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Chemicals Found In Westhampton Area Well Water Spark Concern

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Concerns are mounting about what is in the water after chemicals were found in water wells in Suffolk County.

The wells are located near Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, and families with private drinking wells may be at risk, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported.

In Westhampton and Westhampton Beach, residents in homes that rely on private water wells have been warned to drink bottled water – and to have their well water supply tested right away.

"They said that if you were concerned of contamination to please call," a woman said.

"I've called up the water department, and say, 'What's this thing about the water?'" said Pete Van Bladal.

Van Bladal lives in the zone, south of Gabreski Airport and east to the Quogue border. A total of 100 families may be at risk.

"Really not a need for alarm or panic," said environmental toxicologist Amy Juchatz. "That health advisory is set with a large cushion of protection."

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, doing routine monitoring of wells in three years near the Air National Guard runways, discovered low-level contamination of two chemicals -- perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid – linked to spraying foam in training exercises.

"The foam that's used by firefighters to suppress certain kinds of fires, and that is what has gotten into this groundwater and drinking water," said Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken.

Tomarken said the county is being proactive to preempt any possible risks to pregnant women, those who breastfeed, and babies.

Joshua and Malissa Young were notified and took action.

"The water tested well," Joshua Young said. "We still have a little water purifier on there."

But fears lingered.

"Obviously, this makes me very concerned," Malissa Young said. "We have three children. One has two autoimmune diseases. I am passionate about our environment."

Who will pay? The state and county want the military to pony up the nearly $2,000 per home it would cost to move each family onto the public water supply.

Remediation advisories are expected within a week. Until then, bottled water will be provided for free.

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