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Riverhead has been awarded more than $3.8 million in grant funding for the extension of public water to homes in the Manorville area, south of the former Northrop Grumman site and a separate $1.2 million grant to extend public water to homes on Forge Road in Calverton.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar was notified of the awards on Wednesday.

It was “very good news,” Aguiar said yesterday. Residents in the Manorville are have been seeking public water “for many, many years,” she said.

This brings the total federal and state funding awarded to Riverhead for the Manorville water extension to just over $7.3 million, plus a share of a $2 million in funding as a part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Community Project Funding grant program, which was part of a spending package passed by Congress in December.

The cost of the extension, which would connect 64 Manorville homes in the Town of Riverhead to public water, is currently estimated at $9.5 million.

Riverhead Town and the Suffolk County 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. The area 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.

The new award will be made from the 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Emerging Contaminants funding through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, according to a March 15 letter to the supervisor from the New York State Department of Health, which administers the revolving fund.

Last year, the town received $3.5 million in congressionally directed spending from the omnibus spending bill.

The water authority got the same $3.5 million in from the omnibus spending bill to extend public water to an additional 64 Manorville homes located in the Town of Brookhaven, which is served by SCWA. The water authority also landed a $2.7 million water infrastructure grant from the State Environmental Facilities Corp. last year.

SCWA has scheduled an informational meeting for Wednesday, March 22 at the Manorville Fire Department to discuss the status of the water main extensions in the Manorville Area.

Testing of residents’ private wells in the area has indicated the presence of contaminants such as PFAS, MTBE, benzene, isopropylbenzene and acetone.

News of the grant awards came one day after the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced its intention to establish, for the first time, a maximum contaminant level for six PFAS contaminants. The proposed new standard would be set at 4 parts per trillion, considered the lowest level at which they can be reliably measured.

According to the EPA:

  • PFAS are widely used, long lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time.
  • Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment.
  • PFAS are found in water, air, fish, and soil at locations across the nation and the globe.
  • Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.
  • There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products. This makes it challenging to study and assess the potential human health and environmental risks.

Research suggests that high levels of certain PFAS may have impacts on human health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include: increased cholesterol levels, decreased vaccine response in children, changes in liver enzymes, increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, small decreases in infant birth weights, and increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer.

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