Clare Bennett, who lives on Oakwood Drive in Manorville, learned last month that her private well has been contaminated by a toxic gasoline additive. File photo: Peter Blasl

Environmental regulators continue to investigate the MTBE contamination of drinking water wells in the Manorville Pine Barrens. They have not yet determined the source or extent of the contamination but have concluded it is located at a depth of 40 to 90 feet below ground surface, according to the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Eight of 28 private wells tested in the Oakwood Drive area were found to have MTBE contamination, the State DEC said this week. Three of them had MTBE detections above the drinking water standard of 10 parts per trillion and five other homes were found to have MTBE levels below the drinking water standard, the agency said.

A routine water test done by the county health department at the request of one Oakwood Drive homeowner showed MTBE levels more than 1000-percent higher than the state drinking water standard, according to a Suffolk County Department of Health Services letter sent to the homeowners Clare and Marc Bennett.  See prior story

The DEC has concluded that the MTBE contamination is located at a depth of approximately 40 to 90 feet below the ground surface, according to a written statement issued by the agency Tuesday in response to a request for information.

Water filtration system installed by the state at the Bennett house on Oakwood Drive just before Christmas.

The agency this week has been “installing permanent multi-level wells on the public right-of-way on Oakwood Drive … to further delineate the extent of the contamination and determine the source,” according to the statement.

The three homes with MTBE levels exceeding the drinking water standard were immediately provided with bottled water and the DEC had treatment systems installed in these three homes during the first two weeks of January, the DEC said.

The DEC said it is “working quickly and aggressively… to investigate all possible sources of MTBE contamination.” The agency said it started a groundwater investigation to identify the source and extent of the MTBE contamination “within days” of notification by the Suffolk County health department.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.