Released January 24th, 2014, this report is thorough, comprehensive, and alarming. The 350,000 septic tanks in Suffolk County are killing all our ponds, rivers, and bays. Lawn fertilizers, pesticides, toxic plumes, volatile household chemicals and improperly disposed of pharmaceuticals also contribute to our water woes. Vanishing habitats, massive algal blooms, the near disappearance of fish and shellfish. On top of everything else, of course, we are polluting our own drinking water. With all the contaminants we are pouring into our sandy soil, it has all begun to reach our aquifers.
So what will the county do? What will Long Island do? Clearly, it will take billions to address the septic tank issue. That’s where the IBM Smarter Cities award will come in handy. Suffolk County won $500,000 worth of consulting from IBM to study the issue of sewer and waste water treatment planning. Rest assured, when it comes time to remove and replace the 100,000 septic tanks with something green, they will have a full, complete and accurate inventory, and a process. Beyond that, everyone – the governor, our senators – agree that we need sewer systems and modern waste water treatment technology and the funding to make that possible.
The report, a compilation really of the best scientific analysis we have about the condition of Long Island’s bays, estuaries, marshes, marine and fresh water flora and fauna, is an ideal starting point to become familiar with the environmental problems we face, along with the possible solutions this diagnosis suggests, particularly rolling out a modern sewage infrastructure.
Here is the report’s executive summary: Executive_Summary-CP_1-31-14
It was very heartening to see how thorough the report was, and how seriously everyone is taking its findings. That means that the bay still has a chance.