Residents near the former Grumman site in Calverton fear their water...

Residents near the former Grumman site in Calverton fear their water might be contaminated. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The wells of about 60 homes near the former Grumman property in Calverton once operated by the U.S. Navy will be tested for possible contaminants in April, Suffolk County Department of Health Services and Suffolk County Water Authority officials said.

Several property owners living near the site asked U.S. Navy officials to conduct private well testing in areas south of the former Grumman property, said Gioia Knutson, a Suffolk County health department spokeswoman.

The health department plans to have samples analyzed for PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, along with contaminants such as 1,4 dioxane, MTBE and other volatile organic contaminants, which will be analyzed by the department’s Public and Environmental Health laboratory, Knutson said. 

A Newsday investigation published last week found that Grumman long withheld information that could have helped stem the water contamination crisis at its Bethpage facility, where a plume of toxic chemicals has polluted groundwater.

Jeffrey Szabo, chief executive of the Suffolk County Water Authority, said Wednesday the testing was agreed to after a Feb. 20 meeting in Oakdale with water authority and health department officials, as well as representatives from Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and the offices of Suffolk Legis. Al Krupski  (D-Cutchogue), U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin  (R-Shirley), U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others.

“These people are at wits' end, they are concerned about their drinking water, and they want to see action. Whether it’s the water authority or whether it’s the town of Riverhead, they want to be connected to public water,” Szabo said. By law, the water authority can serve any territory in Suffolk County not connected to an existing water district, Szabo added. 

The health department had offered a voluntary water testing program for residents that analyzed a water sample for a $100 charge. Past department analyses found the majority of wells tested in Suffolk County meet drinking water standards, according to the department's website. 

While the health department will lead the well sampling, the water authority will also sample for PFOS, Szabo said. 

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said Tuesday that while her group hoped the water test results come out clean, they want things to “move expeditiously” so residents near the Grumman site can be hooked up to the water authority.

“Nobody should be poisoned by their drinking water,” said Esposito, adding that both the Navy and Grumman should be held “financially responsible” if any water contamination can be traced back to them.

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