“Kim Ellen Shipman, a Wainscott resident, filed a class action complaint charging the Town of East Hampton and several other defendants are responsible for leaking chemicals that have compromised many drinking wells in the hamlet.
The New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal recently notified the town that it will not cover the cost of the suit should the class action prevail.
‘NYMIR has denied coverage,’ confirmed Michael Sendlenski, the East Hampton Town Attorney. Two other insurance plans that he characterized as ‘airport related’ may or may not come into play, he added.
The town is seeking damages from its fellow plaintiffs in the Shipman case — the 3M Company, Angus Fire, Chemguard, and National Foam — said Daniel Osborn of the Osborn Law Group, which represents Shipman…
The contamination is primarily from the chemicals perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid, which the town has acknowledged using and storing at the airport. In recent months, evidence has surfaced that the chemicals are much more dangerous than originally thought. If Wainscott residents who have been drinking the water for a long period of time start exhibiting health problems related to the water, they could sue for monetary damages, Osborn noted…
There’s a half-dozen nearby facilities and businesses that may have at one time contributed to the PFOA/PFOS pollution including a fire fighting facility, a carpet cleaning business, and a factory that built fuel caps for aircrafts.
‘The town would be liable for allowing the discharge, but once you get into contamination the liability gets pretty wide,’ Sendlenski said…
Osborn pointed out more than 100 homeowners who authorities say ‘refused to give permission’ to have their wells tested probably don’t even know a problem exists. That’s because there is no mail delivery to Wainscott residents; they must go to the central post office. Yet when the Suffolk County Water Authority sought to inform them of the problem, the letters were sent to street addresses and eventually marked undeliverable.
‘The mail gets rejected because there is no home delivery,’ Osborn said. ‘The town should hold a meeting and explain.’
East Hampton Town wants to provide funding for water filtration systems for each affected house while it goes through the legalities of forming a Wainscott water district. County water, at a cost of more than $24 million, will then be installed, and the cost will be repaid over 20 years — half by Wainscott residents who hook up to the water, and the rest by the town’s taxpayer base.
Wainscott residents say they don’t want to pay for any of it, since the town caused the problem. ‘It’s completely inequitable,’ Osborn said. ‘Most people are not happy.’ ”
Read the full article by Rick Murphy