Southampton Town is moving forward with a town-funded plan to bring public water to dozens of residents in East Quogue where perfluorinated compounds were discovered in nearly 50 private wells, though property owners can expect to lay out money and pay taxes on a portion of the work.
The contamination was discovered in early 2018 at a monitoring well in a long-closed town landfill, revealing levels of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, at 11,200 parts per trillion. In December, a state panel recommended a drinking water standard of no more than 10 parts per trillion for PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), chemicals once used in firefighting foam and in nonstick household products.
Twelve residents have applied to connect to existing water mains, and the Suffolk County Water Authority expects to begin extending the system to additional households by the fall, officials said.
“All the pieces are in place and we’re making progress,” said Deputy Southampton Town Supervisor Frank Zappone.
The town has set aside $4 million for the work, which will be financed through the town’s Community Preservation Fund. The cost to extend about 10,000 feet of water mains is estimated to be $1.4 million. There is a separate price to hook up properties to the system.
The Community Preservation Fund is financed through a 2 percent real estate transfer tax in the five East End towns.
The town and the water authority have also applied for a state Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grant to offset the cost, Zappone said.
The proposed program will be available to 111 residents in the area, who will be asked to finance their connection to the public system and then apply for a town rebate. Although the town will fund the project, residents are likely to receive 1099 forms to pay taxes on the rebates under the program's structure.
“It’s still significantly less cost than the ultimate cost of the system,” Zappone said of the taxes property owners are likely to pay, emphasizing the benefit of the work. “You’re getting access to public water which is healthy and safe to drink.”
A public hearing on the East Quogue Public Drinking Water Infrastructure Improvement Program is set for June 25 at Southampton Town Hall.
Affected residents have been drinking bottled water, which several homeowners have said has been provided by Discovery Land Co., the Arizona-based firm whose application to build a golf course and community in the hamlet has met strong opposition.
Discovery representatives could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Lucille Morreale, whose home is not immediately available to connect to public water and whose well had a low detection of PFOA, said she uses the bottled service out of an abundance of caution.
“I’m not drinking the water,” she said. “It’s bad enough I have to bathe in it.”