Navy wants to sample private wells near EPCAL

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The Navy is encouraging anyone using a private well within a designated area around the former Grumman property in Calverton to contact them to get their water sampled at no cost.

The Calverton site was previously owned by the Navy and operated by the Grumman Corporation as a Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, where fighter jets were built and tested.

Grumman occupied the site from 1956 to 1996 and merged with the Northrop Corporation in 1994 before moving its Calverton operations off Long Island.

The specific target of the testing is a firefighting foam that was used in crash responses, equipment testing and firefighting training at the site, according to the Navy. The Navy said it has developed a policy to address past releases of compounds known as PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances) into groundwater and/or soil at Navy sites with a history of firefighting activities.

PFAS are man-made compounds, not found in nature, that were used in, among other things, firefighting foam, stain-resistant carpeting and nonstick cookware.

The potential health effects of PFAS include increased cholesterol, decreased fertility, immune system changes and increased risk of certain types of cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. These findings were based on studies of people who experienced high levels of exposure to the PFAS, the EPA said.

Because PFAS have been detected in groundwater in two locations within the industrial core at EPCAL, the Navy feels they might also be present in private drinking water wells in the designated areas because of their proximity to the former Grumman site.

The areas where the Navy seeks to sample drinking water sources are downgradient from areas already known or suspected as PFAS sites.

The Navy has released a map showing residential Calverton neighborhoods north of Route 25, such as Timber Drive, Penny Drive and South Path, and residences along River Road south and east of EPCAL as the areas in question.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said its monitoring shows that most people in the U.S. have PFAS in their bodies, and the levels of have been decreasing over time following their phase-out from use.

The CDC says some types of PFAS stay in the body for a long time and there is no recommended medical treatment to eliminate it. People are exposed to PFAS primarily through the ingestion of contaminated food, officials say.

The Navy recommends that people in the target area who get their water from private wells have those wells tested at least once a year.

The businesses inside the industrial park at EPCAL and many residents living near the site are connected to the Riverhead Water District, and officials said that water is not contaminated.

About 230 residents were notified and the Navy says there are about 53 additional where it’s unclear if private wells are in use.

Anyone wishing to make an appointment with the Navy to have their well tested for free should call 1-833-737-7267. Appointments are available until Oct. 5.

Officials say well testing normally takes less than an hour. As of Friday, the second day of testing, 10 homes had signed up for testing and seven tests had been completed, according to Navy spokesperson JC Kreidel. The Navy sent out a second mailer this week.

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