Some drinking wells shut down in Hampton Bays after toxic chemicals found

Posted: Updated:
HAMPTON BAYS -

The Hampton Bays Water District has shut down some of its drinking water wells after toxic chemicals were found

The chemicals, perfluorinated compounds or PFCs, are known carcinogens.  They are usually found in fire-retardant foam used by firefighters across the Island. They were discovered in the drinking water wells near the fire department back in August.

The Hampton Bays Water Authority immediately shut down the affected wells and then notified the state DEC.  That agency is now investigating whether it should declare the Hampton Bays Fire Department a potential toxic Superfund site.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman says he believes the contamination caused no harm.    

"I don't think people need to be concerned. It's something we got early, we detected it early and we took immediate steps to prevent human consumption. We are going to continue to keep those wells off until filtration is in place, and we have plenty of other water supply wells for the Hampton Bays area, so we are going to be OK," he says.

Environmentalist Adrienne Esposito says the county health department has no equipment to test for PFCs and must send out water samples to upstate labs that are backed up for weeks.

In a statement Esposito said, "We are calling on the governor to provide a grant to Suffolk to fund the technology and staff so that drinking water samples can be immediately tested and residents can be warned swiftly if they need to stop drinking the water.”

Hampton Bays Water says it still has nine operational water wells, and there is no shortage of supply.

Later this year, the water district says it will install a carbon filtration system and retest the affected wells.

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