Homeowners South of East Hampton Airport Urged to Have Water Tested

The Suffolk County Health Department's map of the area in which they're planning to test private wells.
The Suffolk County Health Department’s map of the area in which they’re planning to test private wells.

As part of a state-wide survey of facilities that may have used products containing carcinogens found in firefighting foam, non-stick cookware and fabric protectors, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has asked Suffolk County to test private wells surrounding the East Hampton Airport.

The County Health Department, which has to date found one private well near the airport with levels of the perfluorinated compounds PFOS/PFOA exceeding the EPA guideline of 70 parts per trillion, is asking residents surrounding the airport to sign up for water testing, and East Hampton Town, which owns the airport, is offering bottled water to residents surrounding the airport.

If your property is served by a private well, and your residence is located in the area bounded on the north by the East Hampton Airport, on the west by Town Line Road, on the south by Montauk Highway extending toward Merriwood Drive and on the east by Daniel’s Hole 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.

Homeowners whose houses are connected to public water do not need to have the water tested — it has been required to be tested for these substances on a routine basis since 2013.

If you use a private well for your drinking water and live in the survey area you may contact the Town of East Hampton Purchasing Department at 631.324.4183 or email jcarroza@ehamptonny.gov to receive bottled water. 

PFCs have been used in a number of industrial and commercial products including firefighting foam and coatings that repel water, oil, stains and grease. People may be exposed to PFOS and PFOA through air, water, or soil from industrial sources and from consumer products. 

According to the health department, “since the East Hampton Airport indicated (in the DEC survey) that it had used or stored products that may have contained PFOS and PFOA, the state requested that the Suffolk County Department of Health Services sample drinking water supplies near the airport.”

According to the health department, “PFOS and PFOA have been detected in some of the private wells that have been tested so far.  One private well had PFOS and PFOA detected above the USEPA lifetime health advisory level of 0.07 ppb.”

High levels of PFOs/PFOA have been found in private wells south of Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, the site of an active Air National Guard base where drills had historically been conducted using firefighting foam, which is used to smother fires fueled by petroleum products, particularly in the case of aircraft and vehicle fires.

More information on health hazards associated with perfluorinated compounds is online at the health department’s website at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health/pfcwaterinfo.

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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