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U.S. Geological Survey proposes saltwater intrusion study for Riverhead

Frederick Stumm of USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey has proposed a one-year well monitoring study for the Town of Riverhead to determine where saltwater intrusion has occurred.

“Nobody really has a clear understanding of what the saltwater interface looks like,” Supervisor Sean Walter said at last Thursday’s work session.

The geology underlying the town is complex and saltwater intrusion has increased chloride concentrations in some of the town’s supply wells, said Frederick Stumm of USGS. The goal of the study is to help prevent future water supply issues and provide “decades of information,” he said.

“We’re not learning a lot of information from the monitoring wells that you have already,” Mr. Strumm said. “The idea is, ‘Why don’t we take a look at the geology specifically?’ The geology underlines really what controls the groundwater.”

The study would identify up to four locations for observation wells where water samples and data can be collected. Town Board members expressed support for the study and will take a vote Wednesday on entering into contract with USGS.

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Photo: Frederick Stumm of USGS addressing the Town Board last Thursday. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)