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"Growing Risks And Misguided Policy" Plagues Long Islandís Water Supplies

Elsie Boskamp

More than 115 pesticide-related compounds have been detected in Long Island's water supplies. (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

"All of our drinking water comes from below us and what we dump into the ground ultimately and inevitably finds its way into our drinking and surface waters," noted Peconic Baykeeper Executive Director Daniel J. Gulizio. "Because contaminants move from ground water to our surface waters, we can now see a host of impacts along our shorelines."

After The New York Times featured an article regarding "A Rising Tide of Contaminants," Peconic Baykeeper Executive Director Daniel J. Gulizio used the opportunity to inform Long Islanders of serious environmental and health issues that could result from the Island's toxic chemicals contaminating ground and surface waters.

Such impacts include the Island's diminishing shellfish populations and the closure of more than 140 beaches this summer as a result of "unhealthy bacteria levels."

The initial issues raised by the Times included an overall lack of public knowledge concerning water contamination, an increase in the amount of toxic chemicals and compounds being exposed to the environment and the lack of safety testing and intervention by Congress. All of which Gulizio says raise serious concerns for East End residents, as the island is located on a sole source aquifer.

According to Suffolk County Health officials, drinking water supply wells have contained a 200 percent increase in nitrogen and more frequent and concentrated amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds. More than 115 pesticide-related compounds have been detected in the Island's water supplies as well as other contaminants, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products.

Nassau and Suffolk Counties have more Super Fund sites, uncontrolled locations containing hazardous wastes, than any other region in New York State and Gulizio is calling for change.

"It is nice that some county officials have talked about the importance of clean water but their actions remain troubling," Gulizio said. "Our elected officials need to do better."

For more information, visit www.peconicbaykeeper.org.




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