The Suffolk County Water Authority announced today that it has broken ground on a project to extend more than 20,000 feet of water main to homes in Manorville impacted by PFAS contamination. The announcement comes after a year’s long effort by residents to get high quality public drinking water to the area. In 2017, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) began assessing private wells, which are used to supply the homes with drinking water and discovered the presence of the carcinogenic chemicals PFOA and PFOS.
SCWA Chairman Charles Lefkowitz remarked on the historic nature of this project, stating “These families have been living with the burden of unsafe drinking water for far too long. I am happy to report that safe, high quality drinking water is on the way. Thanks to the efforts of our federal elected officials, New York State and the Town of Brookhaven, this project is fully funded. Without their leadership, this may have never happened.”
The first phase of the project will extend water main along Halsey Manor Road to reach homes in the vicinity of Primrose Path. Construction is expected to take about three months to complete. In the next phase, SCWA will connect residents to its system and supply them with reliable, high-quality drinking water. In total, 116 homes could be connected through this project by the end of the year.
The project is funded by grants secured by SCWA. $3.5 million dollars from the US Environmental Protection Agency was made available by Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and former Representative Lee Zeldin. An additional $1.6 million Intermunicipal Grant is coming from New York State. Finally, the Town of Brookhaven has agreed to provide an additional $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. Without the $7.1 in grant funding, the project was expected to cost each resident tens of thousands of dollars.
In 2017, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services initiated an assessment of private supply wells in the area for PFOA and PFOS. Their testing showed the presence of the contaminant in levels above the current state standard of 10 parts per trillion.
PFOA and PFOS are fluorinated organic chemicals used in treatments to protect carpets, clothing, furniture fabrics, paper packaging for food and non-stick cookware. They are also used in firefighting foams. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, “human studies have found associations between PFOA and/or PFOS exposure and several types of health effects including the liver, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, human development (e.g., decreased birth weight), and cancer.”
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “This is a great day for clean drinking water in Manorville. For years I have worked with residents, advocates, and local leaders to bring federal funding for safe drinking water to Manorville families with contaminated water wells, providing $13.5 million in federal funds directly and through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Now, the project is underway, and I applaud the Suffolk County Water Authority and its partners for their work to bring secure, safe drinking water to these residents and all the residents they serve across Suffolk County.”
U.S. Congressman Andrew Garbarino said, “Preserving Long Islanders’ access to clean water is essential to meet the needs of population and economic growth in our communities. I am pleased to see this water main expansion moving forward in Manorville and I applaud the Suffolk County Water Authority and all those involved in bringing this project to fruition.”
New York State Senator Dean Murray said, "Ensuring all of our residents have a clean, high quality water supply is a top priority and I applaud all levels of government for working together to make this project a reality. In particular, I would like to thank the Suffolk County Water Authority, for their hard work and dedication. I'm excited that, very soon, hundreds of Manorville residents will have access to our top of the line public water system.”
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said, “For years, I have fought alongside Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico to bring clean water to the people of this community. Today, we are seeing the fruition of that work with the Suffolk County Water Authority bringing clean, public water to these Manorville residents after years of contamination threatening their private wells. Once this project is complete, the quality of drinking water will be vastly improved, and residents can be assured that they will have clean, uncontaminated water for years to come. I thank the Suffolk County Water Authority for taking this important step to improve the quality of life for our residents.”
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.