New York officials say water from the public subdivision was cleared for drinking after the lab withdrew incorrect results that showed high levels of arsenic

Last week, Fabien Levy, press secretary for New York City Mayor Eric Adams said On Twitter, officials had launched water tests in August at Jacob Riis public housing after the city’s housing authority received reports of « muddy water ». Preliminary results showed arsenic levels above federal guidelines, and the city advised residents not to drink or cook until there is « more conclusive information, » Levy said last week.

On Friday, a week after that announcement, Levy said the lab that performed those early tests, Environmental Monitoring and Technologies, issued a « full retraction » of those results and called them « incorrect. »

« Worse still, the company has now admitted to being the one that introduced arsenic to the samples, leading to false results, » Levy’s statement read. The lab released the results of a new test and found the samples were negative for arsenic, Levy added.

« We have now tested over 140 points – both at source and at the point of delivery – and can confidently say that Riis Houses water is and has been free of any discernible amount of arsenic from the start. initial testing in August,” the statement added.

The city now intends to pursue « all available legal options » on behalf of residents of the development, Levy added.

Brad Lander, New York City Comptroller said on Twitter that even though the arsenic test was a false positive, the development’s tenants « deserve independent verification and compensation », and highlighted their « fundamentally shattered trust and anger ».
In a press release attached to the city’s statement, the lab said it became aware of the situation on Wednesday and « immediately began an internal investigation into the original results » which found higher levels of arsenic. The company said the original testing method for water samples reported in August included testing for silver, which required procedures that introduced « trace or arsenic ». The new tests, performed this week, did not include those procedures, avoiding « any potential contamination », the lab said, and retracted its previous arsenic results.

CNN has contacted the company for further comment.

On Saturday, Mayor Adams said the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reviewed the final results and found the water « well within the city’s drinking water quality standards. » ‘EPA’.

The mayor added that he stopped near the development and drank the water himself.

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“While the basic need for clean water is good news, it is the bare minimum. It is unacceptable that environmental monitoring and technologies have introduced arsenic into the samples, which has not only led to false results, but also to fear, unrest and massive inconvenience,” the mayor said in a statement on Saturday.

In addition to pursuing legal options, the city will also be looking for ways to reimburse residents for related costs over the past week, the mayor said. City agencies will also no longer test water through the specific lab, he said.

The city also said earlier this week that it had received results suggesting « the possible presence of Legionella bacteria, » but officials suspected those results were also inaccurate.

« As noted by public health experts, Legionnaires’ disease cannot be contracted through drinking water, » the mayor said in his statement. « Additionally, we are actively reviewing our Legionella surveillance data and have found no reported or confirmed cases of Legionellosis in Riis homes in the past 12 months. »

CNN’s Nicki Brown contributed to this report.

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