State to Seek Water Pollution Source at Airport
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has identified the East Hampton Airport as a potential inactive hazardous waste disposal site, according to a letter to the town, and will lead an investigation into the source of the chemical contamination in nearby wells.
The detection of perfluorinated compounds, known as PFCs, in wells near the airport “may be attributable to current or past operations on your property,” the D.E.C.
wrote in a Nov. 10 letter, as the compounds, listed as hazardous substances by the state, are components of firefighting foams.
“This information leads us to suspect,” said the D.E.C.
The state agency has asked that the town provide any relevant information, including “the locations of firefighting foam storage, use, and training activities.” Water contamination by firefighting foam has been tied to fire training facilities elsewhere on Long Island.
Last Thursday, the town board approved a resolution designating the D.E.C.
as “the lead investigatory agency into possible PFC contamination at the East Hampton Airport.” The town has been working with both the State Health Department and Suffolk County Health Department in efforts to have private wells tested within a designated area near the airport.
As of mid-November, with about 50 tests concluded, PFCs had been found in 28 wells, though only one had levels higher than the 70 parts per trillion level set by the Environmental Protection Agency as a maximum safe level in water.
The Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee is to discuss the water contamination at its meeting on Saturday, among other items on its agenda.
The committee has been pressing for more information, including specifics on test results; the location of wells where the chemicals were detected, particularly in relation to the airport, the former sand mine, Georgica and Wainscott Ponds, and the Wainscott School; potential sourcesss; the efficacy of filtration systems that can eliminate the chemicals, and whether or not public water mains will be installed, and at whose cost.