Now is the time for East Quogue residents to fill out applications that request Southampton Town pay to connect their homes to new Suffolk County Water Authority mains.
The rebate program, passed in a July resolution, reimburses residents to attach to 10,000 feet of extensions along Damascus Road, Dogwood Street, First Place, Lakewood Avenue, Lewis Road, Quogue-Riverhead Road, West Side Avenue, and William Street.
The legislation was approved after 45 private drinking water wells were found to have high levels of perfluorinated compounds — perfluorooctanesulfonic and perfluorooctanoic acids — during Department of Environmental Conservation testing. The DEC originally found levels of PFOS 150 times the federal health advisory level at the former Damascus Road landfill in February 2018. The chemicals are linked to health concerns such as impaired fetal growth and damage to the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
SCWA has generated responses from 60 of the 117 residences effected, and as of September 12, the town approved $128,000 worth of work, with $45,000 already rebated, according to Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone.
“I’m encouraged,” he said, adding SCWA sent out mailers twice, along with going door-to-door on two Saturdays to provide residents with information about the program. “SCWA has done a good job of notifying people, and has been responsive to town and community questions. Responses are increasing now that community members see trucks on the road digging up the ground and putting in pipes.”
Work began the last week of August. The main extension, divvied into 13 work sites, should be completed by the first or second week of October, Zappone said.
While the legislation puts no end date on the process, homeowners must fill out an application identifying their property, a licensed plumber to do the work, the plumber’s cost estimate, and the linear distance from the water main to the house to get approved for the rebate. Homeowners will also fill out a W-9 Internal Revenue Service form. The town will be issuing 1099 forms at the end of the year associated with the reimbursement amount.
Southampton, which can use 20 percent of the previous year’s Community Preservation Fund revenues for water quality improvement projects, is repaying residents just for that connection from the main to the house. The town board unanimously approved using $4 million in CPF funds to pay for the $2 million cost of the extensions, along with surcharges and associated tapping fees.
“I’m glad to hear it’s getting done and we’re getting water to people,” said Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
The town submitted two grant applications with technical support from SCWA. The DEC advanced one of those to the second round, awards for which will be announced in December. Schneiderman said it could potentially cover about 70 percent of the cost. Zappone said the DEC assured the town its application would be approved, but no formal word was given, nor what the exact amount of the grant would be.
“It’s a significant amount of money,” Zappone said.
Councilwoman Julie Lofstad said residents at the East Quogue Citizens Advisory Committee meeting asked when work will be done on their streets. The deputy supervisor said while work began on Lewis Road, the town is unsure the order of operation, but that SCWA representatives have told him they will be letting residents know the week prior when they will be moving to their area.
Community members have also questioned whether their homes are eligible. According to the law, eligibility is within the hamlet of East Quogue as defined by the geographic information system map.
For more information contact the town’s principal planner Janice Scherer by phone at 631-702-1809 or email [email protected].