Second Well Contaminated in Wainscott

East Hampton Town Hall.

By Kathryn G. Menu

A second well in Wainscott contains levels of chemicals above safety thresholds established by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, according to East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, who updated the town board Tuesday on an ongoing investigation into chemical contamination found on properties around the East Hampton Airport.

According to Mr. Cantwell, a total of 246 properties in the area are serviced by private wells, with 167 of those wells sampled by the county and New York State. Of those, just two have shown levels of two volatile compounds, perfluorooctane (PFOS) and perflurorooctanoic (PFOA), that exceed the county safety threshold of 70 parts per trillion. The chemicals are used in a number of industrial and commercial products such as firefighting foam, and coatings that repel water, oil, stains and grease. Mr. Cantwell said 75 wells have shown no PFOS or PFOA, and 59 homes have turned up traces of the compounds, but below the county’s safety limits. The town is awaiting the results of 31 additional tests, and an additional 70 homeowners have yet to respond. Three homeowners have refused testing.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating the source of contamination and will present a plan to the public in January on how it plans to identify where the chemicals came from, said Mr. Cantwell. The state has supplied the two affected homes with advanced water filtration systems. The town has asked the Suffolk County Water Authority to explore the cost of bringing public water to the entire area potentially affected by the contamination.

“We have a good level of cooperation with the other involved agencies and are taking deliberate steps to discover the nature and the extent of the problem, the cause of the problem and the ultimate solution that may be necessary,” said Mr. Cantwell.