Way back in 2019, a New York Public Interest Research Group analysis of EPA data found that Long Island had the most contaminated drinking water in the state. And sadly, more recent studies have only served to confirm the analysis that water problems continue to plague communities throughout both Nassau and Suffolk counties.

One of the issues is that, Long Island, unlike other parts of New York draws its water from groundwater aquafers rather than the more pristine water of the Catskills. So, LI water is not only filled with man-made pollution in the form of industrial pharmaceuticals, organophosphate flame retardants, and household solvents,[1] but it also contains some dangerous natural elements such as nitrates, arsenic and even radium.

Different communities in Long Island will have different water contaminants, but here is a general overview about what’s found in the water in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties.


PFASalso known as PFOAs – are a family of highly toxic, fluorinated chemicals found in more than 2,800 communities across the United States, including much of Long Island. PFAS, known as the “forever chemicals” because they build up in our bodies and never break down, have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system irregularities, and other diseases.

PFAS have been used mainly in industrial settings since the 1940s, and the family includes more than 5,000 chemicals. But the two of the most common, PFOA and PFOS, are used to make everyday items such as nonstick pans, carpets and firefighting foam. According to the Environmental Working Group, more than 41,000 industrial sites around the country are known or suspected of discharging PFAS into the air and water, including many in Long Island. Some in communities like Oyster Bay in Nassau County have more than 289x[2] the recommended minimal safe amount of PFAS in the water while in the town of Hempstead it’s 372x the EWG guideline.[3] But that’s nothing compared to Hicksville, where our Simply PÜR Water Filtration offices are located, which has 15,198x the recommended PFOA amounts in water.[4]

Disinfectants / Disinfectant By-Products

Some of the worst contaminants found in abundance in Long Island groundwater are man-made disinfectants. These days, many people know that common disinfectants such as chlorine are used to treat water to eliminate water-borne transmission of diseases such as typhoid and paratyphoid fevers, cholera, salmonellosis, and shigellosis. Indeed, chlorination is still widely used for disinfecting water supplies in the United States, and are used in the Long Island area. Chlorine levels up to 4 milligrams per liter are generally considered safe in drinking water.

Disinfectant by-products are created as chlorine reacts with water. One of the most common by-products includes chloroform – CHCl (which is found throughout Long Island water in varying levels, with some areas exceeding the recommend guidelines.) Another common byproduct is trihalomethane, which in Suffolk County evidence suggests that levels exceed 34x the recommended guideline.[5]

Overexposure to such chloroform has been linked to cancer and may be also be related to reproductive impacts such as miscarriages and birth defects.



Dioxane is a synthetic chemical historically used as a stabilizer for industrial solvents, predominantly 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), from the 1950s through 1990s. Today, it is still employed in small concentrations in a variety of applications, such as inks, adhesives, and pharmaceuticals. It is also present in trace amounts in certain consumer products such as detergents, shampoos, and cosmetics as a byproduct of the manufacturing process.

Dioxane has seeped into Long Island groundwater primarily because of industrial manufacturing operations. Once dioxane reaches the ground from routine spills, it goes straight into the soil, where it can persist for many years. It’s especially bad in certain communities such as Bethpage, where Dioxane is 12x the safe limit as determined by the Environmental Working Group.[6]


Trichloroethylene (TCE), Tetrachloroethylene, Trichloropropane & Other Industrial Cleaning & Degreasing Agents

Trichloroethylene has been used in several industries, such as manufacture and repair of aircraft and automobiles, and in screw-cutting, while tetrachloroethylene is widely used in dry-cleaning and as a feedstock for the production of chlorinated chemicals. Trichloropropane, meanwhile, is a manmade chemical found at industrial or hazardous waste sites. It has been used as a cleaning and degreasing solvent and also is associated with pesticide products.

