Bays Water Concerns Cleared Before Big Holiday Weekend

The water flowing through faucets in Hampton Bays last week had Southampton Town officials concerned that the hamlet’s residents’ Fourth of July would be red, white, and brown — due to rusty water stirred up in the pipes — but the water clarity issue was cleared up just in time for the holiday.

A combination of decreased water pressure from the hot weather and restricted access to water caused sediment to be stirred up in the district’s pipes, officials said. Access to water has been constricted by the ongoing construction of a $1 million carbon filtration system that forced three wells, which tested positive for perfluorinated compounds, to be shut down last year at the Hampton Bays Water District property, just off Ponquogue Avenue.

The discoloration problem was brought under control by workers accessing water from an annex of the Suffolk County Water Authority to add additional water to the district’s system.

Town officials do not believe the water quality was affected by anything else, although Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman ordered the water district’s new wells to be tested and suggested that tap water in homes affected by the discoloration might also be tested.

On Monday, the town announced that Hampton Bays residents would be required to participate in an odd/even number lawn watering system for the time being. Those residents whose street address is an even number are allowed to water their lawns on even-numbered days and those with odd street numbers are allowed to water their lawns on odd-numbered days.

Schneiderman said he spoke with someone from H2M, the engineers on the construction project, and they expect the filtration job to be completed by mid-July. The filtration system is expected to reduce traces of the perfluorinated compounds down to a “non-detectable level,” he said.

For now, Schneiderman says there is enough water in the well fields to keep residents of the water district going.

“It’s like a time-of-day issue as well,” he said. “I think, based on this now, we are going to be okay.”

Community Center

Developers Gregg and Mitchell Rechler were expected to unveil preliminary plans for a community center in Westhampton at a meeting with stakeholders on Monday, Councilman John Bouvier said.

The Rechlers, who are developing property located in Suffolk County’s Industrial Development zone at Francis S. Gabreski Airport, have offered space to the town to lease for a community center in a building that they would construct. The preliminary drawings are based on a wish list of items, with suggestions for a floor plan including a kitchen, childcare center, and other items such as solar panels, and LEED construction standards. It was also suggested that the building be constructed, so there is a separate, isolated entrance away from the rest of the industrial development.

Bouvier said the plans, which are only in their infancy, may or may not require public hearings and town board approval as would previous plans presented to the community.

“We are working with them to make that dream come true,” he said.

Beautification Effort

Town officials are working to determine the ownership of several stanchions, or metal road barriers, located around the Long Island Rail Road station at Hampton Bays, in hopes it will speed up a program aimed at sprucing them up and allowing them to serve as an “expression zone” for young adults as part of the Opioid Addiction Task Force’s recommendations.

Under the program, the barriers, which are three to four feet tall, will be painted with colorful murals by students from the Hampton Bays School District, according to Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni. The idea is the brainchild of the Hampton Bays Beautification Association, though Schiavoni said he is not sure how the program would be paid for and where the paint would be stored.

The reason why the town is not moving forward with the project is that it needs to determine whether the town purchased and installed the barriers or the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Schiavoni said. Once that is complete, officials will have better idea on how the project will proceed, he added.

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