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LICWP

Press Releases

  • Environmentalists Applaud Water Quality Funding

    FEBRUARY 2, 2017 - Environmental and civic leaders from across Long Island are applauding multi-billion dollar funding proposals to improve water quality.  Governor Andrew Cuomo is advancing a $2 billion Water Quality Infrastructure Plan and New York State Senators Kemp Hannon and Thomas O’Mara and Assemblyman Steven Englebright have proposed a $5 billion statewide Water Quality Bond Act.

    The news comes as Long Island environmental leaders are advancing plans to reverse declining water quality caused by nitrogen from wastewater and fertilizer seeping into drinking water and surface water across the Island.

    “There is now bi-partisan agreement that immediate and significant action is necessary to reverse contamination of Long Island’s underground aquifers which pollute the water we drink and our surface waters” said Richard Amper, Executive Director of the Long island Pine Barrens Society.  “This increasingly results in fish die-offs and the closing of shellfish beds and beaches due to harmful algae blooms,” he added.

    “These statewide initiatives complement East End programs to improve water quality, recently approved by voters through extension and expansion of the successful Community Preservation Fund,” said Robert DeLuca, President of the Group for the East End.  The CPF vote was 80 percent in favor across the five East End towns.”

    Kevin McDonald, Conservation Project Director for The Nature Conservancy praised the bi-partisan approach to water quality improvement.  “Our state leaders recognize that we have a big problem in need of a big funding solution.  Both proposals reinforce Long Island’s regional plan aimed at replacing aging and polluting wastewater treatment systems, while also protecting our drinking source waters, which is key to securing clean water for our communities.”

    And Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment added her support to the two initiatives.  “These proposals advance the critical need for fixing our inadequate failing sewage infrastructure. Now our clean water future depends on our elected leaders reaching a consensus so we can move these important proposals forward.”

    All of the environmental leaders are members of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership which boasts more than 100 organizational members and more than 17,000 individual members.  Conservation groups look forward to discussing the many details that must be worked out with all of these proposals to make this important funding a reality as part of the state budget.

  • Water We Going To Do? V

    Hauppauge, New York | Thursday, June 9, 2016 - ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE SHARES PROGRESS ON WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
    LONG ISLAND CLEAN WATER PARTNERSHIP HOSTS ANNUAL EVENT | THEME IS "ACTIONS TAKEN" PROGRESS MADE"

    Nitrogen is reduced and a beach re-opens; a new septic system reduces nitrogen by 90%; a different approach to ocean outfall becomes a new system for aquifer protection.  These are just a few of the successful actions to reduce water contamination during the past year on Long Island, to be reported on at the Fifth Annual “Water We Going To Do” Conference, June 9th.

    The Long Island Clean Water Partnership has gathered federal, state, county and local officials and some cutting edge scientists to report on their progress this past year in reducing nitrogen contamination of the Island’s drinking and surface water sources.  The conference will be held from 10:00 to 1:00 on Thursday, June 9th at the UPSKY Long Island Hotel, 110 Motor Parkway in Hauppauge.

    In the past year, efforts to reverse the crisis of declining water quality on Long Island have turned from study and planning, to direct action. Enormous progress has been made in elevating the water quality issue among Long Island’s top priorities.

    Government officials, business and environmental leaders and community activists will report on their progress in fighting nitrogen contamination from wastewater and fertilizers, over the past 12 months.  “We’re not just studying the problem – we’re taking action to do something about it,” said Richard Amper, Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, one of the founders of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership. The others are Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Robert Deluca, President of Group for the East End and Kevin McDonald, Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy.

    The “Water We Going To Do?” conference will hear about new technologies for replacing polluting cesspools and septic systems at individual homes and businesses.  Existing systems discharge sewage directly to groundwater.  This is responsible for more than half of the Nitrogen contamination that adversely impacts Long Island’s water supply.   Scientists will report on successful water remediation efforts where nitrogen reduction has allowed previously-shuttered facilities to re-open to the public. Nassau officials will present a new approach to ocean outfall.   And the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Long Island Regional Planning Council will discuss progress on a joint effort called the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan.  It is identifying each of Long Island’s watersheds, evaluating nitrogen loading at each and establishing science-based nitrogen discharge standards, suitable for each watershed.

