Water woes in Mayville cause health concerns

Local News

MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB)– Water woes in Mayville…

Village and state leaders are warning of a harmful chemical found in the drinking water.

And this evening, there’s concern this chemical could cause serious health problems.

Chautauqua County leaders have a stern message for people who live in the Village of Mayville: do not drink the water and don’t try to boil it, either.

“Boiling your water will not remove the chemicals that have been detected in the water,” said Christine Schuyler, the Chautauqua County Department of Health Commissioner.

Besides drinking, don’t use the water to cook, brush your teeth or for animals.

However, it’s still ok for bathing and cleaning and washing dishes.

Recent sampling of the village’s water revealed traces of a chemical called “perfluoronanoic acid” – also known as PFNA.

PFNA is an ingredient in some firefighting foams.

But, state officials say it’s unlikely that’s where the problem came from.

PFNA is also an ingredient used to manufacture chemical resistant plastics.

“If someone was fabricating plastics, and I’m not talking about plumber’s pipe dope that everyone has in their house. I’m talking about very specialized chemical resistant plastics. That’s one of the other possible leads we need to investigate,” said George Heitzman, from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Environmental leaders in Chautauqua County sampled two of the three Mayville wells in August and December of 2019.

Health officials said at that time, they were still learning about the chemical and had no idea there was a risk.

A week ago, more samples were taken which revealed the amount of PFNA had increased.

Little is known about the impacts on humans.

Studies in animals found effects on the liver, thyroid and developmental delays in early life studies.

It’s also unknown of PFNA causes cancer.

“The quantities of these contaminants that we’re seeing are very, very low,” said Bill Boria, from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.

Leaders are working quickly to find the source and fix the problem, but there’s no timeline for when things might improve.

“We have a lot of investigatory work we have to do but we are moving quickly,” said Mahar.

In the meantime, village leaders are working to develop a new well to provide safe water to people who live in the village.

The village of Mayville is distributing water at the town of Chautauqua Department of Public Works garage at 50 Patterson Street in Mayville until 6:30 Friday evening.

Bottled and canned water will also be available from 10:30 A-M to 12:30 P-M tomorrow at the same location.

If you’re isolating or under quarantine because of COVID-19 and in need of water, call the Chautauqua County Health Department at 716-753-4491. 

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