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Feb 23, 2018 4:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Water District Files Lawsuit Over Well Contamination

The Hampton Bays water tower.    PRESS FILE
Feb 28, 2018 10:32 AM

An attorney for the Hampton Bays Water District and Southampton Town filed a lawsuit this week against five manufacturers of aqueous firefighting foams that also contain the pair of chemicals that have contaminated drinking water wells in Hampton Bays.

Filed on February 21 in Suffolk County Supreme Court, the complaint charges that the five manufacturers—the 3M Company in Delaware, Buckeye Fire Protection Company in North Carolina, Chemguard Inc. and Tyco Fire Products in Wisconsin, and National Foam Inc. in Pennsylvania—knew that the two chemicals posed a health risk.

Both chemicals—perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA—were recently found in three of the water district’s 11 wells, according to authorities. Robert King, superintendent of the Hampton Bays Water District, has said that the wells were turned off after the contamination was detected and remained so as of this week.

The water district is seeking to recover “substantial past and future damages”—the complaint does not list an exact dollar amount—for the cost of cleaning up the contamination that the State Department of Environmental Conservation is blaming on the firefighting foam. The foam often was used for firefighter training and putting out gas fires, according to the complaint filed by the Melville-based law firm Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, which was retained by the town in the fall.

Since the contamination was discovered last year, the Town Board, which serves as the commissioners of the water district, allowed the district to spend $1 million to install carbon filtration systems on the affected wells. The work is expected to begin within the next week and to be completed by June, according to Mr. King.

The same manufacturing companies have come under fire in recent months following the discovery of additional PFOS and PFOA contamination on the South Fork.

Last year, the Suffolk County Water Authority filed two separate federal lawsuits in the Eastern District Court of New York against the same five firms for contamination by the same chemicals. That lawsuit was in response to the contamination of private wells in Westhampton and Westhampton Beach, as well as on Quiogue, that was traced back to firefighting foam used on the Air National Guard base at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton.

In January, reports showed that 63 contaminated wells near the East Hampton Airport in Wainscott had traces of PFOS and PFOA. No lawsuits have been filed.

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.

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How about a suit against HBFD?
By el kabong (2), Hampton Bays on Feb 23, 18 6:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
How can you sue a company that may have never supplied products to the HB FD??? Sue everyone in case they may have provided a product???
Go after the manufacturer of the products purchased... People get real, sue, sue,sue..
Just getting tired of suing everyone, do your home work...
By knitter (1865), Southampton on Feb 23, 18 7:16 PM
First rule of thumb is sue the biggest pockets, and who's got bigger pockets than government?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (7696), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 23, 18 7:49 PM
Let's see. The Hampton Bays Water District is run bye someone on the fire Commissioners board. So him and his buddies are negligent in the storage of the product but the district he's in charge of is going to sue the chemical company? This is what happens when everybody's buddy gets a job for the government. No accountability, no experience, and now a lawsuit against an innocent third party. Will the superintendent get fired? Of course not that only happens in the real world
By chief1 (2770), southampton on Feb 24, 18 10:34 AM
OMG. Only in this piggly wiggly town would this be accept s.
By Donna T (11), Hampton bays on Feb 24, 18 12:49 PM
It's a genius move. Next the Hampton Bays Concerned Citizens will sue the manufacturers of flush toilets for the pollution from the overflowing Cove Motel septic tanks.
By dfree (787), hampton bays on Feb 25, 18 8:41 AM
So Why are they not using the $1million to fix this Now??!!
By Bugal (14), Hampton Bays on Feb 26, 18 8:49 AM
Where has it been proved the contamination has even come from the HBFD? In my opinion it seems the hb water district is just following suit with what suffolk water authority is doing by filing against the manufacturers of the chemical.
By Bob174 (3), Hampton bays on Feb 26, 18 6:31 PM
What a crock of Sh**. The EPA comes up with a guideline that says over 70 parts per trillion of this foam is contamination. The water district measures 72 and 74 parts per trillion of the chemical in the water system ( a very small amount). The LIRR tracks separate the fire house from the tanks. For years the railroad ties were soaked in rot prevention chemicals and no contamination has been detected. The Suffolk County Health Department says at a 2017 meeting the amounts of the fire foam chemical ...more
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Mar 1, 18 2:17 PM