New Yorkers fled to the Hamptons in 2020 – and sparked a major sewage crisis

Alexandra Talty, The Guardian on June 25, 2021

Growing up in Southampton, Bryan McGowin spent his summers swimming in a beautiful local pond. Now in his 40s, McGowin won’t let his kids into the water.

“If you drink that now, you will get sick,” said McGowin. Across the New York coastal community better known as the Hamptons, residents face perilously declining water quality, which has shut down recreation in many freshwater ponds.

Today, the Hamptons are known as a playground for the rich and famous – but the region has had a sewage problem for decades. In the last year, the pandemic has pushed the region’s ageing sanitation infrastructure to a breaking point. The strain on the Hamptons’ resources has been exacerbated following the exodus of wealthy New Yorkers to their second homes in the area – dubbed “Black Friday” by locals.

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