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Jun 28, 2018 1:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Strain On Hampton Bays Water District Caused By Out Of Service Wells

Water conditions on Wednesday morning. COURTESY HAMPTON BAYS HOMEOWNERS
Jul 3, 2018 3:19 PM

Hampton Bays residents looking to water their lawns are now required to do so on alternating days, due to an overwhelming strain on the Hampton Bays Water District’s system.

And some residents have been greeted in the morning with black, murky water in their sinks and showers—a trend that Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said will likely continue until the hamlet’s downtown well field is up and running in mid-July.

The district’s superintendent, Rob King, said last week that the demand on the system is exacerbated by the district’s three out-of-service wells, which were shut down last year after traces of two unregulated chemicals—perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA—were found. Each of the wells typically produce 17,000 gallons of water per minute, Mr. King said. The water district has 11 wells in total.

Until further notice, hamlet residents are being asked to preserve water, and mandated to water lawns only on alternating days: those with an even street address may water their lawns on even-numbered calendar days, and vice-versa, according to a Southampton Town press release.

“Between sprinkler systems and washing cars, there is such a demand on the system due to having three wells that are out of service,” said Mr. King, who also serves as a commissioner with the Hampton Bays Fire Department.

The three wells have been inoperable for nearly a year while a $1 million carbon filtration system is being installed. The filters, Mr. King said, would remove the contaminants from the drinking water.

Ironically, the project is being funded with a $1.1 million settlement that the Hampton Bays Water District received several years ago when traces of methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE—a colorless liquid commonly found in gasoline—was found in the aquifer that supplies the water district.

Although the filtration system is “largely complete,” water samples from each of the out-of-service wells must first be analyzed, which could take approximately two weeks, according to the press release.

Last year, testing of the three wells revealed that the water contained 73 parts per trillion, or ppt, of the contaminants, which is “slightly” more than the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit of 70 ppt.

When reached last week, Mr. King said he anticipated that the treatment system would be up and running this week.

“I certainly had every intention of that being completed by the Fourth of July weekend—it’s unfortunate that it’s not finished,” Mr. Schneiderman added. “As soon as those well fields come on, the problem will go away.”

In the meantime, he suggested that hamlet residents, particularly those living near Springville Road and Rampasture Road—which are closest to the three out-of-service wells—limit their water use, and even use bottled water for drinking. “Maybe keep a bottle of water in the fridge,” he said.

Seemingly making matters worse, on Wednesday, June 27, crews from the water district began flushing fire hydrants south of Springville Road, according to Mr. King, adding to the discoloration and sediment issue.

He explained that the discoloration is caused by residual iron particles left in the water mains, which were most recently flushed in April. He stressed that the flushing of the hydrants was in no way connected to PFOA or PFOS contamination found in the water, and poses no health risk.

“Without the well field in operation, water from other well fields are moving through the system and dislodging iron particles at a higher velocity, creating the water discoloration,” the press release read.

Still, some residents are skeptical, claiming that if the discoloration was caused by iron, the water coming out of their faucets would be a rust color, not black.

In response, Mr. Schneiderman said: “Iron can definitely appear black. Think about your cast iron skillet—what color is it?”

However, Hampton Bays resident Dena Janesh said she has been unhappy with the district’s water quality since she moved to the area in June 2017.

To protect her family, including her husband and 5-year-old son, when she moved into her home, she installed an Aquasana whole-house water treatment system and a reverse osmosis system on her kitchen faucet—both of which had filters covered in “black sludge” last week.

“I have to replace all my filters, and they’re hundreds of dollars,” she said. “Water is life—if you don’t have good water, you can get really sick.”

Stacy Belvedere, who has lived in Hampton Bays for approximately 12 years, is equally as concerned.

“Everybody is so scared of this water,” she said. “We feel like we’re not being told the truth about what’s going on with the water.”

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How is the town letting the residents know about the alternating watering days?
By Donna T (11), Hampton bays on Jul 3, 18 12:07 PM
I got a phone message
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 9:35 AM
SHTB is responsible as the HBWD reports to it. Again, they have little care or skill to handle this. You have the person who runs the department (and not show up to report to the SHTB), they send a flunky to respond to the SHTB. This is same person who is a no show in a leadership roll that is part fault with the HBFD.

