Manorville residents with contaminated water pleaded for help from the state at a Manorville news conference Wednesday. They want to be hooked up to the public water supply but need funding to make that happen. NewsdayTV’s Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: Anthony Florio; File Footage; Photo Credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Residents in a part of Manorville where toxic chemicals have been found in private wells have urged New York legislators to secure funding aimed at hooking up 64 homes to public water after they were denied a state grant for the work.

In a coordinated effort, the Town of Riverhead and Suffolk County Water Authority both filed applications earlier in the fall to secure $5 million in water infrastructure grants on behalf of the residents through the state Environmental Facilities Corporation. While the agency announced Nov. 4 nearly $50 million for other Long Island projects, Manorville did not receive funding for the third consecutive year.

Manorville resident Kelly McClinchy said residents are tired of waiting.

“We’re at the point where we can’t take it anymore,” McClinchy said. “We shouldn’t be asked to wait any longer. The state needs to step in and they need to do what’s right for this community.”

Perfluorinated compounds have been detected in nearly 15% of private drinking wells tested near the former naval weapons plant in Calverton, according to Suffolk County health department data released in December 2020. The 64 Manorville homes border Calverton.

Various forms of cancer have been linked to the compounds. 

Cort Ruddy, director of communications for the New York State Department of Health, told Newsday the Manorville project's application was denied because the applicants did not do a full coordinated review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. The state is now working with Manorville and the Suffolk County Water Authority to find other funding sources, Ruddy said,

"We fully recognize the complexities of this situation and are resolved to work with these applicants to help them successfully secure funding for this critical project," he said.

Public water supplies, unlike private wells, are regularly tested and must meet state drinking water standards.

The Suffolk County Water Authority reached an agreement in September with Riverhead Town, which operates its own water district, and is prepared to connect the homes to public water. The cost of the project is anticipated to be about $9.4 million. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) announced in March they had secured $3.5 million toward the effort.

Adrienne Esposito of the Farmingdale-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment, which hosted a news conference on the issue Wednesday at the Manorville Fire Department, said it’s time for state lawmakers to do their part for the affected residents.

On Oakwood Drive, which residents described as the epicenter of Manorville’s drinking water problem, Jane Kreiger wondered if it’s too small of a community to get the financial help residents need.

“Maybe we’re just not enough votes,” she told Newsday.

McClinchy urged State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and Assemb. Jodi Giglio (R-Baiting Hollow) to engage in discussions with Gov. Kathy Hochul to secure the necessary funding.

Palumbo and Giglio both said they have been working on the issue and will continue to do so.

"Clean water is an absolute top priority," Palumbo said.

Giglio said she hopes Gov. Hochul will include funding for Manorville in the state budget next April, following the recent approval of the $4.2 billion New York State Environmental Bond Act.

McClinchy said the longer the issue goes unaddressed, and the chemicals spread through the ground, more private wells could be contaminated.

“We turn on the faucet and we’re nervous every single day,” she said.

With Cecilia Dowd

Where the money went in Suffolk

Nearly $50 million in state Environmental Facilities Corporation grants were awarded Nov. 4 to nine Long Island agencies including in Suffolk County.

Riverhead Town 

  • $1.32M — Removal of contaminants in Northville

Suffolk County Water Authority

  • $1.49M — Extension of water service in Southampton Town
  • 900K — 1,4-Dioxane treatment in Babylon Town
  • $1.8M — Advanced oxidation process in East Hampton Town
  • $1.8M — Advanced oxidation process in Huntington Town
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