The Suffolk County Water Authority and the Town of East Hampton today jointly applied for grant funding under New York State’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 for a massive project designed to bring safe public water to more than 500 residents of Wainscott impacted by the detection of perfluorinated compounds in some private wells.
If secured, the grant would fund a substantial portion of the project cost, 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 through the issuance of bonds, with any grant funds subsequently awarded used for reimbursement. The project area is located south of East Hampton Airport, stretching to the Atlantic Ocean.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc initiated discussions about the water main extension project in early 2018, shortly after taking office. It has since been a high priority for both the Supervisor and SCWA to begin work as quickly as possible.
In total, approximately 45,000 feet of 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, as well as the installation of fire hydrants throughout the project area.
The project is expected to begin in early August.
"East Hampton Town has moved to address water contamination in Wainscott by providing bottled water deliveries, offering a rebate for water treatment systems, and establishing the Wainscott water supply district to secure safe water for residents," said Supervisor Van Scoyoc. "However, we must be vigilant in protecting our sole-source aquifer from contamination by reducing chemical use, and properly disposing of such products."
"We’re very happy to be able to help residents of Wainscott secure a drinking water supply that is safe and constantly tested for the presence of nearly of 400 chemicals, far more than we are required to test for," said SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo. "Additionally, Wainscott residents should know that our internal standards for water quality are more rigorous than regulations require."
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services confirmed the presence of pefluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in more than 100 private wells in the impacted area, with a small number showing detections over the health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. 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. The New York State Department of Health recommends that residents not use their private wells for irrigation purposes.
The Clean Water Infrastructure Act provided $2.5 billion for drinking water infrastructure projects and water quality protection across New York State. As part of the act, the New York State Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Program authorized the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation to provide at least $150 million in grants to help municipalities fund water quality infrastructure projects.
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 on a not-for-profit basis.