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Express Sessions: Water Quality

Examining water quality and how to protect it

Earlier this month, one of the founding member organizations of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership joined a panel for The Sag Harbor Express newspaper to discuss the state of our water quality. Group for the East End president Bob DeLuca was joined by representatives from Defend H2O, Concerned Citizens of Montauk, the Suffolk County Health Department, the Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals, and Suffolk Country Legislator Bridget Fleming for the Express Sessions.

Among the biggest threats to water quality according to experts were failing septic systems, polluted stormwater runoff, fertilizers, pesticides, and more. In last week’s paper, DeLuca is quoted as saying, “You have to protect these resources. They don’t protect themselves. This region suffers from death by a thousand cuts. We have a slow drip, drip, drip of contamination and pollution, whether from septics or development projects.”

One of the timelier topics that came up when talking about the largest threats to one of only nine Special Groundwater Protection Areas on Long Island, which is critically important to the future quality of the region's drinking water, and what lies beneath the Sand Land mine in Bridgehampton. Scientific evidence has found that the controversial and polluting mine has been significantly polluting the groundwater. Recently, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which had previously confirmed the findings and ordered mining activities to stop, entered into an agreement that grants the mine eight more years to operate. Members of the Partnership will continue to fight against this project and have begun taking steps to block the agreement

Other topics included the discussion of Long Island’s first brown tide in 1985, which has made headlines often in recent years, the use of methoprene spraying for mosquitos and its other biological impacts, and runoff associated with lawn care and landscaping activities. Audience members also shared their thoughts on the area’s water quality, including Noyac Civic Council president Elena Loreto, who passed around a petition to end the Sand Land mining permit.

Though informative and often grim, there is something that can be done to protect our water quality. Community action is essential. Making simple changes at home, contacting elected officials, and joining the Long Island Clean Water Partnership can bring about positive change. Become a member today!