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Blue-Green Algae Blooms Hit Southampton and East Hampton

A range of threats to Long Island’s waters

Before summer officially begins some Long Island residents are already being told not to swim or wade in certain waters. Mill Pond in Southampton and Wainscott Pond in East Hampton have been found with harmful cyanobacteria blooms, also known as blue-green algae, according to a sampling by Stony Brook University. Families in the area have been told to keep their pets and children away as contact with the water can lead to various illnesses like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, or allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.

There are many threats to Long Island’s waters, including storm water runoff, which can wash fertilizers, pesticides, household cleaners, and motor oil from lawns, driveways, and streets into local streams and sewer systems, and failing and leaky septic systems that pollute our waters. Both can contribute to these toxic algal blooms that now show up regularly even in the bucolic, less densely developed areas of Long Island, and which remain a constant threat to our health and the environment.

Nitrogen from wastewater is one of the leading culprits of contamination, yet is controllable. There are several programs the Long Island Clean Water Partnership has helped to put in place to allow homeowners to upgrade or replace these systems with advanced wastewater treatment systems that can substantially reduce nitrogen pollution. Water is part of every Long Islander’s everyday life and we need to clean up what’s been polluted and protect it for future generations. Learn more about replacing your septic system by checking out Reclaim Our Water and joining the Long Island Clean Water Partnership!