September 18, 2014 – 12:32pm


Pentachlorophenol, a chemical preservative on the utility poles PSEG Long Island recently erected in East Hampton Town to support a 6.2-mile high-voltage electric line, has been found in significant levels in the water from a well at the East Hampton Village Firehouse on Cedar Street, Rebecca Singer, a co-chair of Long Island Businesses for Responsible Energy, which has sued PSEG over the installation, told the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday.

Concern about the effects of the chemical, called penta, also prompted the group to hire a hydrogeologist to determine if it had seeped into groundwater. It would like to do additional testing, she said, of water in the ground three feet from poles near the firehouse. If penta is found there, she said, the consultant believes a toxic spill clean-up would be warranted.

Ms. Singer and Helene Forst, a LIBFRE co-chairwoman, asked East Hampton officials to require warning signs on the poles, advising against contact and exposure to the chemical. The limited use of penta is allowed in the United States, although it has been banned in other countries around the world.

The Town of North Hempstead, where PSEG recently did a similar project, prompting similar protests based on health, safety, and aesthetic concerns, has adopted a resolution requiring PSEG to post warning signs on its poles, the LIBFRE representatives told the town board. East Hampton should do the same, they said, although they think they should be required on every pole, rather than every fourth one, as in North Hempstead. They suggested that the signs should be yellow and black to indicate danger, with warnings written in English and in Spanish.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said the East Hampton town attorney would advise the board after reviewing the North Hempstead resolution.