FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2013
Contact: Jennifer Garvey
SPEONK SOLVENT PLUME WORKING GROUP FOCUSES ON NEED FOR ADDITIONAL MONITORING
The Speonk Solvent Plume (SSP) Working Group held its first formal meeting on Thursday, May 2 at the Westhampton Free Library. The group, which includes representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Legislator Jay Schneiderman, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, Councilman Chris Nuzzi, residents with technical expertise in hydrogeology and community leaders, focused its discussion primarily on the resources and commitments needed for future monitoring efforts of both the Speonk Solvent Plume area and a nearby second area of concern under the Dock Road neighborhood.
“The priority is to fully understand and monitor the nature of the public health threat these areas of contamination pose so we can protect our residents from exposure and take appropriate actions to prevent public health issues over the long term,” said Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. “And in order to do that properly, we need to do more monitoring, both of the Speonk Solvent Plume and this second area of concern,” she said.
Both the DEC and SCDHS representatives confirmed that the SSP area and nearby second area of concern have been the subject of extensive outreach efforts and repeat monitoring of private drinking water wells since 2008. Any property where the well water was identified as having levels of contaminants that exceeded drinking water standards has been hooked-up to public water, treatment systems have been installed to filter the contaminant, or the property has been supplied with bottled water via the DEC’s Alternate Drinking Water Supply Program.
The DEC representatives also announced that the agency has provided authorization to fund a monitoring program. Though the details and funding levels of the program have not yet been identified, the representatives stated they would look to the SSP Working Group for input in drafting the plan.
“The reclassification of the plume and continued monitoring and testing of the groundwater by the DEC is a step in the right direction,” said Councilman Chris Nuzzi. “It also provides us with the opportunity to assist in crafting the monitoring plan and potential remediation plan, so we can help ensure it is meeting our residents’ concerns.”
The function of the monitoring plan would be to track and understand the boundaries, depth, concentrations and movement of the contamination. This information would then inform actions to limit exposure to the contamination through land use or construction regulations, etc.
Local representatives expressed their interest in initiating the monitoring plan as quickly as possible and incorporating monitoring of the second area of concern, as well as the known SSP area.
“I think it is important that we know more about the path and depth of this contamination as soon as possible,” said Stephanie Davis, a Remsenburg resident and professional hydrogeologist. “The contamination in the second area of concern, though much less concentrated, is shallower and located closer to points of discharge, which makes it more concerning to me in the short term than the primary Speonk Solvent Plume,” she said.
“I think a key message for homeowners in the area is that, if you are using well water, be sure to have your water tested annually. The SCDHS will provide this service for free, so cost is not an issue,” said Legislator Schneiderman.
A first action item of the group is for the Town, SCDHS and Suffolk County Water Authority to collaborate on another round of outreach to properties using well water in order to complete another area-wide study of groundwater. Properties in the targeted testing area will received outreach letters before the end of May.
“There are very knowledgeable and experienced representatives serving on this committee,” said Andrea Spilka, President of the Southampton Town Civic Coalition. “We have a lot of work ahead, but with this group, strengthened by the support of our town, county and state officials and the recognition that we are now receiving from the DEC, I expect that we’ll be able to put together a strong plan for managing these contamination issues,” she said.
Additional Information about the Speonk Solvent Plume is available on the Town web site via this link: