Environmental Litigation Attorneys

NEW YORK NEWS UPDATE: New Yorkers want answers from Governor Cuomo about unsafe water (Governor's administration accused of knowing about contamination for more than a year, as reported on Fox News) Our Water Contamination Media Kit is also a resource for information, current litigation, the Napoli Shkolnik PLLC Environmental Team, and more. Water is necessary to sustain life, but various pollutants can make some water undrinkable and extremely dangerous. Federal and state regulations are meant to protect citizens from drinking or coming into contact with water that has been contaminated by another source and provide for the recovery of damages in the event of injury. If you have suffered an illness due to the consumption of contaminated drinking water, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you obtain compensation for your medical costs.  

Causes of Water Pollution

There are multiple sources of pollution that affect water purity in the United States, although a few are more damaging than others, including:
  • Poor treatment of sewage and waste water;
  • Chemical run-off;
  • Atmospheric deposition;
  • Marine dumping;
  • Underground storage leakages;
  • Oil pollution;
  • Industrial waste;
  • Urban development; and
  • Hydraulic fracturing.

Health-Related Effects of Water Pollution

Many effects of ingesting or coming into contact with water pollution have been discovered in recent decades, including:
  • Skin rashes;
  • Stomach or liver problems;
  • Respiratory issues;
  • Neurological disorders;
  • Developmental problems;
  • Reproductive issues; and
  • Cancer.

The Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act was enacted in 1948 and establishes basic regulations concerning allowable pollutant levels. The Clean Water Act also authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to oversee over the creation of pollution control programs and to set various standards, such as methods of wastewater disposal, for the industry. One of the Act’s biggest achievements was banning the discharge of any pollutant from conveyances like pipes and man-made ditches into navigable waters. The ability to do so requires a special permit.  

Safe Drinking Water Act

Originally enacted in 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act is a federal law that authorizes the EPA to set national standards for drinking water and its sources. The EPA then collaborates with states and municipalities, as well as water suppliers, to make sure these standards are carried out and enforced. The drinking water standards, however, only apply to public water systems and not to individual wells.  

Public Water Systems

Public water systems are those that have at least 15 service connections or serve at least 25 people for no fewer than 60 days per year. There are approximately 150,000 public water systems nationwide, which serve around 300 million people. The three types of public water systems are:
  • Community water systems: Systems that provide water to houses and apartments;
  • Non-transient non-community water systems: Systems that provide water to schools, factories, and churches; and
  • Transient non-community water systems: Systems that provide water for gas stations and campgrounds.
The EPA also sets national standards for maximum contaminant levels, testing procedures, and treatment processes in these types of water systems. Consuming contaminated water can have devastating effects on your health or the health of your loved ones. If you have suffered an illness after drinking contaminated water, please contact one of our experienced environmental lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik, Attorneys at Law at (212) 397-1000 for a free consultation.
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