NYC housing complex is cleared to resume drinking tap water after false arsenic reading

By | September 12, 2022

Water at a public housing complex is OK to drink after earlier tests incorrectly showed the presence of arsenic, city officials said Saturday.

A tweeted video showed Mayor Eric Adams and another official drinking glasses of water from a tap at the Jacob Riis Houses. Tests by an outside lab last month had showed higher than allowable levels of arsenic, but on Friday the company said the results were incorrect.

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Residents of the 1,700-unit complex on the lower East Side had been told to avoid drinking or cooking with the water beginning last weekend. Adams said Saturday additional tests had confirmed the water was safe.

“This morning, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reviewed the final test results for contaminants and found the water to be well within EPA drinking water quality standards,” Adams said in a statement. “We can confidently say the water at Riis Houses is and has been free of any discernible amount of arsenic since the initial tests were initiated in August and meets EPA standards.”

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Adams’s office said the city would cease working with the lab, Environmental Monitoring and Technologies, and would “pursue all available legal options” and seek to reimburse residents for costs incurred during the last week. The company acknowledged the testing errors in a statement Friday.