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Letter: Manganese finding is serious

Trucks arrive at the Long Island Compost location

Trucks arrive at the Long Island Compost location in Yaphank on June 30, 2010. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

I am simply outraged by the blase tone of your article in which you announce that high levels of manganese have been found in water samples near the Long Island Compost facility ["Manganese found in water samples," News, July 24].

Phrases like manganese "is a normal part of the human diet" are dangerously misleading and could lead to complacency among our citizens and elected officials alike. Even more outrageous is the assertion by the state Department of Environmental Conservation's report that the public is not at risk because "no pathway exists for humans to become exposed to the contaminants."

I am not a scientist, but even I am aware that contaminants such as manganese and other heavy metals, once found in groundwater, have a way of traveling in underground plumes to aquifers that provide our drinking water. They also seep into creeks and streams, and hence into our rivers, bays and oceans. Heavy metals can be taken up by plants, shellfish and game birds, and eventually make their way back to us.

This particular contamination site is within a stone's throw of the Carmans River. Let's please treat this news with the seriousness it deserves.

Kathleen Lacey, Brookhaven

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Brookhaven Town landfill liaison committee.