hamptons local events, express news group

Story - News

Dec 1, 2017 10:40 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County Water Authority Files Complaints Over Chemical Contamination Of Public Water Sources

Dec 6, 2017 10:40 AM

The Suffolk County Water Authority has filed two separate lawsuits in the Eastern District Court of New York against the companies that manufactured products that leached possibly carcinogenic chemicals into public drinking wells, including those in Westhampton and Westhampton Beach, and on Quiogue.

The SCWA filed the suits on November 30 as part of an effort to secure reimbursement for the costs removing from the groundwater a pair of chemicals—perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)—that authorities believe will eventually be traced back to firefighting foam, as well as 1,4-Dioxane, a colorless liquid commonly referred to as dioxane that is associated with industrial greasers, laundry detergent and common household items like soap.

While the projected cleanup costs are unspecified, the removal of dioxane alone could end up costing “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to a statement from the SCWA.

The dangerous chemicals come from two different sources, according to authorities.

The PFOS and PFOA are believed to originate in foam frequently used in firefighting exercises, including those held on the Air National Guard base at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton starting back in the 1970s. The complaint names the 3M Company, Buckeye Fire Equipment Company, Chemguard Inc., Tyco Fire Products LP and National Foam, Inc. for knowingly distributing materials that contained these chemicals.

ANG officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The production of PFOS and PFOA was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2002, but traces of the chemicals remain in the water. The New York State Clean Water Infrastructure Act now requires all New York-based water systems to test for the contaminants.

County officials, who did not say where the dioxane pollution was detected, are suing several companies that utilize the chemical including Dow Chemical Company, Ferro Corporation, Vulcan Materials Corporation, Proctor & Gamble and Shell Oil Company for similar negligence.

According the SCWA, all three of these chemicals have the potential to cause cancer.

Tim Hopkins, general counsel for SCWA, explained this week that the lawsuit launches a “discovery process” where each side presents all of the information and evidence that they have. “It will take years and years,” he said of the discovery process, and the lawsuits in general.

Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming said she supports the decision to sue the chemical manufacturers and seek reimbursement for upcoming remediation costs.

“Eradication of toxins in groundwater must continue to be a top priority,” she said on Wednesday. “At the same time, it is unacceptable for the residents of the affected communities to bear these cleanup costs.

“The companies linked to these contaminants must take responsibility,” she added.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

And why are these products not banned in the County? They are being used as we speak by most fire departments on Long Island.
By knitter (1940), Southampton on Dec 4, 17 2:35 PM