Riverhead awarded $5M for drinking water upgrades

Riverhead Town has received a $5 million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – Emerging Contaminant grant aimed at connecting residents who have contaminated water to the Riverhead Water District, according to Town Supervisor Tim Hubbard.

Since 2022, Riverhead had received an additional $5.5 million in Congressionally Directed Spending and $5 million in previous BIL-EC funding for similar projects. The total amount of grant funding received to protect Riverhead’s residents since 2022 now stands at $15.5 million. 

The latest $5 million grant will enable either the Riverhead Water District to provide potable water to 73 single-family homes and six industrial properties with contaminated private wells via connections to public water through water district extensions 95 and 96, Mr. Hubbard said. 

Extension 95 is located in the southwest portion of Riverhead Town along various roadways in Calverton, north of the Peconic River, east of Connecticut Avenue and west of Edwards Avenue, according to Mr. Hubbard. The area includes about 28 single-family homes along River Road, Railroad Avenue, Private Road and Canoe Lake Drive. 

Extension 96 is located in the central portion of town along various roadways in Calverton, including Middle Road, Deep Hole Road, Twomey Avenue and Middle Country Road and comprises approximately 45 single-family homes and six industrial properties. 

The supervisor said that almost all the homes in these areas have contaminated water.

Mr. Hubbard credited Riverhead’s representatives in Congress — senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Nick LaLota — for their efforts to secure federal funds for New York State to provide clean water to residents in Riverhead. 

Mr. Hubbard also expressed gratitude for the support of state Sen. Anthony Palumbo and Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio. 

The funds were applied for by the town’s Community Development Agency to provide potable public water to residents whose private wells have become contaminated, Mr. Hubbard said. 

“The health and safety of Riverhead residents will remain a priority throughout my administration,” he said. “The Town of Riverhead’s diligence to address the important need to provide potable water to our residents was once again supported by our federal and state public officials at the behest of the entire Riverhead Town Board and with strong public support.” 

Some wells have tested positive for multiple contaminants in amounts that exceed EPA limits, including perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and perfluoroalkyl carboxylate, or PFOA, These substances were developed in the 1940s and 1950s and are commonly used in firefighting foams. They are often called “forever” chemicals because they build up in the human digestive system and remain in the body for long periods of time. 

“I worked hard to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs law because I know there are critical projects across Long Island that need federal funding to move forward,” Mr. Schumer said in a press release, “and the law continues to bear fruit, with another $5 million headed to Riverhead Town to connect homeowners with at-risk water wells to the Riverhead Water District. I applaud Town Supervisor Tim Hubbard and his team, as well as New York State, for working to secure safer drinking water for these residents.”