JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO
A house on Peconic Lake in Calverton. Residents in the
surrounding neighborhood have long complained of polluted well
water. Elected leaders believe they could be close to securing
federal funding to bring public water to the area
A Calverton man who has already invested thousands of dollars in pumping
clean water into his house said he would be willing to sign on for a
public project in his neighborhood — even if it meant he’d be forced to
spend more money.
That’s how badly his brown-water plagued community needs such a project, he told the News-Review.
Guthrie lives in Peconic Lake Estates, a neighborhood near Pinehurst
Boulevard and South River Road that consists of about 215 houses, all
served by polluted well water.
Residents there have complained for years about the quality of their water, which is brown in color and heavy in iron.
neighborhood should have public water,” Mr. Guthrie said, adding that
he’s willing to foot the initial cost all residents would have to share
to pay the Suffolk County Water Authority for establishment of a public
Elected officials are making a push to redirect $2
million in stimulus money — funds that were slated to run a water main
through a 24-home Orient neighborhood called Browns Hills — to help pay
for the project.
Residents in the isolated Orient hamlet rejected
the federal funds, fearing the infrastructure would lead to increased
But even if a project is undertaken in Peconic Lake
Estates, residents there would still have to pay a private plumber to
connect their homes to the public water system — a step Mr. Guthrie
said he’ll forgo for now.
He’s willing to contribute his share of the
initial cost, he said, though he wouldn’t be interested in paying a
plumber about $12 per foot to run pipes from the public water system to
his home — which has a 300-foot driveway.
“If and when my well goes
bad, then I’ll hook up,” said Mr. Guthrie, who about 18 months ago spent
about $3,000 for a revamped well and filtration system.
community benefit to the public water system would be the installation
of fire hydrants, which the Peconic Lake Estates area lacks.
at the Suffolk County Water Authority, which is not a county agency but
a state public benefit corporation for water service, said they are
interested in the Calverton project, but couldn’t comment further until a
decision is made about stimulus funding.
Water authority attorney
Timothy Hopkins said that, typically, if 40 percent of a residential
area is in favor of public water, the SCWA would move forward on a
There have been several attempts to bring public water to
Peconic Lake Estates, but past efforts have been defeated. While many
homeowners want public water, they can’t afford the authority’s initial
costs for a public system.
Mr. Guthrie said the community’s last
attempt involved a $5,500 cost per resident. When the authority asked
residents for $1,000 down, he said, it counted the number of checks
received and determined that approval for the project at Peconic Lake
Estates was less than 40 percent.
On Monday, Congressman Tim Bishop
(D-Southampton) sent a request to the state Department of Health that
was written jointly with state Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson),
county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), state Assemblyman Marc
Alessi (D-Shoreham) and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko (D-East
The request asks the Department of Health to instruct the
Environmental Facilities Corporation — a public benefit corporation
that provides funding and technical support to municipalities — to
shift the $2 million in stimulus money from the Browns Hills project to
the Calverton neighborhood.
Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesman for the
state health department, said once his office receives the letter it
will respond to the request.