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Creative reuse of water can preserve Long Island's supply

Nassau County Executives and SUEZ North America executives

Nassau County Executives and SUEZ North America executives unveil new technology that will save up to 300 million gallons of water annually at the Cedar Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Wantagh. Credit: Newsday/Morgan Campbell

Keeping Long Island’s drinking water clean is one challenge. Having enough water is another.

As concerns mount about the adequacy of future supplies, the operator of Nassau County’s sewer system deserves praise for a new program expected to save up to 300 million gallons of groundwater per year. Suez North America plans to reuse wastewater treated by the Cedar Creek plant to cool its generators, wash its equipment and irrigate its lawns. Wastewater currently is dumped in the ocean. Annual operations savingsof $350,000 will quickly pay for the $1.1 million project.

If it the works, Suez also should install it at the Bay Park sewer plant, Suffolk should consider it for its Bergen Point facility, and smaller plants could use it, too. It’s an innovation on par with the use of treated effluent from Riverhead’s plant to irrigate the adjacent county-owned golf course.

Right now, the U.S. Geological Survey is studying the adequacy of groundwater supplies, and saltwater intrusion already is an issue on parts of the North and South shores and on the East End. Reusing water is only going to become more important. Anything that helps Long Island achieve that goal is worth pursuing. — The editorial board