New York City officials claim there is no arsenic in the drinking water at NYCHA’s Jacob Riis, after a resident says she ended up in the hospital.

EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) — There are growing concerns about the drinking water at a Manhattan housing project after a resident says she ended up in the hospital with symptoms of arsenic poisoning.

New York City officials insist there is no water problem at NYCHA’s Jacob Riis homes in the East Village, just as they insisted two years ago there was no water poisoning.

Eyewitness News got an exclusive firsthand look at the Jacob Riis Houses Community Center when Mayor Eric Adams stopped by Tuesday afternoon. In an attempt to convince residents that there was no arsenic in the water, he drank a glass of water straight from the tap.

“I love New York City water,” Adams said.

An assured tenant president Daphne Williams, who pointed out that drinking the water and testing it are two different things, said testing will be more frequent to reassure concerned residents.

“Let’s do what we did the last time there was concern about arsenic,” Mayor Adams said. “That turned out to be an incorrect test that we addressed. Let’s engage NYCHA to answer tenants’ questions. This way we don’t have to guess. They are the professionals. I’m not the professionals. bring them in. That’s what we did last time. It brought the level of anxiety down.”

Fears were high here two years ago, after what the city said was a lab error that showed unsafe levels of arsenic.

The scare prompted the city to bring in bottled water.

“There is no arsenic in the Riis Houses water supply,” a NYCHA spokesperson said in a statement. “NYCHA tested more than 500 water samples and all met the water quality standard for arsenic and conclusively demonstrate that there are no water quality issues in the drinking water at Riis Houses.”

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer said the last of those tests only took place last month.

The city’s assurance came Tuesday as fears are high again as several Riis residents, including Sheletha Hill, have experienced symptoms consistent with high arsenic levels.

As Politico first reported, Hill’s blood work in March showed dangerous levels.

“Everyone was alarmed and concerned because 117 is not the normal range,” Hill said. “And I think that was, as they put it, twofold”

But in recent years, she only used bottled water at home for drinking and cooking. She brushed her teeth and showered with tap water. Her doctors produced a note asking her landlord, NYCHA, to test the water in her apartment.

“Nobody responded,” she said. “I’m still waiting for someone to come into this apartment and literally test the waters.”

The city says the water in Hill’s apartment is the same water as in the rest of the complex. Her apartment was also undergoing asbestos abatement and there were leaks causing mold in the building that she suspects is also causing health problems. But her high levels of arsenic and her neighbors with similar problems have her trying to get more answers about toxins in the environment.

The mayor is now promising more transparency from NYCHA.


* Get eyewitness news

* More Manhattan news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for the latest news

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or story idea we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If you attach a video or photo, the terms of use apply.

Copyright © 2024 WABC-TV. All rights reserved.