As we congratulate, and Newsday praises, the recent appointment of the new Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, Joseph Martens, for his environmental expertise ["Wise choice to head state DEC," Editorial, Jan. 7], let us not forget that his primary job, as far as Long Island must be concerned, is to enforce the standing laws and clean up the numerous contaminated sites that have severely deteriorated the quality of our sole-source aquifer.
This is our only drinking water supply. Groundwater contamination caused by numerous Superfund sites has affected our drinking water supply to the point that water from a number of wells requires complex treatment before entering our domestic supply. The treatment process must constantly be updated and refined to meet ever-changing Environmental Protection Agency standards.
Since Gov. Mario Cuomo's tenure as governor with Martens as an environmental adviser, this contamination has been allowed to travel south to the point that all drinking water wells in its path have been or will be impacted. The possibility that this contamination may reach the Great South Bay if not stopped now must also be addressed by the DEC.
As regards reduced budget or personnel at DEC, we the taxpayers have already funded both the EPA and the DEC through our hard-earned tax dollars, with the understanding that they would uphold the law and protect us from this type of environmental problem. Safe drinking water is a worldwide fundamental necessity, and the United States of America, with all of our infinite regulations, federal and state laws and environmental overseers, should never have been put in this position.