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County data could help Riverhead Water District obtain grant funding

Riverhead Town is getting some help from the Suffolk County Health Department, which has provided the town’s Water District with private well data that town officials hope will assist in getting grants aimed at helping homeowners in Manorville and Calverton connect to public water. 

“We got an excellent summary of private well data results” from the county, Riverhead Water District Superintendent Frank Mancini said in an interview.

The town is looking for evidence of man-made contaminants such as PFOS, PFOA or 1,4 Dioxane, which have been detected in private wells in levels above drinking water standards, Mr. Mancini said. 

The information from the health department redacts names and home addresses but they do allow the town to determine the range of detection for contaminants.

Mr. Mancini said the town also has learned of other contamination issues in Riverhead. 

These include parts of Twomey Avenue, Manor Lane and Depot Road in Calverton, he said. Those areas do not have water mains. Mr. Mancini said there are about eight detections of homes above the drinking water standards in this area.

In the case of homes that have been tested positive for contaminants, the state will provide “point of use filtration,” Mr. Mancini said. In these cases, he said if there is, for example, a chemical that can be removed with a carbon filter, the state will provide the carbon filter.

The town is hoping that these readings will help it to obtain grant money to cover the cost of connecting to the town Water District. 

The town has filed three grant applications seeking funding to help homeowners in Manorville and Calverton, according to Dawn Thomas, the town’s community development director.

One of them has been passed in the House of Representatives, but not in the U.S. Senate.

“We’ve been applying for as many grants as we can relating to water infrastructure improvements,” Ms. Thomas said. “Most of them are revolving sources every year, so it gives us a lot of opportunities to apply for funding.”

The town in November said it 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.

Councilman Ken Rothwell said a bill submitted in the House of Representatives by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) was approved in the House but not in the Senate, where senators Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) submitted similar bills. 

Board member Ken Rothwell said $3.5 million is the most the town can get from this grant. The grant would provide that amount for the Riverhead Town side and $3.5 million for Brookhaven Town, which would be covered by the Suffolk County Water Authority. 

In addition, the town’s water district is negotiating with its highway department regarding the specific location of a new $2 million water storage tower in Wading River. The town had received $3.67 in funding from the American Recovery Plan Act over a two-year period. 

Mr. Mancini said this tank will be able to send water into the Manorville and Calverton areas. 

“This is a game-changer,” said.

The tank is a ground storage tank that can hold 2.5 million gallons, officials said.