Some of you may remember the famed Northrup Grumman Plume scandal, which involved the suspected release of TCE from its manufacturing operations into Long Island groundwater.[7]

These days, according to EWG, Trichloropropane tends to be the chemical found within much of Long Island’s water. In Suffolk County, it is known to exceed recommended guidelines by 18x.[8]



Radium is a highly radioactive element found in nature, produced by the radioactive decay of uranium. Radon, meanwhile, is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that is released by decaying radium — and is one of the most dangerous in terms of cancer risk. Both are found in Long Island water. In fact, the Suffolk County Water Authority had levels of radon exceeding 14x the recommended safe limit, according to EWG.[9]


Inorganic Contaminants (Arsenic and Nitrates)

Inorganic contaminants such as arsenic and nitrates commonly occur in nature and often end up in our groundwater. Others are a result of manmade pollution, while still more such as nitrates occur because of interactions between nature and pollution.

Arsenic. In Long Island, arsenic levels vary according to the guidelines set by the Environmental Working Group. Contrary to what most people think, arsenic is a naturally occurring component of the earth’s crust, and is widely distributed throughout the air, water, and land. According to the World Health Organization, arsenic is also used industrially as “an alloying agent, as well as in the processing of glass, pigments, textiles, paper, metal adhesives, wood preservatives and ammunition.” Inorganic arsenic is naturally present at high levels in the groundwater throughout the United States, including Long Island. It is very toxic. People can be exposed to high levels of inorganic arsenic through contaminated drinking water, food preparation, crop irrigation, or even smoking tobacco. A known carcinogen, repeated exposure can lead to cancers, developmental effects, and cardiovascular disease.

Nitrates. Nitrates, compounds formed naturally when nitrogen combines with oxygen, were found in Long Island water at similarly varying levels depending on the community. Nitrates naturally occur in most surface water or groundwater, and it’s important to note that nitrogen is essential for all living things. But, high levels of nitrates in your drinking water can be dangerous to health, especially for infants and pregnant women. For example, exposure can lead to blue baby syndrome in infants, developmental effects, and cardiovascular disease. In extreme cases, blue baby syndrome can be severe and lead to death. Nitrates may be successfully removed from water using treatment processes such as ion exchange, distillation, and reverse osmosis.


We hope you found this helpful. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of contaminants, but just a few of the more notable ones. All of these contaminants can be generally removed from your water through reverse osmosis, a multi-stage filtration system that can fit underneath your kitchen sink (or even be employed from a whole-home water filtration perspective). Want to learn more? Contact us at Simply PÜR Water Filtration to get your free water quality analysis, and find out more about what’s in your water!

[1] Certainly, industrial waste has long been a problem in Long Island. The Northrup Grumman Plume affecting groundwater is perhaps the most infamous: https://projects.newsday.com/long-island/plume-grumman-navy/#:~:text=Grumman%2C%20the%20Bethpage%20aerospace%20giant,crisis%2C%20a%20Newsday%20investigation%20found.

[2] https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY2902844

[3] https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY2900000

[4] https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY2902829

[5] https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY5110526

[6] https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY2902817

[7] https://projects.newsday.com/long-island/plume-grumman-navy/

[8] https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY5110526

[9] https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/system.php?pws=NY5110526

About Simply PÜR™ Water Filtration Services

Living in and serving the Long Island community, we strive to make sure everyone has access to clean, healthy water. We have the experience, knowledge, and industry-leading technology to provide clean water solutions for water impurities, contaminants, hard water, bad tasting/odors, well water, acidity & pH regulations.

Proud members of the WQA (Water Quality Association), and the EWQA (Eastern Water Quality Association), we adhere to strict guidelines and the WQA code of ethics. As a Pentair True Blue Partner and Authorized Distributor of Pentair Products, there’s nothing comparable to the performance, and efficiency of our whole house purification systems, water softeners, neutralizers, whole-house filters, and alkaline reverse osmosis systems for drinking in the convenience of your home.

NSF Water Filtration System
Pentair Water Filtration System

Our products are all NSF / ANSI certified, meeting the highest safety standards and quality performance. Providing our community with only the best experience of high quality water that’s Simply PÜR from our family to yours!

