Officials call on feds to pay for contaminated water

Posted: Updated:
WEST HAMPTON -

Suffolk officials and Sen. Charles Schumer are demanding the federal government reimburse costs after contaminants from Gabreski Airport tainted area drinking water.

Patti Birks, of Westhampton, learned last year that the water from her private well was contaminated by toxic chemicals from firefighter foam used at nearby Gabreski Airport. The Suffolk County Water Authority stepped in this July and hooked up her home to public water at no cost. The water authority did the same thing to more than 60 homes and also installed two new filtration systems.

The work cost more than $4 million. Suffolk officials say the Department of Defense promised to reimburse the water authority since the contamination happened on an Air National Guard Base. Now, the county says the Department of Defense is going back on its word and refusing to pay up.

Schumer says it’s unacceptable.

“The Air National Guard caused the mess, and they should be the ones to pay for the cleanup now, not later, and every day that Suffolk County waits for reimbursement is a day too long,” says Schumer.

If the Department of Defense doesn't pay up, the Suffolk County Water Authority says unfortunately all of its customers would have to foot the bill.

Late this afternoon, the Air Force press desk told News 12 that it's not authorized to reimburse past expenditures. Schumer says he will use whatever power he has in Washington to make sure the Department of Defense pays up.

  • EnvironmentMore>>

  • Environmentalists urge Nassau to consider plastic bag fee

    Environmentalists urge Nassau to consider plastic bag fee

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 5:48 PM EDT2018-05-23 21:48:07 GMT
    Environmental groups are urging Nassau County lawmakers to consider implementing a plastic bag fee.Environmental groups are urging Nassau County lawmakers to consider implementing a plastic bag fee.

    Environmental groups are urging Nassau County lawmakers to consider implementing a plastic bag fee.

    Environmental groups are urging Nassau County lawmakers to consider implementing a plastic bag fee.

  • Wainscott well water problem could mean tax hikes

    Wainscott well water problem could mean tax hikes

    Monday, May 21 2018 10:07 PM EDT2018-05-22 02:07:30 GMT
    Suffolk County water officials unveiled a proposal Monday night on how to bring public water to Wainscott.Suffolk County water officials unveiled a proposal Monday night on how to bring public water to Wainscott.

    Suffolk County water officials unveiled a proposal Monday night on how to bring public water to Wainscott.

    Suffolk County water officials unveiled a proposal Monday night on how to bring public water to Wainscott.

  • State rolling out plan to combat tick population

    State rolling out plan to combat tick population

    Sunday, May 20 2018 5:45 PM EDT2018-05-20 21:45:52 GMT
    The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.
    The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.

    The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.

    The state says it has a new plan to control the tick population and combat tick-borne illnesses.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."