“As the Suffolk County Water Authority announced this week it was expanding its search for contaminated wells around East Hampton Airport, it also acknowledged for the first time that East Hampton Town had told state officials PFCs or PFOA, the chemicals in question, had indeed been used and stored at the airport.

‘Since the East Hampton Airport indicated that it had used or stored products that may have contained PFOS and PFOA, the state requested that the Suffolk County Department of Health Services sample drinking water supplies near the airport,’ said Grace Kelly-McGovern, a SCWA spokeswoman, on May 26.

The fear is the chemicals may have spread even farther than originally thought, perhaps as far as Sagaponack in Southampton Town and southeast to Beach Lane and Georgica Pond in southern Wainscott. Merchant’s Path, west of the airport, will be tested as well.

Residents in these areas have been urged not to drink well water until testing is completed.

The decision to increase the testing area indicates officials likely believe the contamination is more widespread than originally thought and comes at a highly contentious time for Wainscott.

A class action lawsuit seeking damages for area residents whose health may become compromised from drinking and bathing with the water has been filed. East Hampton Town recently allocated emergency funding to install filters at homes with private wells. And the town intends to form a water district and pipe in county water for an estimated $24 million, a cost that will be shared by Wainscott residents and town taxpayers…

So far a total of 439 properties potentially served with private wells have been identified. A total of 302 wells on 293 properties have been tested, and 135 have tested positive; 122 residents have not responded to repeated requests to allow SCWA to come on their properties. Nine wells have been found to contain perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, above the federal health advisory level of .07 parts per billion.

Bottled water is being made available free of charge to residents in the survey area who use a private well and may be obtained by calling the Town of East Hampton Purchasing Department at 631-324-4183 Monday through Friday or emailing  jcarroza@ehamponny.gov. Residents in the expanded testing area who live in the Town of Southampton can obtain bottled drinking water by contacting the Town of Southampton at jwilson@southamptontownny.gov or by telephone at 631-283-6055…

At least one East Hampton official said privately as recently as a month ago that the contamination might be coming from a privately owned parcel or parcels not owned by the town. If true that would have alleviated at least some of the town’s legal culpability.”

Read the full article by Rick Murphy