As many of you know, a law has been proposed in Albany that would mandate that lawn fertilizer contain no more than 12% nitrogen …
Curt Johnson, Executive Director of Save The Sound, issues an Eco Reportcard on the water quality of Long Island Sound, and discusses what remains to be done, especially on Long Island
It is imperative that the Long Island delegation in Albany represents our interests and works to get the Water Quality Protection Fee Referendum on the ballot this November so that the people of Long Island can vote for their future. We deserve the right to represent our interests.
This what happens on Long Island in the warm months every time it rains. And it gets worse by the year. Before 1984, we did not have algal blooms around Long Island. Headlong development has caught up with us. What led us to think that we could put 500,000 septic tanks / cesspools in the low lying sand of Long Island and not suffer some consequences? That said, we had no definitive scientific link between nitrogen from our septic tanks and the explosion of algal blooms now threatening almost all our waters until 2005.
More recent data indicates that the rate of nitrogen infiltration into our drinking water has accelerated since 2005. At the same time, algal blooms have been increasing in intensity and variety and geographic distribution over the same period. The nitrogen seeping into our groundwater from septic tanks and fertilizers -- 500,000 septic tanks and from perhaps as many lawns, as well as farms has been driving these highly destructive blooms.
Beyond that, our waters show increased amounts of pesticides (117 have been detected in our ground water), pharmaceuticals (because we have a bad habit of flushing them down the toilet instead of properly disposing them) and volatile chemicals, both via industrial pollution and the improper disposal of household paints, solvents, glues and other hazardous waste.
Chris and his team helped link septic tank seepage to the nitrogen fueled algal blooms around Long Island. Today, we know that we need to deal with the 500,000 septic tanks on Long Island if we are to save our bays, rivers, ponds, and marshes, and preserve our drinking water. Today, as various scientific experts and public officials grapple, along with our environmental non profits and the public with the question of how we address our water quality issues, Gobler's work is essential in charting the right path.