“A nonprofit government and environmental watchdog group has improved a searchable database for the public to learn about purity threats to local public tap-water supplies.

A year ago, the New York Public Interest Research Group unveiled ‘What’s in my Water?’ at nypirg.org/whatsinmywater, which makes most water-supply records searchable by zip code.

NYPIRG recently added more information about local contaminants in water supplies, made the site more user-friendly and provided resources about private well water testing.

It also linked to a state Department of Health database, with lead records for tap water in public kindergarten through 12th-grade schools and BOCES locations.

‘NYPIRG is doing a tremendous public service by making this information easy to find and to understand,’ said Katherine Nadeau, deputy director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, a local nonprofit protector of natural resources.

‘People should be reaching out to local elected officials, whether it’s the town or county government, to start letting them know water quality is a top concern.’

To search NYPIRG’s database, a public water system user can type his or her zip code into the site’s homepage, and choose the related water system from a list of those in that area.

Above that water system list, clicking on the header ‘View Map of Potential Threats in this ZIP Code,’ takes users to a newly updated interactive map with local water purity dangers.

Those concerned, said NYPIRG program director Megan Ahearn, should ‘Contact your local water supervisor, who can walk you through where all the information is about your system, whether there’s been remediation efforts or action taken, and who’s responsible. Demand that (water quality) is something they pay attention to,’ Ahearn said.

NYPIRG’s website now highlights other water threats, too, such as brownfield sites and airports certified to store aqueous film-forming foams.”

Read the full article by Daniel Axelrod