Water remediation at Senior Center set for Monday

JULIE LANE PHOTO The town Medical Center and location of the Senior Activities Center.
The town Medical Center and location of the Senior Activities Center.

A contractor for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is scheduled to be on the Island Monday to install carbon filters to remediate the problem at the  Senior Activities Center with MTBE — methyl tertiary butyl ether, an additive that was used in gasoline before the substance was banned in 2004. 

The increased presence of the colorless, odorless substance resulted in advising those in the Senior Center and medical offices that they should use bottled water until the problem was resolved.While MTBE is not toxic, it can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and a feeling of disorientation.

Laboratory animals exposed to MTBE have shown effects in their nervous systems, gastrointestinal tracts, kidneys, liver and blood.

Just before the Memorial Day Holiday, town officials were informed that MTBE levels were detected in the building that houses the Senior Center and medical offices of Drs. Peter Kelt and Nathanael Desire. The level then was 12 parts per billion when only 10 parts per billion is considered safe.

A follow up test showed the level had increase slightly to 13 parts per billion, causing a continuation of using drinking water in the building.

But carbon filters are to be installed Monday be a DEC subcontractor so that the water in the building will again be potable.

Town engineer John Cronin had advised neighbors in the area to have their own water tested and to use bottled water until they could determine the water they were getting from their wells was not contaminated.

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