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Shelter Island Sachem’s Woods test well is pending: Further discussion before any action

As the Siller administration left office last month, there were issues left in limbo that are getting a new airing.

The possibility that a town-owned site in Sachem’s Woods might prove to be a source of clean water, which could be piped for use by those residents in the Center triangle lacking potable water, was on the table.

Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) officials had proposed drilling a test well in Sachem’s Woods to determine if the water is plentiful and of good quality to provide what is needed.

Town Engineer Joe Finora told the Town Board Tuesday that possibility remains open, with the SCWA willing to explore the area, at its own expense, and with no commitment to go forward.

Mr. Finora said a pathway from North Ferry Road to the Sachem’s Woods site would require removing a few small trees to widen the route for a vehicle necessary to creating the test well.

Councilmen Albert Dickson and Benjamin Dyett expressed some hesitation, concerned that not enough is being done to protect groundwater in the area. That protection needs to advance, they said, and not be swept aside, even if there is a source of potable water from the Sachem’s Woods site.

While Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams told Mr. Finora he is free to work with Town Attorney Stephen Kiely on a potential agreement for the SCWA exploration, Mr. Dyett said it has to be air-tight with respect to the fact that even if a test well were to show an ample supply of potable water, the town would have no obligation to move forward.

Mr. Dickson said he wouldn’t want SCWA to create a production well at this stage, concerned it would belong to the Water Authority, creating a foot in the door to manage a system in the area.

Mr. Finora said even if a production well were to be created, a lot of infrastructure would have to be in place to pipe the water where it could be accessed.