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Equipment needed for town to remove contamination from water well

Riverhead Town is being asked to purchase $2 million worth of equipment to remove contamination from one of its water wells on Middle Road, which has shown levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS.
PFOS was commonly used as a firefighting foam, but it also is used in many personal care products, such as fabric softener, Gore-Tex clothing and Teflon, according to Frank Mancini, the town’s recently appointed water district superintendent. Mr. Mancini spoke before the Town Board at its work session Thursday.
The PFOS concern is at Plant 5, which is located on the north side of Middle Road, west of Doctors Path.
There are two wells at that site.
The current federal level for a PFOS health advisory is 70 parts per trillion. The last sample the town took was 12.3 parts per trillion, which is well under the federal limit, but above what officials believe will be a new New York State standard of 10 parts per trillion, Mr. Mancini said. That would be the lowest standard in the country, he said.
Officials say that change is expected to take place in the spring.
The town is also hoping the state will allow the wells to be treated through blending, meaning that clean water would be put in the well to dilute the PFOS contamination, he said.
“Blending is an important thing to campaign for, especially with two wells side by side,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said.
“If they tell us we can’t blend, we will be down one well,” Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said.
Of the two wells at the Plant 5 site, only one of the has shown PFOS detections about 10 ppt, Mr. Mancini said. The other well is in the 2 to 3 ppt range.
The PFOS problem has been showing up all over the country, said John Collins, an engineer with H2M who represents the town. He said he’s seen levels as high at 200 ppt, although most are in the 15 to 25 range.
PFOS isn’t the only problem at Plant 5.
The town recently authorized the bonding of $6 million to pay for removal of the manganese at Plant 5. The town received a $3 million grant to pay for part of that project.
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