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Water Quality Advisory Issued for Private Well Owners in East Patchogue and South Medford Area

Categories: Health Services | Author: gknutson | Posted: 10/4/2018 | Views: 1594
Health officials to sample private wells in this area at no charge to homeowners as a precautionary measure


The Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) announced today that it will be conducting a private well survey in the East Patchogue/South Medford area.  SCDHS would like to sample private wells in this area at no charge. Residents in the survey area currently using a private well may wish to take advantage of free bottled water as a precaution until results of their water test are available.


The announcement follows the detection of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in a nearby public water supply well. Though there were no detections of PFOS above health guidance levels in the public water distributed to customers, the Suffolk County Water Authority has taken the wells out of service.


PFOS, and a related chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (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 as firefighting foam, as well as coatings that repel water, oil, stains and grease, such as food packaging, water-resistant clothing and stain-resistant carpeting. Thus, people may be exposed to PFOS and PFOA through air, water, or soil from industrial sources and from consumer products.


The United States EPA has established a health advisory level for PFOS and PFOA in drinking water at a concentration of 70 parts per trillion (ppt).  According to the EPA, Health Advisory Levels are established to protect the most sensitive populations, including fetuses during pregnancy and breastfed babies, against potential adverse health effects from exposure to contaminants in drinking water.


Monitoring by the Suffolk County Water Authority has shown that the concentration of PFOS and PFOA in the public water supply in this area has not exceeded the health advisory level. 


The SCDHS would like to sample an estimated 58 properties that are served with a private well in this area at no charge to homeowners. Residents whose property is served by a private well that is located in the area bounded on the north by Jamaica Avenue, on the south by Montauk Highway, on the west by Buffalo Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, and the Swan River, and on the east by Sipp Avenue and Gazzola Drive (see attached map) are advised to contact the SCDHS Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810 to have their wells tested. The analysis for PFAS will be conducted by the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratory. 


At this time, there is no known source of PFAS contamination in this area. The SCDHS will work with and support New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) efforts to investigate potential sources. 


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, the DEC is providing free bottled water to residents who live in the private well survey area described above, pending results of their private well. If you use a private well for drinking or cooking purposes and live in the survey area, you may call 631-852-4820 to schedule a delivery of bottled water.


Homes connected to a public water supply do not need to have their water tested as the public water supply is routinely tested. 


Residents with general questions about health effects of PFAS are advised to call the New York State Department of Health at 518-402-7950 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 who have questions about private well water in Suffolk County 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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