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June 12, 2013

Viewpoint : Who Cares About Clean Water? Everyone!


It's almost beach time but what's scarier than trying on a new bathing suit in the fluorescent lights of a fitting room? What's in the water.

An increase in pollution from sewage, and increasing pesticides and toxic chemicals are threatening our waters across the East End and throughout Long Island. And it's time to do something about it. Sewage puts nitrogen pollution in our water and threatens Long Island's health and quality of life. Polluted ground water causes unsightly and dangerous red tides, kills our fish and can poison the shellfish we eat.

The good news? We can fix it.

Scientists and engineers have identified the causes and have developed solutions to this problem. Stronger water quality standards and upgrading sewer and septic systems have been shown to improve water quality.

More good news? Long Islanders want to fix the water quality problem!

Recent surveys of voters across Long Island reveal that we are concerned enough about polluted water entering our bays to pay for cleanup, and they enthusiastically support higher government standards for water quality across Long Island.

Recognizing the need to pool efforts across Long Island communities, a proactive consortium of environmental groups called the Long Island Clean Water Partnership has taken the lead in assessing citizen concern, raising awareness, and lobbying local and regional governments to act now.

Even more good news: clean water is cheap!

Compared with that $4 you just spent on a gallon of gas or a carton of milk out here in the Hamptons, cleaning up our water costs about one cent per gallon — and we all rely on clean waters for our health, our recreation, and our livelihoods. It makes dollars and cents to keep our water clean and safe.

Working together, stronger water quality standards and upgrading sewer and septic systems will leave cleaner bays and harbors for our children and grandchildren. We owe it to them to leave them with waters they can swim in, are filled with plentiful fish and are healthy!

Want to learn more? To see what you can do to help? Contact any of the following partners in this crucial initiative:

The Nature Conservancy

Group for the East End

Long Island Pine Barrens Society

Citizens Campaign for the Environment

Nancy Kelley is the Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy of Long Island.

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