Despite elevated chemical levels, Tarrytown’s water is still safe to drink


April 2, 2022

Robert Kimmel —

Over the weekend, Tarrytown village administrator Richard Slingerland sent a message to villagers to clarify the status of Tarrytown’s water supply. The message focused on Tarrytown’s water being “safe to drink, wash and cook with”.

The announcement was initially made by orders from Westchester County and the New York State Department of Health, where Tarrytown distributed a shocking “Notice of Violation” to residents. “Our water system recently violated drinking water standards,” the notice said. “While this incident is not an emergency, as our customer, you have a right to know what happened and what we are doing to correct the situation.”

Two elevated compounds found in the water prompted the initial quarterly notice. They are trihalomethanes (THM) and haloacetic acids (HAAs), “produced as by-products of the chlorination process, when chlorine reacts with organic matter such as algae, bacteria, and parasites in natural water, as we get from water. water systems like New York City, the Catskills and Delaware,” explained the village dispatcher.

“These chemicals are elevated because New York City has been using higher levels of chlorine,” the administrator said. However, Slingerland noted that New York City “…has lowered their chlorination levels,” leading to reductions in both target compounds. “For decades, chlorine has been considered one of the safest ways to make drinking water safe to drink, cook and bathe in,” he added.

Slingerland further explained, “This warning is for people with a suppressed immune system and a higher risk of cancer with long-term exposure (20 to 30 years), so they may consider drinking bottled water temporarily.”

While water testing at the Tarryhill Clubhouse in February this year indicated it was within safer standards, early tests in May, August and November 2021 put the running average above the HAA’s acceptable level.

The village said it was also “adjusting our operations,” including “seasonal adjustments to our chlorine booster levels to reduce their by-products, allowing for greater fluctuations in tank levels to better mix the water; and increasing Water system flushes, including during colder weather months.”

Residents and businesses are encouraged to “flush the faucet first thing in the morning to remove stagnant water that could be the cause of the HAA test levels in the water test.” The village said it also worked with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which supplies water to Tarrytown. Coordinated, and again noted that “they reduced the amount of chlorine in the water.” This move “should mitigate the high levels of HAA seen in our water sampling.”

“You don’t need to boil water or take other corrective action,” Slingerland’s message emphasized; the situation “is not an emergency, and if it were, you would be notified within 24 hours.”


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