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.
It is only legal and proper that these funds be returned so that Suffolk County, including Steven Bellone's office, can focus on the enormous task of dealing with Long Island's water quality issues. With 360,000 septic tanks leeching nitrogenous waste into our ground water, billions will need to be spent on sewering and on modernizing a 19th Century infrastructure. As it stands, our drinking water is threatened, and the polluted ground water is systematically killing all our bays, ponds, and rivers by triggering massive algal blooms. The County cannot ask the public for more money -- a lot more money - on one hand while on the other taking that money out to paper over budget shortfalls. It marks a violation of public trust.
We of Save The Great South Bay applaud your leadership in helping to shine a light on the major issue threatening all of Long Island's bays, rivers, ponds, its very drinking water, and with that our way of life. With the release of The Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan, the public at large, the 1.5 million people who live in Suffolk County and the 1.35 million in Nassau County, can begin to understand the collective threat we face from nitrogenous waste in our groundwater.
The public release of the report was truly a watershed moment. It was also a call to action. The now over 1100 members of Save The Great South Bay are ready to do their part to raise awareness about the threats our waters face, and to seek, in partnership with local officials and other environmental non-profits, solutions that would help preserve Long Island as a desirable place to live for our children and grandchildren.
Incredibly, the final budget proposal includes a provision that will "sweep" some $33 million from a portion of the voter-approved Suffolk County Water Protection Program, known as the sewer Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund (ASRF). This fund is exclusively obligated under County law to provide support for sewer improvements, sewage treatment plant upgrades and the installation of residential and commercial enhanced nitrogen removal systems - the exact kind of sewage systems that many areas need to improve water quality.
It is important to remember that many of the land use issues discussed each week have real impacts to the lives of Long Islanders, and failure to heed economic and environmental warning signs can lead to real consequences. If we fail to protect our water system, the consequences will be dire.
In recent weeks, environmentalists, New York State government leaders, News 12 Long Island and others have been working on a public campaign to increase public awareness about Long Island’s drinking and surface waters. Failing to protect the aquifer is costly on a variety of fronts. With the recent call for state intervention, and the return of brown tide on the South Shore, it’s critical that action is taken sooner rather than later.
A global expert on algal blooms and nitrogenous waste, Prof. Gobler has been tireless in getting his message out to all Long Islanders and to the country -- we have a very serious problem with polluted ground water, and it is triggering algal blooms -- brown tide, rust tide, red tide, blue-green algae -- and wiping out marine and fresh water habitats. As a part of The Long Island Clean Water Partnership (please sign up and help out!), a group of some 125+ organizations seeking to build a sustainable Long Island, SCERP (The Stony Brook Coastal and Estuarine Research Project) is contributing some of the basic scientific research that is helping us to identify our water problems and to develop the solutions.
Anything in red, orange or yellow on this map is a dead zone
We frankly have no choice but to address this issue, if not for our waters, for our drinking water. We are living right on top of it. The same thing that is polluting and killing our bays -- the waste water, the pesticides ( 117 of them ), the pharmaceuticals we throw out bu tend up in our ground water, the toxic plumes from Superfund clean up sites, and from household hazardous waste like cleaners, paints, and heavy metals -- is also threatening our drinking water as the polluted water above seeps down into our aquifers and literally poisons our wells.
News12 continues its series "What's in The Water?" with an hour Town Hall discussion -- aired 9/27/13
Long Island environmental groups are banding together to stem the flow of nitrogen into the region’s groundwater and bays.
The initiative announced Tuesday follows what environmentalists are calling the worst year on record for ecological problems related to nitrogen, a nutrient that feeds algal blooms blamed for devastating much of the island’s marine life over the last three decades.
Scientists have determined that increasing pollution from sewage, pesticides, and toxic chemicals threatens Long Island’s water. Aging sewer and septic systems leak nitrogen into our underground supply of fresh drinking water, which flows into our creeks, bays, and harbors. This leads to “red tides” and other environmental problems that choke sea life, kill fish, and poison shellfish that people eat.
Fortunately, we can fix it. Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Group for the East End, Long Island Pine Barrens Society, and The Nature Conservancy have been working together for over a year to form the Long Island Clean Water Partnership—a grassroots initiative to restore and protect Long Island’s water resources on a comprehensive level. But action by local, county, and state officials is needed right now if Long Island’s water quality is to be protected and restored for our children and grandchildren. We all have good reason to make sure our water supply is clean and healthy, and we each have a part to play in protecting it for the future.
August 27th 2013 – Last week, Rust tides caused by the dinoflagellate, Cochlodinium, emerged on eastern Long Island and have since spread east through the Peconic Estuary and Shinnecock Bay. A recent study performed more than two dozen experiments over a four year period in five different Long Island estuaries and found that the loading of nitrogen during significantly increased the growth of Cochlodinium relative to other phytoplankton groups, demonstrating that nitrogen promotes rust tides (1; see figure). In south shore bays, the primary source of nitrogen is septic tanks (2). Recent investigations of the Peconic Estuary found that septic tanks, cesspools, and fertilizers were all important nitrogen sources (3).
This series -- which runs from Monday the 23rd of September to Friday the 27th with a one hour live special Thursday the 26th 7-8 -- is an admirable effort on the part of News12 and its President Pat Dolan, as well as all the scientists within The Long Island Clean Water Partnership and others to bring to light the challenges we face collectively as Long Islanders when it comes to assuring our water quality and our way of life for future generations. The problems are immense, but the solutions are there, if we decide, together on this island we call home, to take action. Our children and grandchild should also fish, swim, clam, and sail as we had, and Long Island should remain a place where people raise their families knowing the water is safe to drink and the environment is a healthy one. News12 understands the urgency, as does the 125+ organizations that make up The Long Island Partnership for Clean Water.