    Dr. Christopher Gobler of School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University explained, “We’re now seeing dramatic results from nitrogen reduction, including shuttered facilities being re-opened.  It’s very exciting,” he said.  And Kevin Law, President of the Long Island Association, the Island’s largest business group, observed, “We can’t have a healthy economy, if we don’t have a healthy environment.”   “Long Island needs both,” he added.

     

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  • END OF SUMMER WATER QUALITY REPORT

    Monday, September 21, 2015 - Members of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership announced today a wrap-up of water quality conditions throughout Long Island this summer season.

    Christopher J. Gobler, a professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University and principal investigator at the Gobler Lab, initiated a weekly program to monitor water quality levels across Long Island.  The Water Quality Index informed Long Islanders about the current conditions of local coastal waters, and News 12 Long Island broadcasted the lab’s reports on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July and August during its weather forecasts.

    The culmination of that work, covering conditions at 28 sites across more than 80 miles from Hempstead to East Hampton, was announced and is available in a report.

    “It began with toxic red tides in May and ended with a harmful rust tide that continues today across the entire south shore and east end Long Island,” said Dr. Christopher Gobler, Professor of Stony Brook University.  “In between, we witnessed one of the largest fish kills ever on Long Island, an unprecedented kill of endangered diamondback terrapin turtles, toxic blue-green algae in 15 lakes across the Island, a brown tide across all of Long Island’s south shore, seaweeds on ocean beaches, oxygen depleted waters found at more than 20 locations from Hempstead to East Hampton.  The confluence of all of these events in all these places across Long island in a single season is a troubling development.”

    “Indeed, this report shows the biggest environmental threat facing Long Island is nitrogen pollution from sewage,” said Kevin McDonald, conservation finance and policy director for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island. “Beach closures, fish kills from pollution and unsafe conditions keep us from enjoying the best of our local seafood, beaches and bays.”

    “The continued bad news about water quality means Long Island must re-double its efforts to reduce nitrogen from wastewater and fertilizers, sooner, not later,” said Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society.

    “We have all seen the evidence of degraded water quality on Long Island this summer, from the massive fish and turtle die offs to beach closures to an increase in the frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms.  It is more apparent than ever that nitrogen pollution from our outdated sewage and septic systems is putting our environment and our health at risk. We need to be investing in the critical infrastructure projects that will protect our waterways in years to come,” noted Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

    The Partnership’s news conference was held at the Long Island Maritime Museum in front of the Great South Bay, a water body whose hard shell clam production has decreased 99% in the past 50 years and has not been able to recover as a direct result of nitrogen pollution from sewage.

    The report on the summer of 2015 was compiled by Dr. Christopher Gobler, Professor of Stony Brook University, whose lab groups has been monitoring and sampling Long Island’s waters on a weekly basis all year.  Data was also collected from the Long Island Sound Study which is funded by USEPA.  The bulk of the data was reported weekly on News 12 as part of their weekly Water Quality Index.

     

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  • Water We Going To Do? IV

    Hauppauge, NY Thursday May 14, 2015 -- $5 million for clean water. Breakthrough on Cape Cod. Latest L.I. water projects. These and other topics will be presented at the fourth annual “Water We Going To Do?” conference at the UPSKY Long Island Hotel in Hauppauge on May 14 from 9:30-1:00.  Presented by the Long Island Clean Water Partnership and sponsored by the Rauch Foundation, the program will report on progress in the effort to reverse declining drinking and surface water quality on Long Island. 

    Among the subjects being presented:

    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Long Island Regional Planning Council have been allocated $5 million in the state budget to begin a groundwater improvement plan. 

    Cape Cod recently release is a comprehensive wastewater management plan which provides a very useful framework for addressing nearly all of the issues Long Island  is currently  working on  to address our island’s water resources. It provides for watershed-by-watershed nitrogen assessment and loading analysis, as well as nitrogen reduction targets for each watershed, and a local regulatory program to obtain nitrogen reduction goals.

