Read the full article by Denise Civiletti (Riverhead Local)

“Riverhead will retain a California-based law firm specializing in environmental litigation to pursue the manufacturers of chemical contaminants that have been found in one of the Riverhead Water District’s wells.

The town board is expected to vote Tuesday to retain the firm Sher Edlin LLP of San Francisco, California to sue the manufacturers of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and related harmful perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) for damages related to the contamination of the Riverhead Water District’s drinking water supply.

The firm will take the case on a contingency basis — meaning it only collects a fee if the town recovers a damages award as a result of the lawsuit — according to a legal services agreement the town board will vote to approve at its meeting Tuesday.

There is one well in the water district known to have PFOS/PFOA contamination, Riverhead Water District Superintendent Frank Mancini said in an interview yesterday. The contaminants have been detected in one of the two wells at Plant 5, located on Middle Road east of Northville Turnpike in Riverhead, Mancini said.

The State DEC allows the water district to blend water from the two wells at Plant 5 before the water enters the system, so that the water entering the system from that plant does not exceed the New York State’s newly adopted standard of 10 parts per trillion.

Riverhead’s 2019 annual water quality report, issued in May, lists perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as ‘unregulated contaminants’ detected in samples taken on Feb. 27, 2019 at levels of 8.43 and 15.9 parts per trillion, respectively. The report does not state the location of the well(s) where the contaminants were detected…”