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Oct 24, 2017 2:46 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

County Health Department Expands Private Water Well Tests In Wainscott

A map showcasing the range of area where the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will be sampling private water wells. COURTESY SUFFOLK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
Oct 24, 2017 4:09 PM

The Suffolk County Health Department is expanding its tests of private wells in Wainscott in the wake of a water quality advisory earlier this month.

Wells near the East Hampton Airport were found to have levels of two chemical compounds, perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime health advisory level of 0.07 parts per billion.

After issuing the advisory on October 11, the department received phone calls from 107 homeowners requesting to have their wells tested. According to Gioia Knutson of the County Health Department, 269 properties near the airport in Wainscott Woods use private wells that could be contaminated.

As of Friday, the department had sampled 40 private wells without finding high traces of PFOS or PFOA, which belong to a class of chemical compounds called PFCs, or perfluorinated compounds.

One private well did contain another type of FPC, called perfluorononanoic acid, at a concentration that prompted the State Department of Health to recommend that it not be used for drinking or cooking, although there is no EPA health advisory for this compound, Ms. Knutson said in an email.

The department’s range of wells to survey included residences south of Industrial Road, north of Montauk Highway and between Town Line Road and Daniels Hole Road. This area includes residences on West Gate Road, Cow Hill Lane and Hedges Lane.

To help ease concerns about drinking water, the Town of East Hampton has offered to provide bottled water to these homeowners. According to Anne Bell, assistant to Supervisor Larry Cantwell, approximately 60 people have signed up to receive shipments of bottled water.

Although they are not federally regulated, PFCs have been identified as emerging contaminants by the EPA. The County Health Department started testing private wells in Wainscott after the State Department of Environmental Conservation learned that the airport had used or stored products that contained PFOS and PFOA. Such products include firefighting foam and coatings that repel water, oil, stains and grease.

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