    Cape Cod’s groundwater system is very much like Long Island’s and has been facing similar quality declines.

    A dozen water quality programs are already underway in Nassau and Suffolk Counties designed to improve water quality.  Speakers involved with these projects will explain what’s working and what’s not.

    “Restoring Long Island’s groundwater is our number one priority and we’re making enormous progress,” said Richard Amper, Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society and a core group leader of the Clean Water Partnership, “and this may be the breakthrough year for implementing major reforms in the way we deal with wastewater.”  Long Island’s underground water supply is declining as a result of nitrogen from sewers and septic systems, as well as pesticides, toxic chemicals and unused pharmaceuticals.

    Robert DeLuca, President of the Group for the East End said, “With momentum for water quality still gaining strength, and funding in place to develop a new vision for water quality protection on Long Island, this should be the year that we translate our best water quality intentions into effective and lasting action.”

    “The next few years will decide the future of our island’s water supply.  This effort is too important to fail and it is critical we get it right,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We need to make tough decisions, craft a plan and work together to ensure this plan is successfully implemented.” 

     “Local waters that are clean and healthy support tourism, boating, fishing and plentiful seafood –but harmful algal blooms from nitrogen pollution that we are already seeing in Long Island’s bays –put that all at risk,” said Kevin McDonald, conservation finance and policy director for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island. "Our waters create jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars every year for our regional economy. But since Long Island’s water infrastructure is old and deteriorating, we need to modernize, upgrade and fix what’s wrong with the way we manage wastewater.”

    The Long Island Clean Water Partnership is composed of more than 100 business and community groups and more than 17,000 members.  

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  • LICWP Announces 2015 Action Plan on Earth Day

    Long Island Maritime Museum, West Sayville, NY April 22, 2015: NY A day before the 45th anniversary of “Earth Day” celebrations, leaders of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership are announcing their top priority actions for reversing water quality decline on Long Island.  They include recommended actions of government at a federal, state and county level.

     

    Among the key elements of their Action Plan are establishing funding and mechanisms to develop water quality criteria for nitrogen and other contaminants.  Nitrogen from sewage and fertilizers, pesticides and toxic chemicals have resulted in significantly diminished groundwater quality and waters in our bays and harbors, island-wide.

     

    “Earth Day is a celebration of the environment worldwide,” said Richard Amper, Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society and a member of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership, “but we want to focus on the work needed to restore water quality on Long Island, before the celebrating begins.”

     

    Robert DeLuca, President of Group for the East End and also a Clean Water Partnership member said, “We want to learn from past recognition of the challenges involved in improving drinking and surface waters and incorporate them into a new plan to clean up the water supply that lies beneath our feet.” He cited the historic “208 Study” which identified threats to Long Islander groundwater, decades ago, and urged action to implement solutions.

     

    “We need to repair and construct   new outfall pipes for the Bay Park and Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plans,” declared Adrienne Esposito, Executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, another Water Partnership member.  “These are specific actions to clean up our water, not merely ‘feel good’ acknowledgements of the importance of the environment to the planet’s citizens.”

     

    “The biggest environmental threat facing Long Island is nitrogen pollution from sewage,” said Kevin McDonald, Director of Public Policy for The Nature Conservancy and Partnership member. “Beach closures, fish kill-off from pollution and unsafe conditions keep us from enjoying the best of our local seafood, beaches and bays.  The plan is a well thought out blueprint for action that, if followed, will ensure that local water quality will improve for generations to come.”

     

    Among a dozen recommended actions advanced by the Long Island Clean Water Partnership are obtaining funding for wastewater treatment for homes with individual cesspools or septic systems, improved technology for  centralized sewer systems, implementation of a New York State Pesticide Management Plan and use of post-Hurricane Sandy funding for coastal resiliency to restore bays and harbors.

     

    The Partnership’s news conference was symbolically held in front of the Great South Bay, a water body whose hard shell clam production has decreased 99% in the past 50 years as a direct result of nitrogen pollution from sewage.

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    A full copy of the 2015 Action Plan can be found here.


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