The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is looking to sample private wells in Westhampton as part of its ongoing efforts to find groundwater contaminants historically found in firefighting foam, stain blockers and non-stick cookware.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, through monitoring conducted under its Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, recently found the compound perfluorooctane sulfonate, known as PFOS, at a low level in a public water supply well near Old Country Road in Westhampton.
Though the PFOS levels in the public well did not exceed the EPA lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion, the Suffolk County Health Department, in consultation with the New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation, initiated a private well survey in the vicinity of the public well in late December 2017.
The health department is looking for help from the public in testing the private water supply in the area.
As of late January, 55 properties were identified within the survey areas that are potentially served with private wells. The health department says PFOS and PFOA have been detected in some of the private wells that have been tested so far and one private well had PFOS and PFOA detected above the EPA lifetime health advisory level of 70 ppt.
According to the EPA, exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants, cancer, immune effects, and thyroid effects.
If your property is served by a private well, and your residence is located in the area bounded on the east by Beaverdam Creek, on the south by Moriches Bay, on the west by the Speonk River or within approximately one mile north of Old Country Road, contact the Suffolk County Department of Health Services Office of Water Resources at 631.852.5810 so that your well can be tested free of charge.
The New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratory will test the samples for PFOS and PFOA.
As a precaution while the sampling effort is underway, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will provide bottled water free of charge to residents in the private well survey area described above.
New York State DEC will also provide Point of Entry Treatment systems to interested property owners with well water detections above the USEPA lifetime health advisory level. If you use a private well for your drinking water and live in the survey area you may call 631.852.4820 to schedule a delivery of bottled water.
Homes connected to a public water supply do not need to have their water tested. These supplies are routinely tested, and the public drinking water supply in the area is below the USEPA lifetime health advisory level of 70 ppt.
Residents who are unsure if they are served by public water can call the Suffolk County Water Authority at 631.698.9500.
Residents with general questions about health effects of PFOS are advised to call the New York State Water Quality Hotline: 1.800.801.8092, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For additional information about PFOS and PFOA, visit the Suffolk County Department of Health Services website.