Linked below is a copy of Water Worries, the report issued in June by environmentalists in response to the draft Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan. I had the pleasure of editing and assembling the document, and was proud to be a part of the effort to protect Long Island’s drinking water along with prominent environmentalists across Long Island. The report is a great read, and it displays the #SoundPlanning principles that my writing always advocates for. The report is linked below:
I was also proud to have authored a recommendation made in the report:
There must be stricter enforcement of Article 6 of the Suffolk County Health Code.
Article 6 mandates specific maximum residential densities of one acre in Groundwater Management Zones (GMZs) for new developments. Proposals for new projects must conform to Article 6, as well as the Suffolk County Special Groundwater Protection Area rules and regulations. These areas are critical to deep recharge of the aquifer, and further steps must be taken to ensure that these areas are developed properly. The Special Groundwater Protection Area recommendations must cease to be advisory and become regulatory.
For a larger, PDF version of this map, click here (thanks to the Suffolk County Planning Department)
Article 6 of the Suffolk County Health Code is an important provision that is often ignored by developers, development proposals and advocates of “smart growth”. To understand what Water Worries advocates for, the historic context of Long Island’s groundwater protection must be understood.
Long Island’s Sole Source Aquifer: A Brief History
On Wednesday, June 21st, 1978, the EPA designated Long Island as the nation’s first federally protected Sole-Source Aquifer. The basis for this declaration was:
On the basis of the information which is available to this Agency, the Administrator has made the following findings, which are the basis for the determination noted above:
1) The aquifers underlying Nassau and Suffolk Counties are the sole or principal source of drinking water for the area. They supply good quality water for about 2.5 million people. Current water supply treatment practice for public supplies is generally limited to disinfection for drinking purposes with some plants capable of nitrate removal. There are also numerous private sources. There is no alternative source of drinking water supply which could economically replace this aquifer system.
2) The aquifer system is vulnerable to contamination through its recharge zone. Since contamination of a groundwater aquifer can be difficult or impossible to reverse, contamination of the aquifer system underlying Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York, would pose a significant hazard to those people dependant on the aquifer system for drinking water purposes.
The New York State Sole Source Aquifer Special Groundwater Protection Areas Law was passed in 1987, and in 1992 the article 55-based Long Island Comprehensive Special Groundwater Protection Area Study was released by the Long Island Regional Planning Board, and the end result of this study was the following map:
Below: a chart with the preservation numbers from all entities to date:
 Volume 43, No. 120, Page 26611, Wednesday, June 21, 1978, Sole Source Aquifer Determination for Aquifers Underlying Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York
 Long Island Comprehensive Waste Treatment Management Plan, Long Island Regional Planning Board, July 1978