The mission of the Suffolk County Water Authority is to provide safe drinking water to the residents of Suffolk County. The Authority serves 1.2 million Suffolk County residents; however, approximately 25,000 residents remain on private drinking water wells not connected to a public supplier. Many of these wells are threatened by harmful compounds. As New York State has set standards for emerging contaminants like the perfluorinated compounds PFOS and PFOA and looks to regulate additional emerging contaminants, the Authority has over the last few years aggressively connected the communities of Yaphank, Speonk, Wainscott and Westhampton.
The Authority’s effort to bring safe drinking water to those still on private wells has taken on a new urgency with the recent availability of federal and state funds.
Late last year, the Authority created a new division to develop a strategic plan to connect residents on private wells and seek federal and state funds to reduce the costs. It was recently announced that the federal government via the efforts of Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Lee Zeldin had secured money for a private well connection project in Manorville. The Authority is optimistic this project will begin this summer.
In anticipation of additional federal funding, SCWA is submitting an application for approximately $5.1 million for another connection project on South River Road in Calverton just west of the Suffolk County Center. Sampling at this location has indicated perfluorinated compounds that exceed the state standard.
“It is, quite simply, our mission to make our water, which is tested around the clock and held to internal standards for quality more protective than regulators require, available to anyone in the county who would like to have it,” said SCWA Chairman Patrick Halpin. “And so this new division will bring a laser focus to an area of our work that was always been important to us. And this effort is facilitated by the greater availability of state and federal funds.”
The Customer Growth division has begun mapping out priority areas to begin direct personal outreach. Priority areas include neighborhoods with contamination that are currently being monitored by the Suffolk County Health Department.
This division plans to make sure residents on private wells realize that connecting to public water can save money, raise the value of their home and has never been more affordable. The average private well owner in Suffolk County can connect to public water for as low as $70 a month, which is only about $2.26 a day.
SCWA now also offers low cost financing for up to 25 years to make public water very affordable and available to those would like it.
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.