Mayor Adams declares water at Riis Houses now safe, drinks water

After a week of confusion over the safety of the water supply at the Jacob Riis public housing complex in the East Village, the mayor’s office announced on Saturday that the city has reviewed the latest water test and concluded that the water in the complex is safe.

“We can confidently say that Riis Houses’ water is free of any detectable amount of arsenic since the first tests began in August and meets EPA standards,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement on Saturday.

And to prove it, Adams visited the Riis Houses on Saturday afternoon to drink a glass of water from a sink in one of the complex’s sprawling units.

“There’s nothing better than New York City water,” Adams said before sipping an entire glass of water with Ashwin Vasan, the city’s health commissioner.

Adams gave the camera a thumbs up after he finished.

“We’re just here to make sure people know I’m drinking it. The water is safe to drink,” he says.

This comes a week after city officials warned tenants not to drink the tap water because of tests that revealed unsafe levels of arsenic. City officials last week installed water taps and a water distribution site in a nearby parking lot for the complex’s 3,900 residents.

On Wednesday, city officials announced there was “no detectable amount of arsenic,” but warned residents not to drink or cook with tap water. City officials also revealed that the testing company provided late results showing signs of a dangerous bacteria called Legionella in the water.

But on Friday, the company Environmental Monitoring and Technologies Inc. that his findings were incorrect and retracted “all arsenic results” from previous tests. The testing method included a test for silver, which “introduced trace levels of arsenic and a dilution factor correction,” the company said in a statement on Friday.

Adams promised that the city will stop testing through the company and “intends to pursue all available legal options on behalf of residents of Riis Houses,” as well as reimburse residents for costs incurred over the past week, according to a statement released on Saturday.

As for the Legionella bacteria reported last week, the mayor said his office suspects the results are inaccurate. He noted that his office found no reported or confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Jacob Riis Houses in the past year.

“We will remain transparent about the information we receive and have already made public all arsenic reports, both true and what we now know to be false. We will work to get any additional reports on yesterday’s contaminants online as soon as possible,” he continued.

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