Jacob Riis Houses water: New York City wants answers after tainted water scare at NYCHA’s Riis Houses


EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) — New York City Council is holding a hearing Friday to get to the bottom of a tainted water scare at NYCHA’s Jacob Riis Houses on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The false alarm forced 2,600 residents to find other ways of getting clean water until the city eventually gave the all-clear for residents to start drinking the water again.

Now the city council wants answers. Officials will have to explain why and how the mix-up happened.

Today’s joint hearing is being led by council’s Oversight and Investigations Committee and the committee chairs for the Public Housing Committee.

NYCHA started testing the water at the Jacob Riis Houses several weeks ago because complaints of cloudy water.

Earlier this month, test results showed traces of arsenic. But all subsequent tests were negative.

The Mayor’s Office said the lab that originally found the dangerous chemical in the water issued a full retraction.

The lab admitted introducing the toxic chemical into water samples from the complex.

The water supply has since been deemed safe, but the mix-up created a crisis that left the 2600 residents of complex – and city officials – demanding answers.

“How did this happen? That’s a real question,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “You know, I question the role of these federal monitors to be there. He’s been there for all of these years. All that money that we spent, that money could have gone to many repairs.”

Adams said the city is considering taking legal action against the testing company that produced the false results.

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