The Degradation of Long Island’s Surface Waters
Nitrogen pollution has plagued Long Island surface waters for decades. Most excess nitrogen originates from our activities at the surface. The biggest contributors include wastewater discharge from sewage treatment plants/residential septic systems, fertilizers/pesticides, and storm water runoff.
Nitrogen has disrupted ecosystems. It has caused algae blooms, more commonly known as brown, rust, and mahogany tides. These tides impair water quality, cloud the water’s surface, and block sunlight from reaching underwater plant life, ultimately causing the degradation of habitat for shellfish and other marine life. Long Island’s once prized shellfish population, has struggled to replenish itself, despite years of restoration efforts.
While regulatory endeavors have been implemented to correct these vital issues, algae blooms return year after year. In 2018, several Long Island surface waters were added to the Clean Water Act’s list of impaired waterbodies requiring the use of Total Maximum Daily Load (“TMDL”) limits to regulate discharged pollutants. Suffolk County has since incentivized citizens to upgrade their septic systems to reduce nitrogen load.
Dr. Christopher J. Gobler, Stony Brook University | Center for Clean Water Technology
Frank Piccinnini, Esq. M.S., Abrams, Cohen & Associates
Planning Co-Chair;Section Chair: James Rigano, Rigano LLC
Program Chair: Nicholas C. Rigano, Rigano LLC
- September 9, 2022
- Online On-Demand