Local residents have joined together to clean up local waters.
Members of the North Fork Clean Water Action coalition have galvanized after research conducted by the Suffolk County Department of Health and Stony Brook University has indicated a steady decline in area water quality due to excessive nitrogen buildup in ground and surface waters.
"Management of our sewage waste is a huge ecological, human health and financial issue, one that planners, politicians, engineers and environmentalists on Long Island have grappled with, awkwardly and unsuccessfully, for five decades," said Kevin McAllister, the Peconic Baykeeper. "Raw sewage from the thousands of residential cesspools is directly responsible for the vast number of polluted water bodies. We must act decisively and without further delay to overhaul outdated sewage regulations to ensure that our local bays remain the healthy centerpiece of life on the East End."
The coalition is a collaborative effort between the Group for the East End, North Fork Environmental Council, North Fork Audubon Society, the Peconic Baykeeper, and Peconic Green Growth, Inc.
McAllister said, despite "dire" findings, "there are solutions and members of the coalition are hopeful that the public, once informed, with take action to help solve the problem."
To that end, the NFCWA has begun to sponsor panel discussions that will include leading environmental experts and advocates; so far, events have been held at the Mattituck-Laurel Library and in Greenport.
The next forum will take place on Wednesday at the , from 6 to 8 p.m.
"With more than 15 years of research now before us, it's clear that our precious water resources are increasingly polluted, and that the long term costs and consequences of this pollution will have an impact on us all," said Bob DeLuca, president of Group for the East End. "We are pleased to be part of this regional effort to raise water awareness and foster an informed discussion about the short and long-term solutions we will need to protect and restore our waters for the future. Every significant cultural change starts with education."