Is there an Environmental impact of Groundwater in  Downtown Montauk?

Because of the density of development in Downtown Montauk, especially that of motels and residential condominiums or cooperatives, it is taken for granted that groundwater downtown does not meet County or State standards for drinking water. For this reason, as well as the availability of public water in Downtown Montauk, we are reasonably certain that all improved properties in the downtown area are served by public water.

Because no one is relying on groundwater under the 80-acre Downtown Montauk district, there is no adverse impact to human health due to drinking the groundwater in this area. Simply stated, contaminated groundwater in Downtown Montauk has zero impact on drinking water resources.

No business or residential property in Downtown Montauk uses well water drawn from beneath this district. In addition, there no public water supply wells in the downtown area. Finally, because groundwater in Downtown Montauk is at a low elevation and is being pushed out to sea by the higher water table behind it, none of the groundwater under Downtown Montauk migrates into the other parts of Montauk, which comprise more than 12,000 acres.

Nevertheless, the Town of East Hampton proposes to take polluted groundwater from Downtown Montauk and pump it to a sewage treatment plant atop one of Montauk’s remaining clean aquifers, in Hither Woods. Even if the Town has faith in its ability to run a trouble-free sewage treatment plant, this seems incredibly risky. The parkland owned by Suffolk County, on which the Town wants to site its sewer plant, is in a State- and County- designated Special Groundwater Protection Area (“SGPA”). See Exhibit 1. SGPA’s were established in parts of Suffolk County where groundwater resources were considered critical for the County’s future water supply. The Town itself has zoned this land “Parks & Conservation” and has placed it in a “Water Recharge Overlay District,” which was designed and intended to protect areas which are important to the Town’s drinking water supply. See Exhibit 2.

In short, the Town proposes to take contaminated groundwater from beneath Downtown Montauk, which at present seeps harmlessly out into the Atlantic Ocean, and pump it to a sewer plant to be built atop one of Montauk’s principal remaining drinking water aquifers. To call the Town’s plan illogical is being very kind.

The proposed Montauk sewage treatment plant would be built over the easternmost part of the Hither Woods aquifer, which is easily the largest aquifer on Montauk. This land is located in a Special Groundwater Protection Area (“SGPA”), so designated by Suffolk County pursuant to Article 55 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law.

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