On Thursday Feb. 9, 2023 the Orient Association hosted a Zoom Information Session so that the community can learn more about the expanded water testing survey for PFAS contaminants that is being performed by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS). Jason Hime, the Principal Public Health Engineer of the SCDHS Department of Water Resources offered a short presentation covering the following:
- What are PFAS contaminants and where do they come from?
- What are the health effects?
- What are the regulations on PFAS levels?
- The Orient Village Survey- scope of water testing and follow up.
Where in Orient is Suffolk County Testing?
Who can I call for more information or to request testing?
Call the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) Office of Water Resources at 631-852-5810
Where can I find more information about PFOA/PFOS in private wells?
New York State Department of Health has a lot of information about PFAS in private wells. https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/pfasinprivatewells.htm
Has water at Browns Hills and Oysterponds School been tested?
Yes. Oysterponds School was recently tested for PFOAs and PFOSs. Here are the readings for the school – numbers are in parts per trillion:
July 12, 2021
Feb. 14, 2022
less than 2
June 8, 2022
less than 2
Sept. 26, 2022
less than 2
less than 2
Keep in mind that the NY State Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) is 10 parts per trillion for both PFOA and PFOS individually. Under 2 parts per trillion is considered undetectable.
Browns Hills water, which is controlled by the Suffolk County Water Authority, had no detectable PFAS going back to 2019. This is before and after filtration.
What is the source of this potential contamination?
Testing is the first step. Without test results from most of the wells in the testing area, it is difficult or impossible to determine the source(s). The first priority is to identify and remediate affected wells.
After the current well testing SCDHS may do groundwater investigation to try to determine the source if there is widespread contamination.
Is everyone in the testing area required to have their wells tested?
Testing is not currently a requirement, but is highly recommended. The more data Suffolk County has, the more precisely we will know the characteristics of any contamination and how best to remediate.
Within the testing area, these tests are done by the county at no cost to the well owner.
If you have seasonal or part time neighbors, try to contact them so that they can participate.
Is there any cost for well testing?
For wells within the testing area, there is no cost involved.
In 2023 Suffolk County Department of Health Service (SCDHS) will be including PFAS in their standard well testing. Their phone number is (631) 852-5810. If you are within the survey area- you can use this phone number to make an appointment for testing.
What if my well is outside the testing area?
- Wait until 2023 when SCDHS will include PFAS/PFOS In routine water test… or
- Have private testing done by a testing lab
You are still eligible for free filtration from NYS even if you’re outside the test area if your drinking water is above the maximum contamination level of 10 parts per trillion of PFOA or PFOS. There is also the possibility that SCDHS will expand the survey area if results indicate the need.
- Goldman Water Testing (631) 298-4640
- Long Island Analytical (631) 472-3400.
- Maximum Environmental Management (631) 589-1225
In 2023 Suffolk County Department of Health Service (SCDHS) will be including PFAS in their standard well testing. Their phone number is (631) 852-5810. If you are within the survey area, you can use this phone number to make an appointment for testing.
When will my test results be available.
PFOS/PFOA test results should be available about a month after your water is sampled. If your PFOS/PFOA levels are over 10 parts per trillion, Suffolk County will contact you as soon as these results are in.
Comprehensive analysis of VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, inorganics, bacteria, etc. will be ready in 3-4 months.
Staff will contact you as results are completed, starting with PFOS/PFOA tests, if a contaminant is detected over a drinking water standard and provide guidance. A letter will be mailed once the comprehensive test results are completed.
What happens if my water tests above the safe limit?
If your water is tested as part of the survey and if PFOS and/or PFOA are detected at or above a drinking water standard, NYS has been providing an alternate water source (e.g. bottled water, POET, public water connection where available)
What kind of filtration systems are used to reduce PFOA/PFOS to safe levels
Point of use systems (POUs) attach at the point where your water is dispensed. These can be installed at your drinking water tap. This would typically be a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system.
Point of entry systems (POEs) are water filtration systems that are installed at your homes main waterline and filter the water used throughout your home. This would typically be the Activated Carbon (Charcoal) Water Filter.
Maintenance is necessary for both types of systems. The frequency of required maintenance depends on level of contamination and water use.
Private Filtration Systems
- GNS Mermaid: Reverse Osmosis and Activated (Carbon) Charcoal (631) 298-4278
- Maximum Environmental Management: Reverse Osmosis and Activated (Carbon) Charcoal (631) 589-1225
- Casola Well Drillers: Activated Charcoal only (631) 281-5454
What happens during a well test?
A Suffolk County Department of Health Services technician will come to your home and identify themselves during the scheduled test window. They prefer to take samples from your kitchen sink. They will run your sink faucet for a couple of minutes to bring up fresh well water. They will then fill approximately 14 different sample containers with water from your faucet. The bacteriologic test requires that the faucet nozzle be sterile. The technician will clean the faucet with sterile wipes and then briefly apply a very small controlled flame (looks like a BBQ lighter) to the nozzle before filling the sterile container.
Here’s what a sample kit looks like: