County hosting video contest on water quality, $1,000 prize

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

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone is seeking help in informing the community about nitrogen pollution in a creative and lively way — by hosting a film contest. 

He is challenging community members to get involved in Suffolk’s “crapSHOOT film contest.” The top two entries will win either $1,000 or $500 respectively, and the chance to be aired on regional media outlets.

The goal of the contest is to communicate the water quality issue while illustrating ways homeowners, gardeners, farmers, pet owners and others can change simple behaviors to improve water quality.

Film or video submissions can be entered in two categories, either a 30- or 60-second TV public service announcement, or a short film running between one and three minutes in length.

Examples of possible topics include:
• How septic systems and cesspools contribute to nitrogen in our surface waters and possible new technologies to combat this issue.

• Techniques that residents, communities or businesses can use to help reduce urban runoff such as: rain gardens, bioswales, disconnected downspouts, rain barrels, porous pavements, and rooftop gardens.

• How wetlands benefit the community and how to get people involved in wetland preservation.

• How individual actions that help reduce the number of items (e.g., plastic bags, food containers, and balloons) that enter our waterways, oceans, and coasts and become marine debris.

• Participating in watershed, stream, and beach cleanups as well as storm drain marking projects that can help reduce marine debris.

• Nutrient and sediment runoff from agriculture, lawns and golf courses, highways, and suburban areas and actions that people and communities can take to help prevent this runoff.

• Why it’s important for citizen volunteers to monitor water quality conditions.

“The alarming increase of nitrogen pollution from septic systems and cesspools in Suffolk County’s surface and ground waters is leading toward an ecological collapse,” Mr. Bellone said in a statement. “Nitrogen pollution adversely affects our coastal resiliency, our environment, our economy, our land values, our tourism industry and our recreational use of our waters. We must take immediate and decisive action to remediate the decades of nitrogen pollution.”

For entry forms, information about contest rules, visit the Suffolk County Government website. Submissions are due by Sept. 1.

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