The Suffolk County Department of Health Services announced today the expansion of its private well survey in the vicinity of the East Hampton Airport following the detection of perfluorinated compounds known as PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) in 63 private wells.
Though PFCs are currently unregulated, the USEPA has identified both PFOA and PFOS as contaminants of emerging concern. The agency has issued a lifetime health advisory level of 0.07 parts per billion in order to protect the most sensitive populations, including fetuses during pregnancy and breastfed babies, against potential adverse health effects.
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. The East Hampton Airport indicated that it had used or stored products that may have contained PFOS and PFOA, and the state requested that the Suffolk County Department of Health Services sample drinking water supplies near the airport.
To assess the drinking water quality of properties served with private wells, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services initiated a private well survey in the vicinity of the airport property in August of 2017. PFOS and PFOA have been detected in some of the private wells that have been tested so far. Of the 138 private well test results received to date, 63 had detections of PFOS and PFOA, three of which had detections above the USEPA lifetime health advisory level of 0.07 parts per billion. PFOS and PFOA were not detected in 75 of the 138 private well samples.
Based upon these detections, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, in consultation with the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, decided to expand the private well survey in the vicinity of the East Hampton Airport as follows: the area bounded on the north by the East Hampton Airport, on the west by Town Line Road to Montauk Highway and then Sayres Path to Wainscott Main Street, on the south by Wainscott Main Street, and to the east by Georgica Pond and Daniels Hole Road. The expanded survey boundaries were determined based on the current understanding of groundwater flow as depicted in the U.S. Geological Survey groundwater elevation maps as well as the location of known detections above the health advisory level in three private wells. The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is planning on installing groundwater monitoring wells in the area to confirm the local groundwater flow.
Residents whose property is served by a private well and is located in this area are advised to contact the Suffolk County Department of Health Services Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810 to have their wells tested free of charge. Residents in this expanded area can expect to be visited by a Suffolk County Department of Health Services staff member providing additional information sometime beginning the week of January 15, 2018.
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. Residents who use a private well for drinking water and live in the survey area you may contact the Town of East Hampton Purchasing Department at 631-324-4183 or email email@example.com to receive bottled water.
Homes connected to a public water supply do not need to have their water tested as these supplies are routinely tested. PFOS and PFOA have not been detected in the public drinking water supply wells serving this area.
Residents with general questions about health effects of perfluorinated compounds are advised to call the New York State Water Quality Hotline: 1-800-801-8092, Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 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 Suffolk County Department of Health Services Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810.
For additional information about PFCs, please visit the Suffolk County Department of Health Services website.
For more information on perfluorinated compounds, see USEPA Fact Sheet: PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water Health Advisories.