receive the water district water quality report, what should I look for?

• How is my drinking water treated?

• Who determines whether or not a public water supplier will add chlorine to the water?

• Do the Locust Valley Water Commissioners and their families drink tap water?

• Must owners of private wells follow the same stringent regulations required by the water district?

Q. Is the water provided by the Locust Valley Water District safe to drink?
A. Yes. The district has met all federal and state quality requirements through stringent testing. Although some constituents have been detected, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Health have determined that the water is safe to drink at the levels found. The annual water quality report, which is mailed to consumers each year, provides a detailed list of detected parameters.

Q. When I receive the water district water quality report, what should I look for?
A. The annual report contains quite a bit of educational information including a table of constituents detected in the drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency's maximum allowable level (MCL) is listed as well as the amount actually found. If the detected level is less than or equal to the allowable level, the water is safe to drink. If the amount detected is greater, the water supplier must take whatever corrective action the county health department requires, which may include removing the well from service. (back to the top)

Q. How is my drinking water treated?
A. To reduce the natural corrosiveness of water found in the Long Island region, the Locust Valley Water District adds sodium hydroxide to the water to raise the pH before it enters the distribution system. This helps prevent the lead from pipes or solder from dissolving in the drinking water. In fact, because of consistently good test results, the frequency of lead and copper monitoring in Locust Valley has been reduced in accordance with federal and state requirements.
Additionally, the Nassau County Health Department has instructed the district to add small amounts of chlorine to the water for disinfection purposes. (back to the top)

Q. Who determines whether or not a public water supplier will add chlorine to the water?
A. This is not a decision made by the water district, but falls under the requirements and regulations of the New York State Department of Health. The role of the Nassau County Department of Health is to enforce the guidelines established by the state, which are stringent in New York, compared to the rest of the country. California is another state with rigid regulations. (back to the top)

Q. Do the Locust Valley Water Commissioners and their families drink tap water?
A. Yes, without hesitation.

Q. Must owners of private wells follow the same stringent regulations required by the water district?
A. No. If you use water from a private well for drinking, the water district strongly suggests that you have the water tested, at your own expense, to determine if it's potable. Customers of the Locust Valley Water District with a private well on their property MUST have an approved backflow prevention device installed on the water service directly after the meter. (back to the top)

Look for more questions and answers in upcoming issues of Waterworks, the Locust Valley Water District’s biannual publication. (back to the top)