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Improving Water Quality and Resiliency on Long Island

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GOVERNOR CUOMO LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY AND RESILIENCY ON LONG ISLAND


Intensive Review with Community Stakeholders of Long Island Wastewater Management and Clean Water Infrastructure

Public Meetings to Be Held to Obtain Input on Solutions

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York will undertake an intensive and collaborative review of clean water needs in Nassau and Suffolk counties to increase resiliency against future storms, improve water quality and provide additional protections for Long Island’s groundwater resources. This review will be undertaken in a series of meetings in conjunction with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and with additional participation from federal officials and key community, business and environmental stakeholders. Following the review, recommendations will be provided to the Governor for immediate action.

“We need innovative solutions for protecting and improving Long Island’s water resources that will last for generations,” Governor Cuomo said. “Working with the community, environmental stakeholders and our local officials, we will identify the new challenges we face with increasing extreme weather events and examine the best advances for dealing with groundwater and surface water pollution. I am proud to have County Executive Bellone and County Executive Mangano joining with us to address these issues and look forward to our partnership in the weeks ahead.”

"I am happy to collaborate with Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens to find solutions to ensure Long Island’s water resources are protected and to make Nassau County more resilient to future storms. Addressing wastewater issues will help ensure our surface and ground waters are cleaner for generations to come and look forward to engaging with the state on this issue," said County Executive Mangano.

“Governor Cuomo’s plan to engage scientists, experts and the public to find solutions for Long Island’s wastewater problems is a welcome partnership and complement to Suffolk County’s efforts to reclaim our water. Suffolk County residents care about our drinking water and improving the resiliency of our coastal communities. I look forward to continuing to work with our state partners in this critical area,” said County Executive Bellone.

“I have spent my career working on issues that will preserve and enhance water quality on Long Island. I applaud the Governor for his interest and welcome his commitment to join with us in ensuring that Long Island will have a clear, pristine water supply for future generations,” said Senator Ken LaValle

“I am pleased Governor Cuomo is focusing on Long Island water quality. This effort builds on funding added to the Environmental Protection Fund this year, which will be matched by Suffolk County. The funds will be used to take steps to address nitrogen sources that are impairing our water quality. I look forward to participating in this review and to working cooperatively in implementing solutions to protect our precious water resources,” said Assemblymember Robert Sweeney.

“Water quality protection has emerged as the major environmental and economic challenge facing our region, but it is also presents an interesting opportunity to foster innovative problem solving which Governor Cuomo clearly recognizes. New York State has the talent and resources to become a leader in developing water protection and restoration technology, creating the ability to address a pressing regional issue in a collaborative fashion while seeding a powerful new industry with global demand,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

As part of actions related to cleaning up the environment on Earth Day, Governor Cuomo directed New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens to establish an open, process that seeks input from experts and citizens on an effective plan of action to bolster natural coastal protections, dramatically improve water quality and make the best case possible for enhanced federal funding.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens will lead four public meetings in May and June with County Executive Ed Mangano in Nassau and County Executive Steve Bellone in Suffolk. At the meetings, officials will hear from the leading scientific and environmental experts to identify problems and to discuss strategies to protect Long Island’s coastal and ground waters from pollution, including nitrogen which significantly degrades the marshlands that serve as a second coastal line of defense to barrier island dunes.

The meetings are tentatively scheduled as follows:

  • The first meeting will be held on May 12 in Nassau County and will consist of presentations from leading environmental and other stakeholders to identify problems related to wastewater infrastructure and to explore solutions for reducing high levels of nitrogen in the back-bay area north of Long Beach Island.
  • The second meeting will be held on May 19 at SUNY Stony Brook to hear from a panel of leading experts on wastewater and septic solutions.
  • The third meeting will be held on May 28, during which time state officials will tour Suffolk County facilities and meet with local officials and environmental groups to identify problems related to inadequate wastewater treatment and to explore solutions to the high levels of nitrogen in the Great South Bay and other south shore bays. The public will be invited to submit comments during this meeting.
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