'They're worried about cancer.' Suffolk residents push for project to have access to safe drinking water
Suffolk County residents are pushing for a project they say will allow them to have access to safe and clean drinking water.
Homeowners say local officials must act to secure grant money that is needed for the project.
Manorville residents spoke to the Riverhead Town Board Tuesday to obtain the grant that would help over the $9.5 million cost to connect their well water homes to a public water system.
"They are in desperate need of being hooked up to the public water supply, so they have safe, clean drinking water," says Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Concerned Citizens for the Environment.
Esposito says 64 homes in Manorville are using private wells that are contaminated or at risk for contamination of highly toxic chemicals linked to cancers called PFAs.
"Most of the residents don't actually drink the water - they rely on bottled water for drinking and cooking - but they are still washing their dishes, washing their clothing, they are still bathing in it," says Kelly McClinchy, of Manorville.
The residents say the Town of Riverhead needs to send in the grant application to New York state next month.
They say the holdup is that they must demonstrate that they have the capacity to provide water to the residents. They say the way to do this is to form an agreement with Suffolk County Water Authority, which is not currently in place.
Esposito says recently 64 well water homes in Brookhaven have received grants to connect to a public water system, something they hope can happen in Manorville.
"You're worried about money, they're worried about cancer," Esposito says.
The Riverhead town supervisor says they are aware of the deadline and are working closely with the water authority and other officials to try and optimize the allowance of the grant.
An executive session is scheduled for Thursday to discuss further.