The recent editorial on the release of Suffolk County's water management plan focuses on green lawns as a major problem ["An ugly truth: Pretty lawns help to pollute our water," May 8].

At the Irrigation Association of New York, we believe it is possible to have healthy lawns without sacrificing the quality of the water that sustains us. After all, lawns and decorative plants are one of the reasons people want to live here.

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A properly irrigated lawn is healthier and requires less fertilizer and pesticides. This, in turn, reduces the potential for contaminants to reach our aquifers.

Proper irrigation isn't as simple as putting pipes in the ground and hooking up a sprinkler system. For years, our association has urged the adoption of a code that would require irrigation contractors to be trained and certified. Certified contractors understand how to set automatic sprinkler systems so that they water effectively without waste from overwatering and misdirected sprinkler heads.

They also know how to work with local water suppliers to reduce the burden and how to properly install rain sensors, which should be required on every automatic system.

Tom Tracey, Huntington Station

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Irrigation Association of New York, a contractors organization.