Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association Meeting Educates Members on Emerging Contaminants

Senior Water Resources Engineer Paul J. Ponturo Leads In-Depth Presentation

Franklin Square, NY, USA………As part of an ongoing Educational Speaker Series, members of Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association (NSWCA), which represents 21 Long Island water districts, received important information on emerging and unregulated contaminants, the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in developing regulations, changes in New York State public health laws, and the importance of communicating with the public that is served by the NSWCA. The program was hosted by the South Farmingdale Water District, and Commissioners Ralph Atoria, John Hirt and Gary Brosnan.

Speaker Paul J. Ponturo, P.E., Senior Water Resources Engineer with H2M Group (Melville, NY), one of the industry’s most prominent voices regarding regulatory and compliance issues related to public water supplies, emerging contaminant review, advanced water treatment technologies and monitoring program design, provided a detailed presentation on current and relevant issues.

Mr. Ponturo cited specific examples of selected contaminants and discussed the landmark federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which defines ‘contaminant’ as “any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substance or matter in water.” Mr. Ponturo stressed that the presence of contaminants in water “does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. The words ‘emerging contaminants’ and ‘unregulated contaminants’ have negative connotations,” he explained, “and this is where education is key for everyone, water professionals, government officials and the public alike. A press conference is not an educational opportunity. Public education must start well before media events, and must continue long after, in order to build the public trust, and to ensure that people understand how water is produced, regulated and distributed.”

“We appreciate Paul Ponturo taking the time to present this informative program,” NSWCA President and Oyster Bay Water District Commissioner Michael F. Rich III, commented. “As a leading expert, so well respected in this field, Paul’s thorough and scientific explanations will help our commissioners address any concerns that our ratepayers and consumers may have regarding this vital topic.”