The Suffolk County Water Authority and the Town of East Hampton officially launched a project designed to bring safe drinking water to an area of Wainscott impacted by perfluorinated chemicals at a press conference held at the project site on Monday.
Approximately 45,000 feet of water main will be installed in the impacted area, located south of the East Hampton Airport, making it the largest water main project SCWA has undertaken in nearly 20 years. The project area includes more than 500 homes.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services confirmed the presence of pefluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in more than 150 private wells in the impacted area, with a small number of private wells showing detections over the health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.
"We’re pleased to be able to help residents of Wainscott have a safe drinking water supply and I want to thank Town of East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and the full East Hampton Town Board for their steadfast support in making this happen quickly," said SCWA Chairman James F. Gaughran. "Wainscott residents will now have a drinking water supply that will be safe and reliable."
"With the extension throughout Wainscott of public water mains, residents will be assured of a source of clean drinking water without having to worry about existing or possible future contamination of private wells," said Town of East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. "The Town and Water Authority have worked diligently, hand in hand, to bring this project to fruition rapidly. While state investigators seek to pinpoint the source or sources of perfluorinated chemical contamination, we will continue our efforts to protect the quality of ground and surface waters throughout the Town."
SCWA Chairman James Gaughran speaks at the construction site of the Wainscott project August 20th, alongside fellow SCWA Board Members and elected officials.
Water main between six inches and 16 inches in diameter will be installed in the impacted area. The project will also involve the installation of copper and HDPE service lines between the water main and each impacted home and the installation of meters and meter vaults, among other project elements.
SCWA’s contractor will first connect properties where water main currently exists and then prioritize water main installation on streets that have willing project participants and detections of perfluorinated compounds in private wells.
Installation of the water main is expected to take three months. Connecting service lines on private property will require the cooperation of residents and their communication with SCWA’s contractor.
Existing private wells will be disconnected from the internal plumbing of homes in the project area to prevent the possibility of cross-contamination with the public water system.
"I am pleased that through the cooperative efforts of the Town of East Hampton and the Suffolk County Water Authority to create a water district to install a water main, which will be the largest installation in Suffolk County in the last two decades, residents in the Wainscott area will have access to clean public drinking water," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. "I commend the diligent efforts of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, our colleagues at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health, to identify and address this emerging water quality issue."
"Every person has the right to expect clean drinking water," said State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. "The discovery of contamination from emerging chemicals in Wainscott was a direct threat to that right. All levels of government have partnered to quickly extend public water. This will insure that every person can turn on the tap in their home and be confident that their drinking water is safe. I have been pleased to work with the Suffolk County Water Authority and the Town of East Hampton on this project. I urge the governor to sign the legislation passed by Senator LaValle and myself so that the CPF can be used to offset the project cost to property taxpayers. I also urge the governor to approve funding from the $2.5 billion Water Infrastructure Bond Act for this project."
"The Suffolk County Water Authority’s top priority is protecting the health of all of our customers," said SCWA Board Member Mario Mattera. "And with this project, we’re going to protect the health of hundreds of new customers and ensure that the Wainscott community has a safe and high quality water supply for generations to come."
"Everyone is entitled to a drinking water supply that is safe and reliable, and this project will bring that peace of mind to Wainscott residents who had been relying on private wells," said
SCWA Board Member Tim Bishop. "I’m proud to be a part of this effective and efficient public works project."
SCWA and the Town of East Hampton have applied for grant funding under New York State’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act. If secured, the grant could fund a substantial portion of the cost of the project, estimated to be more than $24 million. The Town of East Hampton has established a water supply district in the impacted area and will fund the project initially through the issuance of bonds.
The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.