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Sep 6, 2017 1:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Water District Shuts Off Two Wells After Contamination Is Found

The Hampton Bays Water Authority.
Sep 6, 2017 1:05 PM

The Hampton Bays Water District shut down two of its wells in the past year after routine testing detected traces of a pair of unregulated chemicals, pollution that the State Department of Environmental Conservation suspects will eventually be traced to firefighting foam used during training exercises at the hamlet’s Montauk Highway firehouse.

Robert King, superintendent of the water district and a commissioner with the Hampton Bays Fire District, said on Wednesday that both wells were voluntarily taken out of service when testing revealed the presence of two chemicals—perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA.

They are the same chemicals found in firefighting foam, formerly used in training, that authorities say are to blame for contaminating more than 100 private wells near and around Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton. That contamination was discovered last year.

The Hampton Bays wells, according to Mr. King, contained “slightly” more than the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit of 0.07 parts per billion, or ppb, for the two chemicals in drinking water. He noted that testing revealed that the water contained 0.073 ppb.

One well was shut down in July, while another was shut down more than a year ago, Mr. King said. Both wells are located between 100 and 150 yards south of the Hampton Bays Fire Department’s main firehouse on Montauk Highway.

In the interim, water district customers will continue to be served by nine other water district wells that presently meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for PFOS and PFOA, according to the district.

Hampton Bays Water District residents were notified about the contamination in a letter mailed to customers last month.

The DEC said it intends to investigate the 2 acres that the Hampton Bays firehouse stands on, adding in a statement that the land could ultimately qualify as a “potential Superfund site.” Superfund sites refer to properties that have been contaminated by hazardous waste and identified by the EPA as a candidate for cleanup because it poses a risk to human health or the environment.

Agency officials think that the pollution will ultimately be traced back to firefighting foam that, according to Mr. King, was used in the past to extinguish gasoline-fueled fires.

“[The] DEC will conduct an investigation of the site in the event that the fire district fails to investigate if the property is the source of PFOS found in nearby public supply wells,” reads the DEC statement, in part. “[The] DEC is currently confirming that the fire district does not plan to undertake a site characterization investigation and is making preparations for the state to do so this fall.”

Though the DEC notes that firefighting foam is the likely culprit, the chemicals in question can also be found in various industrial products, such as water-resistant coatings, oils, stains and certain greases, according to a fact sheet released by Suffolk County. Mr. King said the foam has been used by the fire department since before he signed up as a volunteer firefighter 25 years ago.

He explained that the district’s nine other drinking water wells are picking up the slack created by the shutting down of the two wells. He noted that he plans to ask the Southampton Town Board, whose members serve as commissioners of the water district, for permission to install carbon filtration systems on the contaminated wells. Mr. King noted that the district already has the funds set aside to purchase the granular activated carbon filters.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Even though they have set acceptable standards for PFOS and PFOA levels in drinking water, health officials across the board note that not enough is known about the potential hazard of long-term ingestion of either chemical.

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How come the public is only finding out about this now? Maybe that's why I developed breast cancer in 2006.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Sep 6, 17 2:08 PM
I would like to know how this would effect a person who for example has been drinking the coffee from the Hampton Bays Dunkin Donuts 3 times a day for the last 10 years
By local 84 (353), riverhead on Sep 6, 17 2:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
They would have $27,000 less to put towards medical bills.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Sep 6, 17 2:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
VOS, I assume that was sarcasm ? surly someone as opposed as you are to a project like The Hills could not think this was a joking matter,
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Sep 6, 17 2:45 PM
Unless maybe he is also the Fire Chief ?
By local 84 (353), riverhead on Sep 6, 17 2:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Your reading comprehension is abysmal.

