Two key water-quality projects in Southold Town and Manorville could be in line for significant funding if a Suffolk water provider gets approval for $29.8 million in state grants it’s vying for.
The Suffolk County Water Authority is seeking the funding from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation for infrastructure projects in 11 Long Island communities, including intermunicipal grants for Southold and the Brookhaven section of Manorville.
In Southold, the Oakdale-based agency is eyeing the installation of a 44,000-foot transmission water main connecting an existing water main in the Central Pine Barrens region of Southampton Town to an existing water main in Southold Town.
Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said in a statement that the project would be an important step in protecting Southold’s aquifer.
"Ensuring that the public has access to clean drinking water in abundant supply is critical to our residents," Russell said. "We are pleased to support the Suffolk County Water Authority as it undertakes a unique project that will not only reduce the strain on our aquifer today but expand our water supply in the future."
In November, Southold Town officials approved an intermunicipal agreement with the agency to participate and assist in the grant application process.
Agency officials previously said a series of small drinking wells scattered around Southold Town that serve some of the agency’s roughly 9,500 customers there have experienced issues with saltwater intrusion, water availability and nitrates while noting how fragile the town’s water aquifer had become over time; the pipeline project seeks to remedy those problems.
In Manorville, the agency seeks to install 20,000 feet of new water main in the Brookhaven portion of the area to connect about 116 homes currently using private wells, according to Joseph Pokorny, the water authority’s deputy CEO for operations. Previous tests on private wells in the community, located south of the former Grumman naval weapons plant in Calverton, detected the presence of emerging contaminants PFOS and PFOA, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have been linked to cancer, liver and kidney damage.
The cause of the contamination is still unknown, but the U.S. Navy and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are investigating, according to Pokorny.
"Every Brookhaven resident is entitled to clean water, and the funding for this project will provide it to the people in Manorville where residential well water is no longer a healthy option," Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said in a statement.
Approximately 60 homes in Riverhead near the former Grumman plant — which are not included in the Brookhaven project — also face similar water-quality issues. However, Riverhead officials say they want the town’s Water District to hook up residents instead of the water authority.
Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar told Newsday last week that the town has applied for federal water infrastructure funding to provide relief to those homes.
"We’re hoping our water department gets the funds, but if funds are provided to the water authority, we’re not going to interfere," Aguiar said. "They can hook them up, but only the residents in those locations."
- Intermunicipal grants from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation can pay for up to 40% of a given project. Combined, the Suffolk County Water Authority's projects with Southold and the Brookhaven portion of Manorville total $34.2 million, meaning the agency can potentially be awarded about $13.7 million for both combined projects, according to agency officials.
- The agency is also seeking grant funding for 18 new advanced oxidation process treatment systems, which remove the emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane from drinking water, in nine different Long Island communities in Central Islip, Northport, Kings Park,, Terryville, Ronkonkoma, Brentwood, Fort Salonga, Hauppauge and Cold Spring Harbor. The agency can be awarded up to $16,200,000 for the new treatment systems, agency officials say.