Suffolk introduces $4 billion plan to battle nitrogen pollution

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HAUPPAUGE -

A new plan introduced by Suffolk officials would help battle brown tide, red tide, fish kills and shellfish poisoning.

The county developed the wastewater plan after toxic algae blooms like brown tide caused by nitrogen pollution plagued waterways. Officials say once the water preservation plan is in place, water quality on the Island would rapidly improve within five to 10 years.

"This is the most rigorous piece of science that has ever been undertaken to evaluate the wastewater challenge in Suffolk County," says Deputy Suffolk County Executive Peter Scully. "What it is saying, it's underscoring what we have known for decades - that relying on cesspools and septic systems over the long term is going to continue to foul our bays and estuaries leading to fish kills and beach closings, which is what we rely on for our economy. And Long Island will become a place where people are not going to want to come to."

Right now, 70% of Suffolk County uses cesspools. The plan is calling for those systems to be replaced by nitrogen-capturing septic systems, however, the cost could be as much as $20,000. Some residents and officials are crying foul over the financial burden.

County officials insist with grants and loans that the investment will be well worth it. Phase 1 of the project is expected to begin sometime late next year.

 

 

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