Reports Of PFOS, PFOA Contamination Expected To Continue: Officials
“I think we’re just scratching the surface on water contamination on the East End.” Mr. McAllister, who has spoken out to the East Hampton and Southampton town boards about the contamination, said in a recent interview that he wouldn’t be surprised if the region continues to see more cases of PFOS and PFOA contamination as more testing and research is conducted.
So far on the South Fork, plumes of water contaminated by the pair of chemicals have been detected in Westhampton, Hampton Bays, East Quogue, and Wainscott.
In Wainscott about 140 private wells near the East Hampton Airport were found last summer to have PFOS and PFOA contamination—although an exact source of the contamination has yet to be officially identified.
Of the contaminated wells, nine homes reported levels of the chemicals above the health advisory level, and another 131 wells have been found to have traces of the chemicals below the health advisory level.
Since the detection, East Hampton Town declared a state of emergency in the hamlet of Wainscott and allotted $400,000 in funding to provide grants to homeowners with tainted wells to help pay for in-home water filters.
The town supervisor also pointed to a flaw in the process for testing for unregulated chemicals: Chemicals are often not tested for health safety risks before entering the marketplace.
“I think it has a lot of similarities,” Mr. McAllister said.
Henry Bokuniewicz, a groundwater expert and a professor at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, warned that it’s not easy to stop contamination once it hits the groundwater.
Generally speaking, to stop such contamination from flowing through the groundwater, one must take two steps: detect the source of the plume, then find a treatment.
Since the Hoosick Falls contamination, DEC officials have reportedly been testing more frequently near fire training centers and airports—where the firefighting foam was commonly used—as well as near other common sources of contamination, such as landfills.