$1.5M Funding Advances Riverhead Water Project

Officials announced the water funding on April 13 in Riverhead town
Officials announced the water funding on April 13

Sixty-four Manorville homes will get hooked up to the public drinking water system with the help of $1.5 million in funding after residents’ well water was polluted by a Calverton facility.

The funds will pay for the cost of the project, which includes the price for installation of water mains, service lines to connect homes to the mains, as well as tapping fees and surcharges, officials announced on April 13.

“These homeowners have been waiting for too long for a definitive answer about the cost of connecting their homes to the public water supply,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “We are here today to eliminate any uncertainty about how this project will be paid for. With today’s announcement, we make it clear that these families will be connected to a safe and reliable source of drinking water at no cost. This day has been a long time coming.”

The county Department of Health Services tests revealed in 2020 that polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) well above New York State’s maximum contaminant level of 10 parts per trillion was found in private drinking water wells for homes near the former federally owned Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant (NWIRP), which closed in 1996.

The use of industrial-strength firefighting foam during past training exercises at the plant have been known to introduce chemicals such as PFAS into the surrounding groundwater. Exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Town of Riverhead and Suffolk County Water Authority have been working to obtain the grant funding needed to complete the estimated $10.85 million project. A total of $7.35 million in federal funding had been secured, the Suffolk County Water Authority’s Board of Directors recently approved a policy that authorizes a credit to homeowners that will reduce the project cost by $2.41 million, leaving a funding gap of about $1.3 million. The new $1.5 million award of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding from the county’s Water Infrastructure Fund will ensure that the project is fully funded and can be completed at no cost to homeowners.

A separate project to connect another 64 Manorville homes that fall within the Town of Brookhaven is moving forward due in part to a grant of ARPA funds by the town.