Written by Frank Koch, Chairman of the Long Island Water Conference Friday, 10 February 2012 00:00
Long Island residents benefit from some of the most abundant and most affordable drinking water in the entire country, but that makes it all the more vital that we preserve our precious natural resource. While the deep aquifers from which Long Island draws its water supply are much less susceptible to contamination than most other sources of drinking water, it is nevertheless important to be aware of possible hazards and take all necessary steps to avoid them. With 3 million Long Islanders living, working, and playing on top of our water supply, some contamination is inevitable. The Long Island Water Conference suggests that we all take the following steps to help conserve and protect our unique water supply.
Always ensure that hazardous materials, such as household chemicals, paints, oils and batteries are disposed of properly. Because Long Island’s drinking water supply is derived from underground aquifers, it is very important for residents to minimize their households’ runoff of hazardous materials. One quart of oil can contaminate up to 250,000 gallons of water, effectively eliminating that much water from our water supply.Never flush prescription medications down the toilet. Many municipal authorities across Long Island sponsor drug take-back programs that promote safe disposal of various medications and hazardous household waste. Taking advantage of these programs is great for the environment, and beneficial for our local communities’ ongoing struggle to combat prescription drug abuse.
Fertilizers and pesticides, when improperly applied, can also have an adverse impact on our drinking water supply. When applying these lawn products, a homeowner should always use common sense and become familiar with the chemicals involved to determine the impact of use. Organic fertilizers, such as cottonseed meal, bone meal and manure, are an excellent choice because they break down slowly and release small quantities of nitrates. Biodegradable pesticides should also be used whenever possible, since they quickly break down into harmless substances.
Outside of limiting your own individual environmental impact, the Long Island Water Conference also urges residents to report any sightings of illegal dumping or spills to the proper authorities. By taking a more active role in protecting our water supply, you will be helping to ensure that future generations can benefit from the same exceptional quality drinking water that we as Long Island residents have the good fortune to enjoy today.
If you have any questions our concerns regarding rules or regulations covering proper disposal of hazardous chemicals or other contaminants in your neighborhood, please don’t hesitate to contact your local water supplier.