Clean water activist Adrienne Esposito speaks at a press conference in Manorville Nov. 23, where residents gathered to demand state officials provide funding for public water in a remote area of Manorville where private wells are contaminated with toxic chemicals. Photo: Alek Lewis

A community information meeting on the status of a public water extension to serve homes in the Manorville area will take place on Wednesday, March 22 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Manorville Fire Department, according to an announcement by the Suffolk County Water Authority.

Representatives of the water authority, the Town of Brookhaven and the Town of Riverhead will provide residents in the project area with an update on efforts to bring safe drinking water to their homes, which have private wells that may be impacted by contamination. Testing of residents’ private wells in the area has indicated the presence of contaminants such as PFOS, MTBE, benzene, isopropylbenzene and acetone.

In a separate press release Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said the meeting would provide an update on the ongoing funding acquisition efforts to connect 64 Manorville homes located in the Town of Riverhead to public water.

The town and the water authority entered an agreement last fall to have the water authority provide public water to homes in that area, located in the southwest corner of the Town of Riverhead near the Brookhaven Town line. It is closer to the nearest Suffolk County Water Authority main than it is to the nearest Riverhead Water District main. The agreement was intended to expedite a public water extension to the homes, with the water authority constructing the extension and providing the water. It was also intended to bolster the chances of both the authority and the town to obtain federal and state funding for the project.

Riverhead Town is slated to receive $3.5 million in congressionally directed spending from 2022, which it agreed to appropriate to the Manorville water extension. It received another $2 million in federal funds last year. The town so far has come up short on its applications to secure additional support, but is filing new applications. The water authority got the same $3.5 million in from the omnibus spending bill to extend public water to 64 other homes located in the Town of Brookhaven. But the authority also received $2.7 million in a water infrastructure grant from the State Environmental Facilities Corp. 

Riverhead Town’s original cost estimate for extending water to the Manorville homes in its jurisdiction was just under $6 million, according to an estimate prepared in 2020 by the Riverhead Water District’s consulting engineers, H2M. The price tag for the extension has since increased to an estimated $9.5 million due to inflation, according to town officials.

The upcoming informational meeting will be held both in person and via Zoom. Contact Jenn Hann at 631-218-1174 or to obtain the Zoom link.

The Manorville Fire Department is located at 16 Silas Carter Road in Manorville.

Editor’s note: This story was amended to correct an omission in the funding reported received by the town and an error in the current estimate of the cost for the Riverhead portion of the extension. It is now $9.5 million not $14 million. (The $14 million figure includes a nearby proposed extension in Calverton.)

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