Letter: Focus efforts on water quality

Newsday / J. Michael Dombroski

Newsday / J. Michael Dombroski

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We applaud the recent Newsday article "New plan to cut nitrogen pollution" [News, Sept. 11], and the announcement of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership's public awareness and education program. Our polluted ground and surface waters are a problem that will require serious scientific research and the development of next-generation home and municipal wastewater treatment to protect and reverse this troubling trend.

We're fortunate that the Long Island Clean Water Partnership has the funding and public relations experience to launch an extensive Islandwide program. Such a campaign complements our continuing efforts to push for real and meaningful science-based standards for water quality, and our call for them to be enacted under the federal Clean Water Act in a manner that gives them legal teeth.

Education is great, but a result of education needs to be action. We all need to demand that our state and county representatives compel the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt numeric limits for nutrients, such as nitrogen, in our waterways. Then, governments must provide the funds necessary to inventory and monitor our waterways.

Finally, we need to recognize that the protection and restoration of the region's water quality must be part of a broader discussion about our development practices.

Douglas Swesty, Quogue

Editor's note: The writer is president of the Sea-Run Brook Trout Coalition and submitted this letter also on behalf of the North Fork Environmental Council, Peconic Baykeeper, All-Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization and The Community Planning Center.

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