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.
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.
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.
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.
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.