East Hampton to Provide Rebates for Water Filtration in Contaminated Wainscott Wells, Will Hold Public Meeting on A New Water District

A map of the proposed boundaries of the Wainscott Water Supply District. A high-resolution version of the map is online here.

Residents of Wainscott whose private wells have been found to contain perfluorinated chemicals in any amount, and who install an in-home “Point of Entry Treatment” system will be eligible for a rebate of up to 90 percent of the cost, or a maximum of $3,000.

East Hampton Town is working with the Suffolk County Water Authority to have public water mains extended through the hamlet to ensure a continual source of clean drinking water – a $24 million project that is expected to be complete by the end of 2018 – and has provided bottled water to affected residents.

But a public health concern over exposure to the chemicals, known as PFCs, (in particular PFOA and PFOS), has prompted the immediate establishment of the rebate program.

Perfluorinated chemicals, particularly PFOA and PFOS, were once found in a wide variety of products, including degreasers and lubricants, carpet cleaning products, and firefighting foam.

They are deemed “emerging contaminants” by federal and state environmental agencies, which have established a “health advisory level” for exposure to the compounds at 70 parts per trillion.

According to East Hampton Town, lab results on water from Wainscott wells have found levels both above and below the health advisory level. 

A special public hearing on the establishment of a Wainscott Water Supply District will be held at East Hampton Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 21.

The Water Supply District would encompass the Wainscott hamlet, stretching from Industrial Road on the north to Town Line Road on the west, Daniel’s Hole Road and Georgica Pond on the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

A fact sheet as well as a draft map of the water supply district can be found on the East Hampton Town website here.

A state of emergency declaration made last week by East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc provides the legal authority for the town to make the funds for the filtration and water main extension available.

The town will issue bonds to pay for the cost of the water main project, and is working to secure grant funding to offset the cost to taxpayers.

“To address serious concerns about well contamination in Wainscott, while we extend public water, the town board is making the funds available to reimburse residents who install treatment systems in households where chemicals have been detected,” said Mr. Van Scoyoc. “Clean water remains a number-one concern for the town board, whether it is drinking water or the health of our surface waters. We will continue to respond to any threats and to work to safeguard clean water.”

Detections of the perfluorinated chemicals both above and below a “health advisory level” have been found in an ongoing well testing program, and a state investigation is underway into the source or sources of the chemicals.

Qualifying Wainscott residents who are interested in taking advantage of this program should contact the East Hampton Town Purchasing Department, at 631.324.4183, for more details.

 

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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