Health Services

Groundwater Quality in the Vicinity of the Yaphank Avenue, Yaphank

Updated 7-27-17

Beginning in July 2017 at the request of Suffolk County, the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) began connecting additional private wells further south and east of the Suffolk County Firematics (Fire Training Center or site), located at 676 Maple Street in Yaphank. Suffolk County is offering connection to public water, free of charge, to an additional 32 properties. It is anticipated that this work will be completed by the end of August, 2017.

The County has voluntarily executed an Order on Consent with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to address the contamination of the Fire Training site. The Order on Consent requires the county to prepare a Citizen Participation Plan, conduct a remedial investigation of the site and develop a remedial work plan.

Background

On April 25, 2016, NYSDEC added perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to the state’s list of hazardous substances. Before this time, use of these substances in firefighting foam was not considered to be hazardous. Because of past use of firefighting foam for training purposes, which may have contained PFOS and PFOA, in July, 2016, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) began sampling private wells in the vicinity of Yaphank Avenue, in Yaphank. Those samples were analyzed by New York State Department of Health’s laboratory for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and results showed that PFOS and PFOA are present in some of the private wells in the vicinity. In October, 2016, the County Legislature authorized funding to connect homes in the immediate area to the public water system to ensure that they have safe drinking water.

In April 2017, Suffolk County was notified by the NYSDEC that the Suffolk County Firematics (Fire Training Center) property had been determined to be a Class 2 State Superfund Site (see below for notice). This determination was based upon the detection of the perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) PFOS and PFOA in groundwater as well as nearby drinking water supplies.

Suffolk County has been working with the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) to connect impacted residents to public water at no cost to the homeowner. As of July 2017, 27 homes have been connected to public water.

SCDHS will update this website as new information becomes available.

For more information about PFOS and PFOA:

Private well survey

SCDHS is conducting a survey of well water quality in an area of Suffolk Avenue/Yaphank Avenue, in Yaphank. Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have been detected in some private wells in this area.

Owners of property served with a private well that is located in the private well survey area that has not been sampled, are encouraged to call the SCDHS Office of Water Resources at (631) 852-5810 to have the well water tested free of charge. The general area of the private well survey is encompassed by Yaphank Avenue south to Old Stump Road; heading east across Wertheim Nature Preserve and Merrick Road; north on Auburn Avenue and along Southaven Park; west on Woodfield Terrace toward Yaphank Avenue. For a map of the updated private well survey area click here. Even if the property is unoccupied, the well water should be sampled. Those with homes served by public water do not need to have their water sampled, as the public water supply is routinely tested.

Those who live in homes with a private well in the area defined above may wish to --out of an abundance of caution and until results of your water test become available -- use bottled water for drinking, preparation of infant formula and cooking. Bottled water is available at no charge. Please call 631-852-4820 to request bottled water.

Connecting to Public Water

Suffolk County is committed to connecting affected homes in the area to public water at no cost to homeowners for this connection. SCDHS has entered into an agreement with the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) to connect eligible residents to public water. To date there are three phases to this project. Phase I involved connecting 16 properties to public water and is complete. Phase II involves 29 properties and Phase III involves 3 properties.

SCWA is in the process of connecting homes in Phase II and III to public water and it is estimated that all 32 homes will be connected by the end of August 2017.

Groundwater Investigation

In addition to sampling private wells, SCDHS has initiated an investigation to help determine the nature and extent of groundwater contamination in the area. Groundwater monitoring wells were initially installed along Yaphank Avenue in the vicinity of the Suffolk County Fire Training Center. Monitoring wells have also been installed further south and east of the Fire Training Center. Groundwater samples were taken from various depths within the groundwater table in order to delineate where contamination may be present and the potential risks posed to private drinking water supplies.

As of July 2017, 25 monitoring wells have been installed and results have shown detections of PFOS and PFOA above the health advisory level. It is important to understand that these samples were not taken from a drinking water supply. Additional groundwater monitoring is planned for the future. For a map showing the general location of the monitoring wells, click here and for results obtained so far click here.

Contacts for more information

  • For information on the environmental investigation at the Firematics Site
  • For general questions about PFOS or PFOA and health, contact New York State Department of Health at 1-518-402-7860.
  • For residents who would like to find out if they are served by public water or are interested in connecting to public water, contact the Suffolk County Water Authority at 631-698-9500.
  • For information about the quality of public water, contact the Suffolk County Water Authority at 631-698-9500 or go to http://s1091480.instanturl.net/dwqr2016/water-quality-report-2016-scwa_v1.html
  • Residents who have questions about private well water in Suffolk County or would like to have their wells tested, contact the SCDHS Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810.

Press Releases and Notices Related to Firematics Site

05-16-17- SCDHS News Release Providing Notice of New York State’s Determination of Firematics Facility in Yaphank an Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site

05-16-17- Letter to Residents in Vicinity of Firematics Facility Providing an Update of the Status of the Site

05-16-17- NYSDEC Public Notice of Suffolk County Firematics Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Classification

04-26-17- Correspondence to Peter A. Scully, Suffolk County Deputy County Executive, from Kelly Lewandowski, NYSDEC providing notice of Class 2 State Superfund listing.

09-27-16: SCDHS News Release Water Quality Advisory for Private-Well owners in Area of Yaphank Avenue