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Evening, May 10, 2007

DEP Contact: Anne Canty, 718-595-6600
DOHMH Contact: Andrew Tucker, 212-788-5290

All DEP Water Samples Returned Since Noon Today Meet Regulatory Standards For PERC

None of the 18 water samples received by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection since noon today exceed Federal standards for tetrachloroethylene (PERC), and 10 contain no PERC at all.  The samples, taken from portions of the Queens neighborhoods of St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Hollis and Queens Village, indicate that the average PERC level continues to decline, with the average from the above 18 samples at 0.8 parts per billion (ppb), below the US Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant level of 5 ppb.

To date DEP has analyzed 81 samples from the relevant area. Of these:

  • 34 samples detected no presence of PERC,
  • and 47 of the samples detected PERC, and 27 of these demonstrated levels of PERC above 5 ppb.

After conducting extensive inspections of water/sewer connections at businesses in portions of the Queens neighborhoods of Queens Village, St. Albans, Cambria Heights and Hollis, DEP has identified a potential source of the PERC contamination discovered during routine water testing earlier this week by DEP scientists. PERC is a chemical commonly used in dry cleaning and auto-body repair.

DEP inspectors discovered an illegal connection to the City’s surface water distribution system at a local business, and the Agency is contacting the property owner in order to gain entry to the building and perform sampling. DEP is unable to conclude whether this business is the source of contamination and cannot yet rule out the possibility of other sources.

DEP will continue to perform extensive sampling to better define the affected area. Fire hydrants will continue to be flushed in order to drain contaminants from the drinking water supply system.

To date, DEP has inspected 349 local businesses in search of potentially faulty water/sewer connections. Additionally, water and sewer workers have posted informational flyers on 95% of the relevant residences, and expect to notify the remaining residences Thursday night. DEP has received more than 1,500 calls and continues to staff phones at its headquarters in order to address the questions and concerns of City residents.

These continuing efforts are in response to DEP’s detection of minute amounts of PERC during routine water sampling earlier this week in sections of the St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Queens Village and Hollis neighborhoods in Queens. Citywide tests show no detectable PERC outside these localized areas.

DEP will update residents on the situation as further information becomes available.

Any potential health effects would depend on the duration and concentration of exposure to PERC. No known long- or short-term health problems would be expected from the concentrations detected in Queens for people drinking, cooking or bathing in the water for a matter of weeks.

DEP has a resource center on site at Springfield Boulevard between 110th and 112th Avenues to provide information to local residents. Information is also available on DEP’s website at Residents with non-emergency questions can call the City’s helpline at 3-1-1.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600