The HBWD leadership needs to be fired and department needs to report to SCWD.
By Hamptonsway (107), Southampton on Jul 4, 18 5:15 PM
Lung Guyland residents have been poisioning the groundwater for decades, this problem is only going to get worse. The south fork sorely needs a Municipal Wastewater Treatement Plant but I don't want one near my house.
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Jul 3, 18 12:24 PM

Save our Bays! Save our Water! But not by me.
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 9:35 AM
As of 12:25 PM on July 3, 2018 there isn't even anything on their website. When we called yesterday to find out what was going on they talked as if it was no big deal and blamed the residents for using their sprinklers too much. I don't know about anyone else, but since we had such a rainy spring, I didn't even turn my sprinklers on until June 9th (and I use well water so it doesn't matter). We were told to wait until after 11:00 am for clean water - so I guess you can't shower before going to ...more
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 18 12:31 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Jul 3, 18 12:52 PM
Maybe there's no info on website because it's summer and they're at the beach or protesting
By Win sky (58), Southampton on Jul 3, 18 3:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
This is the result of how things go wrong when you hire friends and relatives. Does anyone working there have a biology background? Same idiots that run out of parts constantly. Time to sell to the SCWA
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 3, 18 5:04 PM
Who's the captain of the ship???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jul 3, 18 5:17 PM
This is a serious situation,I called the HBWD and was given the usual run around,wait till after 11am,the people are using sprinklers,they are washing their cars,we are pumping at our limit,the water is safe.I would not drink it,buy bottled water,its safe dont drink it.The State has to come to our water district and have a look at our Commissioners role I feel they have failed.Water is a basic need and a Town that is NOT able to deliver this basic service should be investigated..why are you all ...more
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Jul 3, 18 7:54 PM
Superintendent Schneiderman: Tell me again about how we should accept a new 18 hole golf course and a luxury 299 home development over the last watershed south of the LIE...oh, wait that's East Quogue, not Hampton Bays a completely different water district so there's no way one influences the other. Let's build it! Add some low income housing too, that's always a good idea.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jul 3, 18 9:10 PM
In response, Mr. Schneiderman said: “Iron can definitely appear black. Think about your cast iron skillet—what color is it? ”Schneidermann is an idiot. The black coating is the season. It's a thin layer of burnt on polymerized oil. It's what protects the pan from rust and gives it it's more nonstick properties. What nonsense from the Moron In Charge.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 7:42 AM
We live in the most beautiful and prestigious place in the world catering to the rich and famous and yet our own government doesn't have the decency to notify the local hardworking citizens that a basic amenity such as water is contaminated. My 2 year old son has been bathing and drinking water that could potentially harm him for years to come. Our future is at risk and it's sad. Our government can pull out all the stops to host thousands of people for the US Open and prepare for years for a few ...more
By ConcernedHBMom (2), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 8:33 AM
And thank you to my neighbor Dena for all of your hard work hopefully getting to the bottom of this. We need to find out the truth! Thank you!
By ConcernedHBMom (2), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 8:35 AM
Good luck to your friend trying to get to the bottom of anything. It has been my experience that the truth, facts, applicable law, transparency and accountability are optional when it comes to the actions of those in leadership roles in the Town. The Town has thrown taxpayer monies at long overdue capital projects, but have done little to address core issues facing Hampton Bays. Maybe it is time that the taxpayers unite.
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 10:06 AM
So funny all of the people commenting on this situation. There is nothing to hide here. The water is governed by outside entities such as the board of health, h2m, the engineering firm, and the board of water commissioners. You really thing these people are really trying to hide anything. Chief1 you sounds ignorant about the situation when you say you need a biology degree, and run out if parts? There a municipality not a lab and what are they a retail store running out of parts? Are you even ...more
By Hbproud (6), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 11:09 AM
If you are drinking the water you are not very bright. The comment I made is the water district is it is made up of friends and families with no experience. The other issue is they never have parts to maintain the system correctly.Maybe someone should have a background in biology so they understand the reports they receive. If you believe govt tells the truth maybe you should stick your head back in the sand.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 4, 18 12:13 PM
Mostly everyone in hampton bays is Family and friends anyways so you can take that comment and throw it out the window. Name a situation where they didn’t have the parts to fix a problem because they sure fixed my problem very quickly. Just like SCWA they need to obtain a water license which covers microbiology, which is a New York State license. The board of health I’m sure won’t lie to us about the water, if you believe that then you need to stick your head where the sun ...more
By Hbproud (6), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 12:27 PM
"Mostly everyone in Hampton Bays is Family and Friends"? First of all, I doubt that the 13,000 people in Hampton Bays are related (at least I hope not) and what does that have to do with clean drinking water? Bottom line = those accountable to fix this problem should fix it. Residents have the right to be upset - July comes after June every year - it shouldn't have been a surprise. I can't speak to this particular issue as to whether the leadership is/has performed the necessary analyses, but ...more
By G.A.Lombardi (575), Hampton Bays on Jul 4, 18 2:17 PM
Why is there a separate water district in HB? What is the history?
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Jul 4, 18 7:43 PM
HB proud since you have 2 posts I imagine you are an employee or a employees relative. Lsme
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 5, 18 10:35 AM
Cheifi Hbproud should not be confused with HB Proud since I have many more posts than 2 posts over many years. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 5, 18 10:44 AM
Funny same people responsible for polluting at the firehouse also work at the water district. wow!
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 6, 18 3:50 PM
I want to go to Hampton Bays later but I can’t find my passport.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Jul 7, 18 5:26 AM