A recent letter correctly identified nitrogen as a significant cause of declining regional water quality ["Wastewater system tech is unproven," News, Feb. 27]. But if we wait for every technical question to be resolved, major policy changes will never happen.
Unfortunately, one of the reasons we have seen such slow progress in the development of advanced wastewater technology on Long Island is because for decades there has been no legislation to require or incentivize the use of these systems. Policy and technology go hand in hand.
Such legislation would create a new marketplace that would engage industry, accelerate innovation, improve performance, create competition, lower pricing and provide more options over time. It's no different from other examples: the innovation in safety and fuel efficiency of our automobiles, the insulation standards for new homes or the installation of alternative energy systems in homes across the nation. Innovation is driven by standards, performance requirements and incentives.
No one underestimates the challenge we face in addressing the pollution of our local waters, but Long Islanders have faced major environmental challenges before and consistently found ways to succeed.
Robert S. DeLuca, East Marion
Editor's note: The writer is the president of Group for the East End and a member of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership, advocacy organizations based in Southold.