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Long Island drinking water: How do we protect it?

Long Island drinking water is at risk from common household cleaners, old septic systems, and contamination from prescription drugs. Take action now to protect our drinking water.

Our families rely on clean Long Island drinking water

There is no way around it - we need water to survive. We live on an island, and it is critical to our well-being that our water is safe for drinking on Long Island. Our children and grandchildren often drink from school water fountains, we brush our teeth from the tap, and our dogs may even drink from the toilet, despite our best efforts. But how safe is it?

Poor water quality continues to threaten Long Island drinking water, and also impacts everything from shellfisheries to leisurely activities like boating and swimming. There are solutions outside of purchasing bottled water (which we don't recommend - opt for reusable bottles and limit waste!) to protect our drinking water at home.

Go green at home by reducing the use of common household contaminants. Pesticides, fertilizers, toxic cleaners, and chemical products are already bad news for humans, pets, and wildlife. When used or disposed of improperly, these items show up in our waterways, worsening the water quality and drinking water on Long Island. Opt for green or homemade products instead that are just as effective.

Inspect and replace your septic system as needed. Old septic systems have had a direct negative impact on Long Island drinking water, resulting in increased nitrogen pollution. The Community Preservation Fund extension and expansion now allows for 20% of funds to be used for water quality improvement projects in the five East End towns. Long Islanders in Suffolk County can take advantage of a septic system replacement through a grant rebate program.

Properly dispose of medications and substances through disposal programs on the East End, and in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. When flushed down the toilet, prescription and over-the-counter medications can contaminate our drinking water, as well as our bays and harbors. Medication drop boxes are safe and discreet, and also help prevent drug abuse, harm to children and pets, and others.

Tell your elected officials to take a stand on clean water. This affects them, too. Governor Cuomo and some New York State legislators have already taken proactive steps toward Long Island water quality, but we need more of our elected officials on board. Find legislators in your area and tell them the time to act is now.

What we need is simple - clean Long Island drinking water. How get it will take more work, and we will continue to fight until every last drop is safe to drink. 

Join the Long Island Clean Water Partnership today and take action to protect Long Island's drinking water!