After residents raised concerns about drinking water quality at a recent meeting in Manorville, the Riverhead Town Board on Wednesday voted to prepare a “map and plan” for the possible extension of the Riverhead Water District to a section of Manorville that is served only by private wells, many of which have contaminants, according to residents.
The board authorized H2M Architects + Engineers to do a map and plan — at a cost of $9,500 — to determine, among other things, the anticipated cost of extending the water district to Manorville, south of the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
It also will determine the proposed boundary of the extension, grant opportunities, the projected bonding interest rate on the proposed extension, before the Town Board can schedule a public hearing.
Councilman Tim Hubbard said after the meeting that he was told the cost of extending the water district to this section of Manorville could be about $3 million.
Manorville resident Kelly McClinchy has circulated a petition with 63 signatures of residents asking that public water be extended to their homes.
At a Jan. 29 meeting of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command’s Restoration Advisory Board in Manorville, a number of residents asked that public water be extended to their neighborhood. Many residents saying that their water already is contaminated and others expressing fears that some of the contaminants that were the result of the Navy and the Grumman Corporation’s operations at the site from 1956 to 1996 could also be impacting their water.
Officials from the Navy said they could only address contamination issues that could be attributed to the Navy’s operations.
Supervisor Yvette Aguiar was the only Town Board member at that meeting, and a representative of Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) attended and spoke, saying that Mr. Zeldin feels the Navy should expand its sampling of groundwater in the area.
Ms. Aguiar said Wednesday that there are 54 homes in this area that use well water, and are not connected to the town water district.
“The conversation has started,” Ms. Aguiar said.
The Navy turned over most of the former Grumman site to the town in 1998, but kept some properties in order to clean up contamination on those properties before giving them to the town, as well. The Navy still owns about 211 acres which is being cleaned up.
Meanwhile, Ms. Aguiar said the Suffolk County Water Authority has a meeting scheduled for Thursday to discuss extending public water to Manorville. She said Riverhead Town was not invited to that meeting, and she feels SCWA is trying to take over the Riverhead Water District, something town officials in the past, such as former Supervisor Sean Walter, had alleged, although SCWA denied it.
“Last year, I said they were trying to take it over, and I still say they are trying to take it over,” Ms. Aguiar said.
SCWA officials could not immediately be reached for comment.