The Suffolk County Water Authority and the Town of Southampton announced today the completion of installation of more than 10,800 feet of new water main in East Quogue. The project will connect up to 115 homes formerly using private wells impacted by the contaminants PFOS and PFOA to a safe and reliable public water supply.
"Making sure Suffolk County residents have access to safe, potable water has been our mission for 68 years, and that will never change.” said SCWA Chairman Patrick Halpin. “I’d like to thank Supervisor Schneiderman and the Town of Southampton for working with us quickly to get this done.”
Including service connections from homes to the new water main in the street, the project will cost approximately $1.9 million. Funding for the project came from an inter-municipal grant from New York State totaling just under $1.06 million. SCWA and the Town of Southampton applied for the grant jointly. The remainder of the funding came from the Town’s Community Preservation Fund for Water Quality Improvement Projects.
“We were happy to assist the Suffolk County Water Authority in making sure that East Quogue residents have access to a safe supply of water and thank the SCWA for moving quickly to address the situation,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
About half of the homes have already tapped into the new supply, and SCWA is connecting more residents every day. SCWA is also in the process of installing an additional 2,300 feet of new water main on Lewis Road, immediately adjacent to the existing project area, to connect another 11 properties.
“Our staff works incredibly hard to make sure our water meets or exceeds all standards for quality and safety, and that includes the removal of PFOS and PFOA, which were detected in private wells in the area,” added SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo. “We’re thrilled to supply the residents of East Quogue with a water supply they can have confidence in.”
Private well testing conducted by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in 2018 showed elevated levels of the unregulated contaminants PFOS and PFOA. In response the Town of Southampton implemented the East Quogue Public Drinking Water Infrastructure Improvement Program, which allowed residents with contaminated private water to switch to public SCWA water which is filtered for PFOS and PFOA at no cost.
SCWA water is constantly tested for approximately 400 chemical compounds, including PFOS and PFOA. SCWA’s internal standards for water quality exceed federal and state water standards, which are already the toughest in the nation.
“Upon taking office as County Executive I made it clear that we were going to take aggressive action to reverse the decades of decline that we had seen in our local water quality because both our environment and our economy are underpinned by the water beneath our feet,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “With the completion of this work we are continuing those historic efforts and ensuring the residents of East Quogue have access to safe drinking water.”
“I appreciate the efforts of County Executive Steve Bellone and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in their vigilance to protect Long Island’s groundwater and to ensure that Long Islanders have a safe drinking water supply, with a rigorous program of groundwater monitoring and testing. Because so many Suffolk County households rely on private wells, the work is especially challenging and at the same time critically important. The Suffolk County Water Authority and the Town of Southampton should be commended for acting quickly and efficiently to secure funding and undertake the construction project that will provide safe drinking water to more than 100 homes,” said Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming whose district includes the South Fork.
Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are fluorinated organic chemicals used in treatments to protect carpets, clothing, furniture fabrics, paper packaging for food and non-stick cookware. They are also found in firefighting foams. These compounds leach into the aquifer over time, contaminating Long Island’s sole source of drinking water.
In the absence of a federal standard from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, the New York State Department of Health announced it will soon enact new state drinking water standards for PFOS and PFOA of 10 parts-per-trillion. SCWA removes these compounds from drinking water using Granular Activated Carbon treatment.
The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.