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Apr 11, 2018 5:51 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

County To Test More Than 100 Private Wells After Contamination Is Found In East Quogue

The Damascus Road landfill. VALERIE GORDON
Apr 18, 2018 1:42 PM

Suffolk County on Monday began testing the private drinking water wells of more than 100 homes near a former municipal landfill in East Quogue after state officials detected elevated levels of two chemicals in a monitoring well last week.

One of three monitoring wells was installed by the state in January near the former Southampton Town landfill, located at the end of Damascus Road in the hamlet, which has been closed for nearly three decades. It was found to contain 11.62 parts per billion of perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, according to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that concentrations of more than 0.07 parts per billion, or ppb, could pose a risk to those who consume drinking water tainted by the chemicals. The reading at the monitoring well was more than 100 times that level.

The same chemicals, which state environmental officials previously stated are typically found in fire suppression foam, were found in significant concentrations in Westhampton, Hampton Bays and Wainscott in recent months.

On Monday, Suffolk County Health Department officials began testing the drinking water of some of the estimated 106 private wells located near the former landfill that they think could be potentially contaminated by the chemicals, according to Grace Kelly-McGovern, public relations director for the county office. She added that as of 4:30 p.m. on Monday, more than 47 people had contacted the county about getting their wells tested.

“That’s a number that’s changing every hour,” Ms. Kelly-McGovern said, noting that there will be no charge for the testing.

Charles Mason, an East Quogue homeowner whose house sits adjacent to the vacant landfill, said he had his well tested Tuesday morning, adding that the results could take up to six weeks to arrive.

“That’s another thing that’s concerning,” Mr. Mason said. “It seems like there’s a very slow response on poisonous water.”

Another Damascus Road resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added, “We’re not happy.”

Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone said that bottled water is being provided free of charge to homeowners in the affected area. But Mr. Mason argued that the six gallons provided by the town is simply not enough for his family of eight.

“All of them have been drinking this water for years, so that’s definitely a concern,” Mr. Mason said, adding that another concern is how much the contamination has devalued his property. “This is basically our retirement.”

Mr. Zappone said last week that town workers were immediately sent to the area after the town received notification of the contamination on Wednesday, April 11, to personally hand out notices to residents who live north by Woodleigh Place and Damascus Road, west by Quogue Riverhead Road and Heatherwood Lane, and east by Lewis Road and Walker Avenue. He also encouraged those residents to contact the Suffolk County Health Department’s Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810 to have their wells tested as soon as possible.

The former Damascus Road landfill, which is no longer in operation but still owned by the town, was originally used as a dumping ground for debris, particularly after storms, according to Mr. Zappone. He added that the town stopped using the facility almost 30 years ago. Roughly 25 years ago, he said, there was discussion about possibly transforming the now vacant property into a park, but that idea never got off the ground due to a lack of community support.

The contamination was discovered after the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the State Department of Health decided to start evaluating various sites, including former and now inactive landfills, for both PFOS and PFOA, described as emerging contaminants that are still unregulated by the federal government. The chemicals are found in a number of industrial and commercial products, including firefighting foam and coatings that repel water, oil, stains and grease, according to county health officials.

Those who fall within the affected area can request free bottled water by calling Southampton Town Hall at 631-283-6055 or 631-287-5745.

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And they still want a golf course off Lewis Rd. to add even more chemicals, pesticides and nitrogen! DUH!
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Apr 12, 18 10:00 AM
2 members liked this comment
... the DEC put a sign at Weesuck Creek prohibiting removal of shellfish from the water.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Apr 12, 18 10:38 AM
According to the DEC website, it is all creeks and canals located along the shoreline of Shinnecock Bay and Tiana Bay at Quogue, East Quogue, Pine Neck, West Tiana, Tiana, Springville and Ponquogue. If you look at the maps on their website it's almost all of the creeks and canals in the County.

By cmac (184), East Quogue on Apr 12, 18 12:43 PM
Some info from a day spent gathering info:

The Town will have water available for pickup at the Hampton Bays Senior Center between 8AM and 4PM starting tomorrow. Anyone who is unable to pick up water can call the Town at 631-287-5745 and they will deliver it.

Suffolk County anticipates sending someone out to collect water samples in about 2 weeks. Those samples will then be shipped to a lab in California and it will be approximately a month before you receive results. So 6 weeks ...more
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Apr 12, 18 4:18 PM
Only $3000? Well, gee, if THAT'S all, I'm sure everyone will get one tomorrow
By 2329702 (67), East Quogue on Apr 13, 18 10:01 AM
Is this Nancy Pelosi or are you being sarcastic....or am I being sarcastic?
By DiseaseDiocese (668), Riverhead on Apr 13, 18 1:31 PM
I don't have an extra three grand lying around so my fingers are crossed that our well is okay. I was just providing that info for anyone who was interested because I called a few companies and asked. I was hoping there would be a less expensive fix, but no such luck.
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Apr 13, 18 6:10 PM
Here we go again...people move here and then begin complaining about how we do things around here. NIMBYism at it's worst.

First they came for the racetrack then they came for dumping grounds...what's next!? sheesh.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Apr 13, 18 9:28 AM
1 member liked this comment