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Feb 20, 2018 5:55 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee Asks Town Board For Public Water

A map detailing the area where the Suffolk County Department of Health Services has been performing surveys of private water wells. COURTESY SUFFOLK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
Feb 20, 2018 3:47 PM

The Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee is asking the East Hampton Town Board for a helping hand in getting clean water.

The CAC sent a letter to the board on Wednesday, February 14, asking for assistance from Suffolk County and New York State in hooking up to clean public water in light of contaminated residential wells that have been discovered in the hamlet.

The letter comes after Town Board liaison Jeffrey Bragman said at a committee meeting on February 10 that another private well in Wainscott had been found to contain high levels of perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs.

According to an email on Friday from Grace Kelly-McGovern, public relations director of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, the chemical compounds now have been found in nine household wells near the East Hampton Airport in Wainscott, at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime health advisory level of 0.07 parts per billion.

Ms. Kelly-McGovern said that 109 other private wells in the area had readings of PFCs that were lower than the EPA cutoff levels.

The county department has been testing private wells in Wainscott since August and, because of the growing number of contaminated wells it found, expanded its survey last month to extend as far south as Wainscott Main Street.

Ms. Kelly-McGovern said that, as of February 15, 246 wells had been sampled, with results for 233 of those wells coming back and showing that 115 of those wells had no traces of PFCs.

“This is going to be a state effort to bring public water to Wainscott,” Mr. Bragman said at the Wainscott CAC meeting. “We’re still struggling to find a short-range solution.”

The CAC’s letter asks the Town Board to “persuade” homeowners and businesses in Wainscott to hook up to public water as soon as possible, provide point-of-entry well treatment systems to residents with contaminated wells who can’t access public water and mandate that Wainscott restaurants hook up to the public water supply immediately.

The letter also asks the Town Board to reach out to county and state officials for financial assistance to pay to connect to public water and install Suffolk County Water Authority mains throughout Wainscott.

“Obviously, the costs of such actions would be high,” the letter says. “However, it is only right that everyone in Wainscott should have access to safe, clean, potable water.”

Ms. Kelly-McGovern said that the State Department of Environmental Conservation is in the process of installing point-of-entry systems to the contaminated wells with high PFC levels. A point-of-entry system serves as a filter for a well, ridding the water of toxins before it enters a home’s individual water system.

As far as public water access, Ms. Kelly-McGovern said that “elected officials” are still discussing how and where funding for public water hookups in Wainscott access would come from.

Those interested in connecting to public water “on their own,” as Ms. Kelly-McGovern said, can contact the Suffolk County Water Authority to fill out an application. Meanwhile, the Town of East Hampton is still offering residents bottled water delivered to their homes, which can be arranged by contacting the Town Purchasing Department at 631-324-4183 or emailing jcarroza@ehamptonny.gov.

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