11/21/14 6:00am
11/21/2014 6:00 AM
A view of Mattituck Inlet (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

A view of Mattituck Inlet (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Because it’s not something that’s very visible to the untrained eye — or even, really, the trained eye — deteriorating water quality can go overlooked and underemphasized. When you start talking about nitrogen content in water in parts per billion, it doesn’t quite demand the attention that, for instance, asbestos dumped in a children’s playground might.  (more…)

11/12/14 5:30pm
11/12/2014 5:30 PM
A view of Mattituck Inlet (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

A view of Mattituck Inlet (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

While lawmakers have proposed legislation to deal with deteriorating water quality such as mandating the use of costly wastewater treatment systems, one East End legislator has an idea for how to go about paying for such initiatives.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) has proposed using a portion of monies raised in the Community Preservation Fund, a law passed 16 years ago which taxes real estate transfers on the first East End towns.

Revenue from the CPF has been devoted strictly to open space purchases, protecting land from development in the towns.

But Mr. Thiele — the same lawmaker who sponsored the original CPF legislation — said it is time to use some of that money for water treatment systems and other clean water projects.

(more…)

09/26/14 4:00pm
09/26/2014 4:00 PM
Aaron Virgin, VP of Group for the East End; Jim Dreeben, owner of Peconic Paddler; and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter down by the Peconic River on Friday morning. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Aaron Virgin, VP of Group for the East End; Jim Dreeben, owner of Peconic Paddler; and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter down by the Peconic River on Friday morning. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

All week long, North Fork natives have been raising a glass to the coastlines they call dear, joining water lovers across the nation for the 26th Annual National Estuaries Week — using social media to spread water quality awareness.

(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…)

08/03/14 8:00am
08/03/2014 8:00 AM
A view of Bailie Beach in Mattituck (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

A view of Bailie Beach in Mattituck (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Any conversation about sewage management in Suffolk County should begin with the current state of our waters. In conformance with the federal Clean Water Act, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation assesses water bodies throughout the state. Numerous water bodies throughout Long Island are classified as “Impaired Waters” (303d list).  (more…)

07/31/14 5:00am
07/31/2014 5:00 AM
(Credit: The Nature Conservancy)

This map uses pie charts to break down the various sources and levels of nitrogen pollution found in the Peconic Estuary from Calverton to Montauk and Orient. Click on map to enlarge. (Credit: The Nature Conservancy)

To the editor:

Controlling nitrogen in groundwater and the bays. As a former Suffolk County Health Department employee, I am familiar with the nitrogen in groundwater and its impact to surface water. I applaud the county for looking at wastewater discharges, specifically on-site disposal, and studying the latest nitrogen removal technologies. (more…)