The Astorino Administration has been out of compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act for more than 500 days, racking up potential fines of more than $20 million. Now, in a stunning effort to pass the buck, Astorino is trying to stick the people of Yonkers, White Plains, Mount Vernon, and Scarsdale with the bill.
In a motion filed by the County Attorney, which is attached to this release, the County claims that Water District 1 — which provides drinking water to hundreds of thousands of Westchester residents — is not subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The County’s new position is that the affected municipalities should instead bear the burden of meeting EPA standards for safe drinking water, even though the County manages and oversees the Water District and has been responsible for compliance with EPA standards.
“It’s bad enough that Mr. Astorino ignored this challenge for years, despite a clear responsibility to act,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “But now he is asking hundreds of thousands of residents in the four affected communities to clean up his mess. Instead of providing much-needed leadership, Astorino is saying to municipalities: ‘That’s not my problem, that’s your problem.’”
Astorino’s neglect and mismanagement on this issue is costing Westchester taxpayers $37,500 per day. Together with fines and lost grants associated with the County’s losing housing strategy, some $40 million has been placed at risk or already lost.