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Town awaits re-testing results for Senior Center water

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Representatives from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are processing retests of water at the Medical Center building that also houses the Senior Activities Center.

Recent testing  revealed the presence of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE),  a colorless, manufactured liquid, according to a Suffolk County Department of Health Services notice that is posted at the center warning people not to drink the water.

MTBE historically was an additive in gasoline. Its use was banned as an additive in 2004, according to Town Engineer John Cronin. Mr. Cronin said the town regularly tests drinking water in all of its buildings and its last test showed it to be within the allowable 10 parts per billion, but the latest reading from the county was at 12 parts per billion.

High MTBE levels typically result from a gasoline spill or storage leak.

When the test results were revealed, word was posted at the center and on the Reporter website alerting those occupying the building to use bottled water until retesting.

While MTBE is not highly toxic, it can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and feelings of disorientation.

As soon as the results of the retesting are publicly revealed, they will be posted on the Reporter website. If the MTBE levels are at 10 or milliliters or less, occupants and visitors to the building will be allowed to resume drinking water there.

If the test results are higher, a DEC contractor will equip the building with carbon filters to clear the problem.

Town Engineer John Cronin has advised neighbors in the area to have their own drinking water tested.

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