The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has identified two chemicals known as PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) as emerging contaminants. These chemicals are part of a class of chemicals known as perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are currently unregulated by the federal government. PFCs have been used in a number of industrial and commercial products such firefighting foam, as well as coatings that repel water, oil, stains and grease. Thus, people may be exposed to PFOS and PFOA through air, water, or soil from industrial sources and from consumer products.
Due to the potential for PFCs to cause environmental contamination, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation conducted a survey of facilities across the state that may have used products containing PFOS and PFOA. Since the East Hampton Airport indicated that it had used or stored products that may have contained PFOS and PFOA, the state requested that the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) sample drinking water supplies near the airport.
To assess the drinking water quality of properties served with private wells, SCDHS has begun a private well survey in the vicinity of the airport property. PFOS and PFOA have been detected in some of the private wells that have been tested so far. One private well had PFOS and PFOA detected above the USEPA lifetime health advisory level of 0.07 ppb. EPA’s health advisory levels are established to protect even the most sensitive populations, including fetuses during pregnancy and breastfed babies, against potential adverse health effects. See EPA fact sheet on perfluorinated compounds for more information https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/drinkingwaterhealthadvisories_pfoa_pfos_updated_5.31.16.pdf.
The SCDHS would like to sample all private wells in this area at no charge to homeowners. The NYSDOH Laboratory will conduct the laboratory analysis of PFCs. If your property is served by a private well, and your residence is located in the area bounded on the north by the East Hampton Airport, on the west by Town Line Road, on the south by Montauk Highway extending toward Merriwood Drive and on the east by Daniel’s Hole Road, please contact the SCDHS Office of Water Resources at (631) 852-5810 so that your well can be tested free of charge (see attached map).
As a precaution, the Town of East Hampton has offered to provide bottled water to property owners in the private well survey area described above. If you use a private well for your drinking water and live in the survey area you may contact the Town of East Hampton Purchasing Department at 631-324-4183 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive bottled water.
If your home is connected to a public water supply, you do not need to have your water tested, as these supplies are routinely tested. Currently, the public drinking water supply in the area is below the US EPA lifetime health advisory level of 0.07 ppb.
Residents with general questions about health effects of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are advised to call the New York State Water Quality Hotline: 800-801-8092 (Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.).
Residents who are unsure if they are served by public water may call the Suffolk County Water Authority at 631-698-9500.
Residents with private wells who have questions about private well water in Suffolk County or who wish to have their wells tested may contact the SCDHS Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810.
For additional information about PFCs, please visit the SCDHS website at: www.suffolkcountyny.gov/health/pfcwaterinfo