State investigating discrepancies in West Carthage water tests

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:46 PM EST
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WEST CARTHAGE, New York (WWNY) - New York state is investigating the results of water tests in West Carthage because the mayor, wondering if he was getting the right information, sent out two samples to two different laboratories.

The results are drastically different with one saying the village violates state drinking water standards and the other saying the water is fine.

The water that comes out of your faucet gets tested periodically to assure quality.

In a recent test in West Carthage, the drinking water had 126 micrograms per liter of haloacetic acid, more than twice what’s allowed by New York state.

“We don’t need to boil our water. It’s safe drinking water. It’s just something they’d like us to look out for. Something that we need to address,” said Mayor Scott Burto.

The lab that did the testing was Adirondack Environmental Services out of Albany.

Burto noticed several communities using that same lab had recent results come back high - violating state standards.

“We took that as something doesn’t smell right here and that we wanted to look at the opportunity to basically send a second sample out and get a control number,” said Burto.

This isn’t the first time West Carthage tested high for haloacetic acid. So for these recent results, Burto decided to send one sample to Adirondack Environmental Services and another one to Life Science Laboratories in Syracuse.

The same water with a reading 126 micrograms per liter from one lab, came back with 53 from the other lab.

“To be more than double, it’s really concerning and shows there’s an issue within at least one of the labs,” said Burto.

To correct the issue, the state may require the Carthage/West Carthage water system to spend millions of dollars.

“If it’s not our water quality and it’s a testing issue, we’re not going to waste millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on a project that’s not necessary because of a testing error,” said Burto.

If something is wrong with West Carthage’s water tests, Burto points out that other municipalities that use the same testing facilities could be relying on false data. So, he has reached out to them.

“Just kept them updated on where we’re at because I know they’re all in the same situation and they’re also looking at spending millions of dollars on a project,” said Burto.

In a late-January email obtained by 7 News, a regional representative with the state Health Department told Burto the state has launched an investigation into the discrepancy.

Late Thursday afternoon, we received the following statement from the state:

“The New York State Department of Health has been in communication with the Village of West Carthage regarding laboratory testing of its water samples. As a result, the Department’s Environmental Laboratory Approval Program at the Wadsworth Center has begun an investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation, the Department cannot comment further at this time.”