Water experts, advocates gather in Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Suffolk County Culinary Arts Center on East Main Street.

Pollution from underground septic tanks are entering Long Island’s groundwater and feeding algal blooms, which are killing the ecology of local bays, experts have long maintained.

And today, water quality protection professionals are holding a symposium in downtown Riverhead, where they will be providing information and solutions for improving wastewater treatment across the county.

Topics of discussion include the economics of clean water, management and financing of treatment options, and technology’s role in finding solutions, according to a press release.

Keynote speakers include National Science Foundation chair Robert Rubin, who has worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s office of water management. There, he helped develop guidelines for wastewater management.

Local experts include Dr. Chris Gobler of Stony Brook University, who has been studying local water for over a decade and Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, an environmental advocacy group, will also be speaking.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) is set to speak about the issue from the state’s perspective, about 12:50 p.m., according to an agenda.

The symposium, free to all, is being held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center at 20 East Main Street in Riverhead.

Sponsored by Bridgehampton National Bank, The Nature Conservancy among many others, the all-day event’s purpose is to “begin shaping an action agenda” to improve wastewater treatment in decentralized locations.

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