Simply PÜR utilizes accurate testing methods before and after system installation, as well as annual maintenance of all your water treatment equipment. Our Revolutionary Custom Built Water Treatment systems upon the completion of a Free In-Home Water Analysis, or an in-depth Comprehensive Water Analysis of your choice sent to our Certified Laboratory.

Customers Frequently Ask..

The answer to this question depends on which kind of drinking water you’re talking about. There are multiple agencies responsible for regulating water quality in the U.S., and there are some who are more critical about the way it’s handled.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of overseeing the water that comes out of your tap. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees and regulates the quality of bottled water.


Individual states are responsible for regulating water that is bottled and sold within their borders. Finally, your municipality must make sure it is following federal and state standards regarding water quality.


The EPA does not regulate private wells, and rules for testing differ from state to state. In many cases, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure their well water is safe.

Certain things can affect the flavor, odor, and appearance of your tap water, not all of them are necessarily harmful.


Many people with public water can taste the chlorine, although the most noticeable problems tend to come from private wells. Contaminants like sulfur can impact the smell, while iron will cause discoloration and staining.


The overall amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in your tap water will definitely affect the taste, smell, and appearance. While many of these issues are not serious concerns, they can certainly be a nuisance. Water filtration systems, including a high-efficiency water softener to reduce hardness, can provide solutions.

This process is called “reverse” osmosis because the pressure forces the water to flow in the reverse direction (from the concentrated solution to the dilute solution) to the flow direction (from the dilute to the concentrated) in the process of natural osmosis. RO removes ionized salts, colloids, and organic molecules down to a molecular weight of 100.


You can get a whole-house RO, but more commonly, a point-of-use RO system would be on your countertop or installed under the sink. They’re great for treating water for cooking and drinking, but they don’t usually produce large amounts of treated water — more like 3 to 10 gallons a day. For that reason, typically people choose to install RO-treated faucets in the most popular areas of the home such as kitchens and bathrooms, as opposed to installing it for every drinking tap. Just like any other kind of filter technology, reverse osmosis systems require regular maintenance. That includes periodically replacing the unit’s prefilters, postfilters, and membrane modules.

Due to the media attention Flint, Michigan, received over its water crisis, a lot of people have questions about lead in public water systems around the U.S.


Lead (as well as copper) typically enters the public supply by leaching into water from corroded fixtures and outdated plumbing. Homes built before 1986 will likely have plumbing with copper pipes using solder that may contain lead.


Lead can cause serious negative health effects, especially in children. The challenge is that it is undetectable by human senses. You can check with your local water authority for information about lead levels, but it’s important to note that the CDC and EPA say there’s no level of lead recognized as safe for consumption.


If you have concerns about the presence of lead in your water, you can have it tested in a state-certified laboratory. You can also read more in our article on lead in drinking water.

Softening hard water can mitigate many of its objectionable effects. Water softening can be done either at point of entry or point of use. One of the unique advantages offered by point-of-use water softening is the opportunity for homemakers to have either hard or soft water for drinking. This choice is not available if the water supply is softened municipally. Hardness minerals can be reduced in water to make it “softer” by using one of three basic means:

  • Chemical softening—lime softening, hot and cold; lime-soda softening
  • Membrane separation softening—Nano filtration
  • Cation exchange softening—inorganic, carbonaceous, or organic base exchangers
  • Softening water for home needs is done almost exclusively through the use of cation exchange.

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Customer Testimonials

"Absolutely amazing service from beginning to end. Trustworthy and reliable to work with. And the water taste!! It’s incredible the difference after we installed our water filtration system throughout our house. Also knowing my kids are drinking the purest of water is the biggest game changer. I would absolutely recommend Vinny and staff."

Randi Demetriou 

"We had a recent installation done by Vinny at Simply PUR and we couldn’t be happier. Vinny is reputable, reliable, efficient and the service is great. The water is so clean and tastes great, we don’t have to think twice about what is coming out of our faucet! Thank you Vinny!

Mike D.