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Town seeking state grant money to connect homes to Riverhead Water District

Riverhead Town is hoping to receive state grant money to cover the bulk of the estimated $13 million needed to connect homes in Manorville and Calverton to the Riverhead Water District, according to Dawn Thomas, the town’s community development director. 

The Environmental Facilities Corporation, a public benefit corporation, provides partial funding for upgrades to water infrastructure through its Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA).

The town is seeking to receive a large portion of the cost of upgrading its waste system from this fund. 

Residents of Manorville and parts of Calverton have for years reported pollutants in their private wells, but thus far have been unable to be connected with the Riverhead Water District. 

“I’m glad they are actively seeking funding,” said Kelly McClinchy of Manorville, who has acted as a spokesperson for the residents there. “This is really the point that we’ve been waiting for over the past year. We’ve known the results of the water samples for about a year now. The funding is the next step.”

She said about 40% of the homes there tested positive for volatile organic compounds, and 15-to-20% had PFOA in their water. 

Emerging contaminants are chemicals that are not currently, or have only recently, been regulated. and about which there exist concerns regarding their impact on human or ecological health.

In this case, the emerging contaminants would be PFOS and PFOA, according to Deputy Town Attorney Anne Marie Prudenti. 

PFOS (Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) and PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid), are man-made compounds that scientists say have numerous negative effects on humans.

The deadline for the grant application is Nov. 22, Ms. Thomas said. 

“The WIIA program will pay up to 60% of the total cost for planning infrastructure improvements to drinking water infrastructure,” according to a Town resolution. 

The Town Board approved a resolution on Nov. 3 seeking funding through the WIIA application. Two other such applications are scheduled to be voted on Tuesday, Nov. 16, calling for a SEQRA determination for the Riverhead Water District’s “emergent contaminants distributions projects,”

The resolution approved on Nov. 3 called for grant money to install water mains, appurtenances and fire hydrants on Middle Road, South Twomey Avenue and Deep Hole Drive in Calverton.  

A fourth resolution, approved Tuesday, was for a SEQRA determinations on a project to rehabilitate the Riverhead Water Elevated Storage tank on Route 58, which has an estimated cost of $3,876,000. 

A SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) determination specifies that the project will not have an adverse impact on the environmental.

The town is proposing to supply public water to 26 existing residential properties currently not served by the Riverhead Water District. 

The proposed extension of the Riverhead Water District would supply water to 57 existing residential properties, 9 commercial properties, and 7 vacant properties currently outside the Water District boundaries, according to the resolution.

“The project will provide improved public drinking water quality,” the resolution states.