Low levels of heptachlor epoxide, once used mostly in this area by farmers as an insecticide, have been detected in a Suffolk County Department of Health Services study of water quality at the American Legion Post.
“Although, at this time, the detected levels in your water are within drinking water standards, the Suffolk Country Department of Health Services recommends connection to public water wherever possible,” according to Public Health Sanitarian Karol Sarian who sent the notice to Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr.
Mr. Card said he spoke with Health Department officials who said while they are watching the numbers, they aren’t advising that people avoid drinking water at the Legion Post.
The push to connect to public water is the county’s usual effort to get areas like Shelter Island to link up to the Suffolk County Water Authority, something many Islanders are resistant to doing. They see such a hookup as losing control of their zoning that could result in over-development, Mr. Card said.
The notice from the Health Department was provided to the Reporter by Ken Pysher, a member of the town’s Water Advisory Committee.
The level detected was at 0.08 micrograms per liter, according to the information the Health Department provided.
A study conducted by Cornell University in conjunction with Michigan State and Oregon State universities and the University of California at Davis reported that levels would have to be much higher to be considered toxic.
The pesticide has been banned in the United States since 1988.