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Richard Amper- Water quality seriously at risk.
October 31, 2014 @ 12:00 am EDT
Bottled Water Or A Sip @ the Water Fountain –
Drink Up Long Island!
by Michelle Marie Zere
Richard Amper, Environmental Activist and President of the Pine Barrens Society of Long Island recently spoke at the most recent Friday LIMBA meeting. The event hosts were LIMBA President, Bill Miller and LIMBA Vice President, Michelle Marie Zere. The meeting was well attended with a cross section of business leaders, associates and concerned citizens. Mr. Amper addressed the critical issues of water quality and sustainability on Long Island‘s continued population growth going forward.
Most recently, he was instrumental in creating the Clean Water Partnership with a goal of reversing declining drinking and surface water quality Island-wide. The principal culprit is the elevated levels of nitrogen in the water. Levels have risen over 200% in the last twenty years primarily from damaged insufficient septic systems, cesspools, aging sewer plants and storm runoff, fertilizers, toxic chemicals and now algae blooms that reduce oxygen in the water that kills fish and has closed shellfish beds. He stated that all private wells should be tested.
- Homes and businesses: Sewage and toxic household chemicals in septic systems can leach nitrogen pollution into the groundwater. In Suffolk, 70 percent of homes and businesses are on septic systems. In Nassau, just 30 percent are.
- Sewage treatment plants: Leaks and spills from aging municipal sewage systems can also contribute to the nitrogen loading. Superstorm Sandy crippled the Bay Park and Long Beach plants, sending thousands of gallons of raw or partly treated sewage into the channels and bays.
- Farms: Runoff carrying pesticides, fertilizers and livestock waste adds nitrogen and other pollutants to the ground and surface water. New York State has restricted when and where highly polluting fertilizers can be applied.
- Bays and waterways: Runoff and pollution from groundwater can add nitrogen to surface water, leading to vast algae blooms that block sunlight and reduce oxygen in the water. These ultimately kill fish and other marine life, affecting the fishing and tourism industries.
Active LIMBA member Bob Bender of R.B. Bender Group asked a an informative question and stated ” The present power structure and politicians are holding back from technology that is already existing and available to reduce the nitrogen levels in the water and fix broken infrastructure to make water cleaner on Long Island.”
Other “Smarty Pants” questions from the well informed business audience were as follows:
“ Everyone has a bright green lawn with landscaper chemicals on it where is the legislation on that?”
“ Pollution and pharmaceuticals in the water supply.”
“ There is no place for companies to expand on Long Island due to open space Suffolk County land purchases.”
“ Solar is a friendly use other than sod farms because there are no fertilizers leeching into ground water.”
“ Excessive multifamily housing developments will add to the existing problems.”
“ Proposal 5 on back of the ballot on election day.”
“ Airplane chemical spraying across Long Island leaving strange streaks in the sky – see “Chem Trails In The Sky.”
In closing, Long Island’s Suffolk County water is the cleanest in New York State and in the nation. There is no easy fix for existing and ongoing future water issues, but it was stated that Federal, State and Nassau & Suffolk Counties are engaged in enormous initiatives for public health and continued water quality.
LIMBA welcomes all viewpoints and active Long Islanders that contribute to the quality of life on Long Island.