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Aug 21, 2018 3:21 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Installation Of New Water Mains Begins In Wainscott

The Suffolk County Water Authority began installing new water supply mains to homes in southern Wainscott as part of an effort funded by East Hampton Town to alleviate concerns about chemically tainted groundwater supplies in the area. Kyril Bromley
Aug 22, 2018 10:44 AM

Suffolk County Water Authority crews began installing new water mains on Windsor Lane in southern Wainscott on Monday morning.

It was the first step of an approximately four-month, $24 million project to install 45,000 feet of new mains and connect more than 500 homes to county water supplies in response to the discovery of chemical contamination of groundwater supplies in the area.

The crews started on Windsor Lane on Monday and were due to complete Roxbury Lane on Tuesday, Whitney Lane and Foxcroft Lane on Wednesday and Westwood Road and Lee Lane on Wednesday. The progression of the work is being prioritized by proximity to existing mains so that connections and water supply can be made as quickly as possible.

Groundwater across a broad swath of Wainscott has been found to be contaminated with chemicals used for decades in fire suppressant foams and water-repellent treatments for a wide variety of products, called perfluorinated compounds. Two of the compounds, known as PFOS and PFOA, have been detected in the well water of more than 180 homes in the area.

While the compounds are what is known as emerging contaminants, because the full extent of their potential threat to human health is not yet known, the town and the Suffolk County Water Authority have pledged to connect all the homes in the area where the contamination is found to county water, which is treated to remove those and other contaminants.

“We know how to deal with perfluorinated compounds at the water authority,” SWCA Chairman Jim Gaughran said, as a backhoe gouged a deep trench in the roadway behind him and a phalanx of elected officials gathered for the start of the work. “This is something that needs to be treated … so we are pleased to be able to play our part here in East Hampton to deal with this.”

The State Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating the possible source of the contamination and could present some of its findings as early as next month. Conventional wisdom has pointed to firefighting foams stored on town-owned lands at and around East Hampton Airport. Such foams have been fingered in other PFOS/PFOA contamination plumes nationwide.

The town has pledged to foot the entire bill for the water main project, taxing residents in the areas receiving new mains for the cost of running connection lines from their houses to the street and applying to the state for grants to cover portions of the rest.

The SCWA crews expect to be able to complete as much as 1,000 feet of new main installations each day, including repaving the streets atop the new water lines. Once the mains are installed it will take about two weeks of flushing and testing before homes can be connected. The water authority hopes to have all the work done by the end of the calendar year.

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Why the photo-op? Aren't they just doing their jobs?
By A Great American (54), East Quogue on Aug 21, 18 6:04 PM
1 member liked this comment
All those lined up on he left, facing the camera, are tragically late to work. They have known about this for two years.

By pluff (44), East Hampton on Aug 21, 18 6:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
All I see is 14 people getting paid waayyyyy more than they deserve.
By Preliator Lives (324), Obamavillie on Aug 22, 18 6:53 AM
1 member liked this comment
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