Seek Grant to Help Pay for Wainscott Water Main

The Town of East Hampton and the Suffolk County Water Authority have jointly applied for grant funding under New York State's Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to extend water mains to residences in Wainscott at which private wells have tested positive for perfluorinated compounds.

The grant, if secured, would cover the lesser of $10 million or 40 percent of the estimated $24 million-plus cost of the project, which is expected to begin early in August. The town board had previously announced its intention to apply for a grant to offset the project's cost. 

The move follows the board's July 5 vote to enter into an inter-municipal agreement with the water authority, which paved the way for a grant application. The water authority is acting as lead agency in the application. 

The town previously established a water supply district in the impacted area and will fund the project through the issuance of bonds, with any grant money to be used for reimbursement. The impacted area lies south of East Hampton Airport, stretching to the Atlantic Ocean. 

Approximately 45,000 feet of water main between 6 and 16 inches in diameter are to be installed in the area. Copper and high-density polyethylene pipe service lines will be installed between the water main and impacted residences. Meters, meter vaults, and fire hydrants will also be installed.

Existing private wells will be disconnected from the internal plumbing of homes to prevent the possibility of cross-contamination with the public water system. The State Health Department has recommended that residents not use their private wells for irrigation purposes.

Since the detection of perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, in multiple private wells in the hamlet, which was announced in October, the town has provided bottled water to affected residents and offered a rebate for those who opt to install point-of-entry water treatment systems.

"We're very happy to be able to help residents of Wainscott secure a drinking water supply that is safe and constantly tested for the presence of nearly of 400 chemicals, far more than we are required to test for," Jeffrey Szabo, the water authority's chief executive officer, said in a statement issued on Tuesday. "Additionally, Wainscott residents should know that our internal standards for water quality are more rigorous than regulations require."

The project is expected to be completed by year's end.