And don't call me "surly"(sic.)
By VOS (1241), WHB on Sep 6, 17 2:55 PM
It seems like a legitimate question. Has this stuff been in all the soft drinks, coffee and everything the people of HB have consumed from non-filtered restaurant sources for the last god-knows-how-long. It's a good thing the Hampton Bays fire department is so rich becuase this could be a class action suit!
By widow gavits (219), sag harbor on Sep 6, 17 3:06 PM
Water has so much dam Manganese in it i stopped drinking it years ago. the water authority says the level is safe, but i had it tested by an outside source who told me it is harmful at the levels in my tap. i would love have a the true definitive answer to what is really in out water here in HB. One thing is for sure if the FD is involved in the problem good luck getting to the bottom of this!
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Sep 6, 17 2:40 PM
3 members liked this comment
How can I go about getting my water tested and about how much does it cost? Thanks.

By baywoman (165), southampton on Sep 6, 17 10:27 PM
To Baywoman. I highly recommend using John Hallman Water testing out of Shelter Island (631) 749-0195

Also any water filtration company such as GNS Mermaid (631)298-4278
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Sep 7, 17 7:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By dany (33), Water Mill on Sep 7, 17 5:17 PM
By baywoman (165), southampton on Sep 7, 17 9:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Two acre superfund site .........something new to point out to our tourists as they take the down town trolley tour.Perhaps a good time to consider moving the firehouse to a location west of it's present location....one well was shut down over a year ago......why the delay in installing the carbon filtration system?Hope the town board will give us the answer,
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Sep 6, 17 3:42 PM
"Hope the Board will give us the answer" - seriously? the board will sweep everything under the rug for as long as they can and then stand in righteous indignation when called out on something. Didn't John Bouvier run on a platform of water quality....I guess only water quality in WHB is his concern. The apartheid in HB is just not his concern...beneath him...let them eat cake.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Sep 6, 17 4:12 PM
Schneiderman could not be reached for comment? Where is our leader in our time of need? Nothing to say...bad, very bad.
By Marrrmin (17), Hampton bays on Sep 6, 17 4:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Robert King, superintendent of the water district and a commissioner with the Hampton Bays Fire District, " that's all you need to know.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Sep 6, 17 6:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Outrageous that this has gone on for over a year and we just hear about it now. Sure keep it quiet while the fire department tries to buy more property. Some bunch of "leaders" in town.
By joeg (31), Hampton Bays on Sep 6, 17 8:23 PM
Has anyone received a written notice fro the Water Dist?

By aging hipster (201), Southampton on Sep 7, 17 9:05 AM
By Genuin (26), Hampton Bays on Sep 7, 17 9:23 AM
Is this why we got the call for odd even watering?
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Sep 7, 17 9:57 AM
Hampton Bays water S.U.C.K.S ! I filled pool in Squiretown area 2 years ago from O to 23000 gallons and water was REDISH. I called them and they said -we know one well is pumping too much IRON and will shut down now that is autumn but next spring will open again!-sic!!! They didn't charged me for the RED water that I put tons of chemicals to clean and next year I called again when I saw RED residues and asked them to shut the IRON WELL for good and they said- nobody knows only you and nobody complaints ...more
By dany (33), Water Mill on Sep 7, 17 5:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
same problem here it has ruined my pool liner, I can only imagine what it does to my pipes and health
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Sep 7, 17 7:48 PM
It's called hemochromatosis.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 10, 17 7:00 PM
Toxicology data[edit]
PFOA is a carcinogen, a liver toxicant, a developmental toxicant, and an immune system toxicant, and also exerts hormonal effects including alteration of thyroid hormone levels.[33] Animal studies show developmental toxicity from reduced birth size, physical developmental delays, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality.[50][99] PFOA alters lipid metabolism.[50] It is an agonist of PPARα and is a peroxisome proliferator in rodents contributing to a well understood ...more
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Sep 8, 17 9:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
Have the wells near East Quogue Fire Dept locations been checked??????????
By Taz (725), East Quogue on Sep 8, 17 11:04 AM
I knew something was in the water in HB
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 8, 17 4:55 PM