New Legislation Takes Aim at Water Pollution

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, just off Chautauqua Lake in Celoron, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed a new piece of legislation that permits local water authorities a course for legal action against drinking water polluters previously barred by the New York state statute of limitations.

"Every New Yorker deserves access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water," stated Hochul of the legislation. "By signing this legislation, which gives local water suppliers another avenue to take action against polluters and recover the costs of treatment or filtration, we are making sure that we not only hold these companies accountable but also prioritize the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers."

Currently, claims may only be filed against companies within three years of when the contamination or polluting occurred. The new law provides a year and a half window starting on October 5, 2022 to bring action against any alleged polluters. Additionally, the legislation defines ‘contaminants’ as any chemical, physical, radiological, or microbiological substance.

"Emerging chemicals pose a serious threat to the underground aquifers that supply our drinking water on Long Island,” New York State Assembly Member Fred W. Thiele Jr. remarked of the legislation. “We should not be forced to pay higher rates and taxes to clean up the contamination caused by irresponsible polluters. Polluters should be held accountable for the damage they have caused here on Long Island and across New York State. This bill makes it clear that in New York State it is the polluter who pays. My sincere thanks to Governor Hochul for approving this commonsense legislation, which gives needed remedies to public water suppliers and protects our environment."

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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