09/19/14 1:41pm
09/19/2014 1:41 PM
Howard Meinke of Laurel, shown in a headshot that appeared with his guest columns in The Suffolk Times, died Thursday night.

Howard Meinke of Laurel, shown in a headshot that appeared with his occasional guest columns in The Suffolk Times and News-Review, died Thursday night.

The North Fork is a better place today thanks to the work of Howard Meinke, fellow environmental advocates and colleagues say.

He was a tenacious champion for the environment and for the quality of life issues affecting his neighbors. He always educated himself on the problems the North Fork faced before backing a solution.

Pine Barrens Society executive director Richard Amper said the North Fork might have become developed like Brookhaven Town had Mr. Meinke not been around.

“The problem with Brookhaven was that they didn’t have Howard Meinke,” Mr. Amper said. ”I don’t believe [the North Fork] would be the wonderful place that it is without him. He is the model, the consummate community advocate and I don’t know what we’re going to do without him.” (more…)

09/17/14 3:09pm
09/17/2014 3:09 PM
The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

County legislators voted overwhelmingly last week to let Suffolk voters decide the fate of a plan that would eventually replenish the Drinking Water Protection Program, which has so far been tapped twice for money to balance the county budget. If approved by voters, the plan would also allow the county to continue dipping into that program for several more years.  (more…)

08/31/14 8:00am
08/31/2014 8:00 AM
The airbase was established in 1946 and is currently used by a few area pilots. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The airbase was established in 1946 and is currently used by a few area pilots. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed removing Mattituck Airbase from New York’s Superfund program, saying the property no longer poses a threat to public health or the environment, DEC officials said.

Before it makes a final determination, the DEC will accept public comment for the next month. The property is currently on the state’s Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site list, which identifies properties being investigated for potential hazardous waste and outlines any cleanup efforts taking place.

The airbase, located off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck, is one of 11 properties currently being investigated across Riverhead and Southold towns.

It was created in 1946, when Parker Wickham of Mattituck, who overhauled airplane engines during World War II, converted part of his family’s New Suffolk Avenue potato farm into a small airport and plane engine rebuilding shop under the name Mattituck Services, according to previous Suffolk Times coverage. The property is still owned by the Wickham family.

The site currently operates as an “informal airbase used by a few area pilots,” said Southold Supervisor Scott Russell.

The 12-acre site included a half-acre parcel where chemicals — including fuels, oils and cleaners — were once used for maintenance and repair work, according to state DEC officials.

According to the state agency’s listing, solvent rinses and wastewater used on the property were discharged to leaching pools in the area from 1946 to 1979, leaving elevated levels of copper, iron, nickel, zinc, lead and cadmium in nearby soils, as well as several pesticide ingredients.

To remedy the pollution, 25 tons of contaminated but non-hazardous soils were excavated from the area surrounding the leaching pools in 1997, with excavation extending at least three feet below the water table, the DEC listing states. The area was then packed with clean fill and closed.

Soil testing conducted in November 2013 found no lingering impact from the contaminants in question and it was determined that no public or environmental threats exist at the site, according to DEC officials.

Mr. Russell said he’s encouraged to hear that the historic site stands to be removed from the Superfund program.

“If the DEC is satisfied, naturally we are,” he said. “Certainly it is in the town’s interest to see all [of these areas] get remediated and delisted.”

Agency officials are asking that any public comments regarding Mattituck Airbase be mailed to Cynthia Whitfield, project manager, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Environmental Remediation, Remedial Bureau A, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7015 or emailed to cynthia.whitfield@dec.ny.gov. You can also call 518-402-9564.

The comment period will close Oct. 5 and a final decision will be made on or after Oct. 26, according to the DEC release.

cmiller@timesreview.com

08/23/14 3:00pm
08/23/2014 3:00 PM
Rust tide caused by Cochlodinium in Peconic Estuary in 2012. (Credit: Bill Portlock)

Rust tide caused by Cochlodinium in Peconic Estuary in 2012. (Credit: Bill Portlock)

If you’re a resident in one of the five eastern towns surrounding the Peconic Estuary, the nonprofit Peconic Green Growth wants to hear from you to better understand area wastewater practices. (more…)

08/22/14 11:00am
08/22/2014 11:00 AM
Rust tide caused by Cochlodinium in Peconic Estuary in 2012. (Credit: Bill Portlock)

Rust tide caused by Cochlodinium in Peconic Estuary in 2012. (Credit: Bill Portlock)

It’s a well-known story around these parts: One summer, around the mid-1980s, an explosion of harmful algae began to appear, sucking oxygen out of bay waters causing a die-off of eelgrass, shellfish and even finfish.

For the past few decades, the seasonal story has been on repeat — not only here, but in other states along the East Coast. It’s the result of nitrogen and other nutrients leaching into groundwater, mostly from underground cesspools and septic tanks.  (more…)

08/22/14 10:59am
Rhode Island lawmakers were moved to act to restore water quality in area bays after thousands of juvenile fish turned up dead in Greenwich Bay on Aug. 20, 2003. Algal blooms were blamed for the kill. (Credit: Tom Ardito)

Rhode Island lawmakers were moved to act to restore water quality in area bays after thousands of juvenile fish turned up dead in Greenwich Bay on Aug. 20, 2003. Algal blooms were blamed for the kill. (Credit: Tom Ardito)

Here’s a breakdown of how three states close to Long Island are finding solutions to water quality issues.
(more…)

08/13/14 8:00am
08/13/2014 8:00 AM
Rust tide. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Rust tide, a harmful algal bloom, has been detected at East Creek in South Jamesport. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

For the first time this season, rust tide has been detected in the Peconic Estuary, experts confirmed Tuesday.

Chris Gobler, a marine biologist at Stony Brook University and leader of the Long Island Coastal Conservation and Research Alliance, said the harmful algal bloom has been detected in East Creek, on the north side of Flanders Bay in South Jamesport. (more…)