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Breaking Down the Long Island Water Crisis

Long Island water is being polluted by nitrogen pollution from old septic systems. We can improve Long Island water by replacing septic systems. Rebate programs are also available.

What's wrong with Long Island water, and how to fix it.

The conversation about Long Island water isn't going to end anytime soon, but what does it all mean? Here is a breakdown of the Long Island water crisis, and how you can help fight it.

The problem: Excess nitrogen is choking our local Long Island water. The amount of excess nitrogen in our local waters has increased so dramatically over the last 25 years that our marine ecosystems are on the brink of total collapse. If left unchecked, the environmental, public health, and economic costs would be disastrous.

The biggest culprit: Old, leaky septic systems. Scientists have identified old, leaky septic systems as one of the worst offenders in polluting Long Island water. The excess nitrogen seeps directly into our bays and ponds, where its effects can lead to the death of massive numbers of marine plants and animals, and make it unsafe for people (and pets) to swim, eat shellfish, and go boating.

The solution: Replace old septic systems. Members of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership, scientists, elected officials, engineers, and civic organizations have determined:

1. The old septic systems must be upgraded or replaced by high tech ones that substantially reduce nitrogen.
2. They must be affordable for residents and businesses.
3. The public must be educated on the importance of replacing old systems.

The largest clean water action investment in decades is now clearly underway. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature approved $75 million for septic system replacement in this year's budget and over $2 billion for critical clean Long Island water infrastructure across the state. New septic system replacement rebate programs in Suffolk County, and local septic system rebate programs in the towns of East Hampton and Southampton are also underway.

We know we have a long way to go, but thanks to the commitment of Long Islanders and their elected leaders we're making the right move to start combating nitrogen pollution to protect Long Island water.

Join the Long Island Clean Water Partnership and protect Long Island water today!