Top Stories 2022: Fight for clean water in Calverton and Manorville continues

The drinking water situation in Calverton and Manorville wasn’t much different in 2022 than it was in the years before that. 

Residents in parts of those hamlets say their calls for clean drinking water are going nowhere. 

They would like to see state or federal money made available to help them connect to public water — either the Riverhead Water District in Riverhead Town or the Suffolk County Water Authority in Brookhaven Town. 

The latest blow came in November, when New York State awarded $50 million in grants to various organizations statewide but didn’t give anything to Riverhead or SCWA.

“We can’t wait any longer. We have to get this done now,” said Mike Martz, who has lived in Manorville for more than 20 years, on the effort to connect area homes to public water.

“Calverton needs clean drinking water,” said Adrienne Esposito of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

The Federal government did give Riverhead Town a $3.5 million grant for the water project in March of 2022, but town officials say it will take about $11 million.

A total of 64 homeowners live in the area that do not have access to public water. Those homeowners say their groundwater is being polluted and they blame the U.S. Navy for contaminating the when the land when it was leased to the Grumman Corporation, which built and tested fighter jets there. 

The Navy says the pollution is not from their property, and they are not responsible for its cleanup. 

The Navy has cleaned up some of the pollution on their property — much of which has been given to Riverhead Town.

The Grumman Corporation left the Calverton site in 1995, having operated there since 1956 making and testing fighter jets.

Riverhead Town took title to much of the land within the security fence there on Sept. 9, 1998.