The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is offering free water quality tests to homeowners near Old Country Road in Westhampton who use private wells that may contain contaminants.
A survey conducted by the department in December found 55 properties there that may rely on private wells, some of which have been found to contain chemicals labeled hazardous by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the county said in a Thursday news release.
The chemicals, known collectively as perfluoroalkyl substances, have been used to make repellent coatings, firefighting foam and other commercial and industrial products. High levels of exposure may pose threats to fetuses, breast-feeding infants, thyroids and immune systems, among other harmful health effects, according to the release.
Residents are eligible for the testing if they use private wells and live between Beaverdam Creek, Moriches Bay, the Speonk River and less than 1 mile north of Old Country Road.
The chemicals detected in one private well in the area exceeded 70 parts per trillion, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed a “health advisory level,” according to the agency’s website.
To request testing, residents may contact the department’s Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810.
The DEC will provide free bottled water to households in the survey area. They should call 631-852-4820 to request a delivery.
Homes in the survey area that are connected to a public water system do not need to undergo testing, the county said.