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May 1, 2018 6:29 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Speaker Has Warnings For Wainscott Residents Worried About Water Contamination

Kim Shipman, right, is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed against the town and six chemical companies.   MICHAEL WRIGHT
May 1, 2018 3:49 PM

A water specialist told residents of Wainscott this weekend that he would recommend against bathing or cooking with the water from their wells if they have been found to contain the chemicals PFOS or PFOA, as more than 100 have in the hamlet in recent months.

“These chemicals are dangerous—I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” said Paul Trafas, whose company, AquaFuture Inc., makes household water filters. “You don’t want to shower with this stuff. You don’t want to drink it. It bio-accumulates.”

Mr. Trafas said that he would even be wary about swimming in a swimming pool filled with water contaminated with PFOS/PFOA levels above 10 parts per trillion.

The official Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level for the chemicals, formally known as perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, is 90 parts per trillion. Nine homes in Wainscott have been found to have levels of the chemicals above that level, and another 131 wells have been found to have traces of the chemicals below the health advisory level.

Mr. Trafas had been invited to the gathering of Wainscott residents on Sunday afternoon by attorney Dan Osborn, who has filed a class-action lawsuit against East Hampton Town and six companies that manufacture chemical fire suppressants believed to be the source of the contamination discovered in Wainscott well water this past fall and winter.

Mr. Osborn told the residents, all of whom are potentially plaintiffs in the case, that among the demands he was making in the claim was that there be medical monitoring of residents for years to come—including blood tests to look for signs of PFOS/PFOA in their systems—to track medical conditions they may develop that could be caused by the presence of PFOS/PFOA in their water.

Mr. Trafas, whose Ronkonkoma-based company makes water filters, noted that the chemicals can be effectively scrubbed out of a property’s tap water with carbon filters attached at the home’s well connection, or with under-the-sink reverse osmosis systems. The whole-house systems can cost upward of $5,000, he said, but Mr. Osborn said that the intention of the lawsuit would be to ensure that any residents who put forward the money for such systems in their homes will be reimbursed.

Councilman Jeff Bragman said that he is also pushing for the town itself to create a fund to reimburse residents immediately for the costs of installing filtration systems.

The town is also working on plans to extend Suffolk County Water Authority mains throughout the entire hamlet. The town is expected to vote this week to create an official Wainscott water district, so that the town can apply for federal and state grants to help fund the water mains project.

Mr. Osborn said that the lawsuit also seeks damages for residents for loss of property values, both for sales and for summer rentals.

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Dear Michael,

Thank you for your coverage of the drinking water contamination crisis.
The EPA Health Advisory is 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS. If a home has a PFOA contamination reading of 35 ppt and a PFOS reading of 37 ppt, for example, this would exceed the EPA threshold.

Many states deem the EPA limit to be insufficient. New Jersey, for example, has a Health-based Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) for PFOS of 13 ppt and in Minnesota ...more
By SiKinsella (2), Sydney, Australia on May 3, 18 12:44 PM
While I laud Mr. Bragman for doing something to help these residents, I’m not sure why the taxpayers will be asked to pay - and not the corporations who obviously knowingly caused the contamination. I mean, you can’t just drop contaminants into the ground and not expect it to cause damage.
Does Mr. Bragman plan to have these bad actors reimburse the town’s for whatever amounts are used for remediation.
By sak (5), sag harbor on May 3, 18 1:48 PM
Union carbide had to provide filters for wells contaminated with temik.

By AL (68), southampton on May 10, 18 9:51 AM
1 member liked this comment