Notice of Claim Filed on behalf of Westhampton Residents

Partner Marie Napoli confirmed to Newsday that Napoli Shkolnik PLLC has filed a notice of claim against Suffolk County and the state Department of Environmental Conservation on behalf of approximately 200 Westhampton residents.

The Westhampton community believes that they have been exposed to the hazardous chemical PFOS, which was part of the liquid foam used by firefighters during airplane fire drills at nearby Gabreski airport. New York state added the air base to its Superfund list last fall after water supply samples detected dangerous levels of PFOS. The Department of Environmental Conservation said the elevated chemicals were first detected in public supply wells in 2014. PFOS was then found in private wells in 2016.

In late July 2016, Suffolk County collected samples of 66 private drinking water wells from Westhampton Beach and found most of them to be contaminated with PFOA and PFOS. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) declared the Francis S. Gabreski Airport as a Class 2 Superfund Site. With this label, the DEC has identified the U.S. Department of Defense, which oversees the site’s operations, as the potentially responsible party due to its historic use of firefighting foams containing PFOS.

On July 21, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed legislation spurred by the Hoosick Falls PFOA water contamination crisis that extends the Statute of Limitations, or the time limit for filing a lawsuit, for personal injury claims related to pollution at Superfund sites.

PFOA and PFOS have been linked to various diseases and cancers, including:

  • testicular cancer;
  • kidney cancer;
  • thyroid disease;
  • high cholesterol;
  • ulcerative colitis;
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension; and,
  • other cancers.

Toxic chemical PFOS can potentially cause blood, immune system, thyroid and fetal growth problems. Long time residents are “upset knowing that all these years we’ve been poisoned.” The firefighting foam had been used at the base since the 1970’s and as recently as 2014.

Unfortunately perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were never included in anytesting as they were not deemed hazardous by the federal government. Now homeowners have received positive test results, most well above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) advisory level, for these two toxic chemicals in their drinking water supply.

Several homeowners exposed to the chemicals are being represented by Patrick Lanciotti in the class action lawsuit. A section of our website is dedicated to well contamination, and states that the consumption of PFOA and PFOS can cause several serious illnesses, including testicular and kidney cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Unfortunately this type of water contamination is not an isolated incident. Communities across the country have turned to Napoli Shkolnik for representation and justice for the health issues and property damages PFOS causes. Learn more about PFOA and PFOS water contamination.