In an opinion Monday, Judge Román denied Westchester County’s motion to dismiss a suit by the federal government alleging that Westchester’s Water District No. 1, which serves Mount Vernon, Scarsdale, White Plains and Yonkers, is in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act because it fails to treat water for a certain parasite, Cryptosporidium. Westchester argued that District No. 1 is not covered by the relevant regulations because it serves customers only indirectly, through municipalities. Judge Román disagreed:
The Court finds that the plain meaning of the word “serves” encompasses both direct and indirect service. As Plaintiff argues, statutes such as the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 specify direct service where it intends to refer only to direct service. The EPA’s position on this issue is that “service” in this context may be indirect . . . . The Court defers to EPA’s reasonable and considered position that applies the SDWA to entities that indirectly provide drinking water to more than twenty-five individuals.
Judge Román also denied the government’s motion for summary judgment since there were fact questions as to whether and when Westchester has come into compliance with the rules.