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Water Quality Advisory for Private Well Owners in Area of Former Damascus Road Landfill in E. Quogue

Categories: Health Services | Author: gknutson | Posted: 4/11/2018 | Views: 1864



The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) are evaluating various sites, including inactive landfills, throughout New York State for potential impacts to drinking water supplies with a focus on potential impacts from emerging contaminants, such as PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), which are currently unregulated by the federal government. This project was launched through Governor Cuomo’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team.


The former Damascus Road landfill, located at the end of Damascus Road, in East Quogue, NY is currently being evaluated under this initiative for potential impacts on drinking water supplies. For the preliminary phase of the investigation, monitoring wells were installed at the site and sampled by the State.  Results indicated that combined PFOS and PFOA exceeded USEPA Health Advisory Level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in groundwater at one of the monitoring wells, with a combined PFOS and PFOA concentration of 11,620 ppt observed. Based on these results, additional investigations of private drinking water supply wells in the area are needed to ensure the public is protected. 


PFOS and PFOA are part of a class of chemicals known as PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances).  PFAS have been used in a number of industrial and commercial products such firefighting foam, as well as coatings that repel water, oil, stains and grease.  Thus, people may be exposed to PFOS and PFOA through air, water, or soil from industrial sources and from consumer products. 


The USEPA Health Advisory Level for drinking water (70 ppt) is provided for comparison purposes, as these PFOS and PFOA results are from monitoring wells as opposed to drinking water supplies.  USEPA’s Health Advisory Levels are established to protect even the most sensitive populations, including fetuses during pregnancy and breastfed babies, against potential adverse health effects from exposure to contaminants in drinking water.


To assess the drinking water quality of properties served with private wells, Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) has begun a private well survey in the vicinity of the former Damascus Road landfill. The SCDHS would like to sample all private wells in this area at no charge to homeowners. Residents whose property is served by a private well and is located in the area bounded on the north by the Woodleigh Place and Damascus Road, on the west by Quogue Riverhead Road and Heatherwood Lane, on the east by Lewis Road and Walker Avenue and south continuing to the Shinnecock Bay and its tributaries are advised to contact the SCDHS Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810 to have their wells tested (see attached map). The laboratory analysis for PFAS will be conducted by a private laboratory contracted by the DEC. 


The New York State Department of Health has indicated that consumption (drinking or cooking) is the primary exposure concern for PFAS in drinking water.  Bathing and showering are not expected to be a concern even if PFAS are present in the water supply. Out of an abundance of caution, bottled water is being made available through the Town of Southampton directly to property owners in the private well survey area described above, pending private well testing results.  If you use a private well for drinking or cooking purposes and live in the survey area, supplies of bottled water will be available to you at no cost by calling Southampton Town Hall at 631-283-6055 or 631-287-5745.


Homes connected to a public water supply do not need to have their water tested as the public water supplied to the area does not exceed the USEPA Health Advisory Level and these supplies are routinely tested. 


Residents with general questions about health effects of PFAS are advised to call the New York State Water Quality Hotline: 800-801-8092, Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Residents who are unsure if they are served by public water may call the Suffolk County Water Authority at 631-698-9500.


Residents with private wells who have questions about private well water in Suffolk County or who wish to have their wells tested may contact the SCDHS Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810.


For additional information about PFAS, please visit the SCDHS website at:


For more information on perfluorinated compounds, see USEPA Fact Sheet: PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water Health Advisories.



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