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"Because both our environment and our economy are underpinned by the bays that surround us and the below ground aquifers that supply our drinking water, no other issue in history has united such a diverse groups of stakeholders. The fight to reverse decades of nitrogen pollution from outdated cesspools and septic systems has created a unity of purpose among scientists, business leaders, environmentalists, the building trades and organized labor. The Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan will provide policy makers with the information we need to make decisions based on sound science. As I have said many times, no plan to reverse nitrogen pollution will be successful unless policy makers find a way to make it easy and affordable for homeowners."

Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive

“Scientists have warned that continued reliance on primitive wastewater disposal systems is a mounting threat to both our environment and our economy. Now, for the first time, there is a long term plan to diminish nitrogen pollution and put Suffolk County on a path to cleaner, healthier water resources.”

- Health Commissioner James M. Tomarken

"The strength of this plan is the incredibly strong and sound science on which it is based. The County has taken what may be the largest and most comprehensive water quality data set generated by any county in the country and has generated a robust, comprehensive, and forward thinking plan to restore Suffolk County's most vital resource: Its drinking water and surface waters. While I have spent my career documenting the degradation of Long Island's fisheries and aquatic habitats, it is inspiring to finally see a plan designed and implemented that will reverse course on decades of negative trajectories. The citizens of Suffolk County will reap the benefits of this plan for decades to come."

Christopher J. Gobler, Ph.D., Endowed Chair of Coastal Ecology and Conservation School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Director, New York State Center for Clean Water Technology at Stony Brook University

"I applaud the completion of the pollution reduction assessments and plans for 191 small watersheds under County Executive Bellone’s leadership and through the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan partnership. Nitrogen is the leading cause of water quality problems in Long Island’s estuaries, causing algal blooms with the potential to destroy wetland and marine habitats. Today’s announcement represents an extensive, science-based assessment to identify sources of nitrogen to surface waters and groundwater and develop a clear plan to achieve reductions through technical, management, and regulatory actions in the years to come."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos

"This report is the most comprehensive, meaningful watershed study in the history of Long Island. It doesn’t just identify and characterize the problem, it sets forth an ambitious plan to solve the problem. The lack of infrastructure to treat sewage is making our island polluted and unsustainable. We now have the roadmap to restore surface water quality within ten years of implementing waste water treatment upgrades. The report provides a path to reverse the damage and ensure our waterways are healthy. Kudos to Suffolk County Executive Bellone for supporting and advancing this critical effort."

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment

"The Long Island Federation of Labor applauds the comprehensive strategies advanced by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to address wastewater issues, a central concern for county residents. Guaranteeing the availability of clean drinking water and maintaining the viability of our coastlines will have major economic as well as environmental benefits. Creating a permanent funding stream to expand sewer districts and install advanced water treatment systems will create hundreds of jobs and allow for meaningful economic development in local communities."

John R. Durso, President, Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

"The investment of billions of dollars in new wastewater infrastructure will better protect the water resources which are critically important to our tourism economy while helping to spur new economic growth in downtown areas throughout the region. I commend County Executive Bellone for his leadership in advancing the Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan."

Kevin S. Law, President & CEO of the Long Island Association

"The Long Island Regional Planning Council strongly supports Suffolk County’s intelligent planning effort to address the County’s pervasive ground and surface water contamination problem. By conducting a scientific analysis of the County’s subwatersheds and the pollutional loadings that affect various receiving water bodies, the County will be able to prioritize its efforts to address nitrogen, bacteria, emerging contaminants and other sources of pollution. Various mitigation strategies will be employed such as sewer district expansions, treatment plant upgrades, installation of Innovative / Alternative on-site wastewater treatment systems, changes in land use regulations, fertilizer use restrictions, etc. to accomplish the County’s goal of improving our water quality, growing our economy and enhancing our quality of life. All this planning will be performed with the perspective of a changing climate and an ever-rising sea level."

John D. Cameron, Jr., Chair of Long Island Regional Planning Council

"The Nature Conservancy commends Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and the Department of Health Services for spearheading the first clean water study of its kind and blueprint for healthier waters on Long Island. Its robust findings show how we can fix sewage leaking from on-site wastewater systems to protect our drinking water, local businesses, wildlife, and beaches for generations to come. The study emphasizes the need for a dedicated funding source so that we can continue making necessary investments to update our wastewater infrastructure. We look forward to working with policymakers and partners to realize a clean water future for Long Island."

Kevin McDonald, Policy Advisor for The Nature Conservancy

"The Long Island Builders Institute, the state’s largest residential building trade association, strongly supports the efforts of Suffolk County to determine how to reduce the amount of nitrogen and other contaminants going into our groundwater. LIBI continues to work with the county in a variety of initiatives to facilitate where additional sewer lines will be appropriate and how to implement other alternative on-site wastewater treatment systems in those areas where additional sewer lines are not feasible. In addition, we strongly support efforts to modify our zoning regulations to provide the new housing options in those areas of the county where it is appropriate, such as our downtown areas near our mass transit systems."

Mitchell H. Pally, Chief Executive Officer of Long Island Builders Institute

"Suffolk County is taking the steps necessary to reduce nitrogen and other contaminants in our groundwater, helping make our water bodies healthier and more vibrant. In addition to the environmental benefits, the Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan will spur economic development, enabling downtown areas to connect to sewers and allowing for transit-oriented development that Long Island’s workforce is demanding. I commend County Executive Steve Bellone for his vision and execution of this win-win plan for Long Island."

Kyle Strober, Executive Director of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI), a leading regional advocacy group

"This plan represents the first meaningful strategy to address legacy septic nitrogen pollution since County-wide sewering objectives were abandoned some four decades ago. In those four decades, we learned a great deal about how toxic excess nitrogen is to the ecosystem. However, we consistently failed to solve the single largest environmental health problem of our generation. Finally, we have a response plan that will restore our ecosystems, and protect our drinking water."

Walter Dawydiak, Director of Environmental Quality for Suffolk County

"The Long Island Contractors’ Association applauds County Executive Bellone’s leadership for developing a comprehensive and action-oriented plan to ensure the quality of Suffolk County’s most important resource – water. The report demonstrates a clear vision along with a realistic plan for funding critical infrastructure updates in the near and long term, which will provide economic and environmental benefits for Suffolk County residents."

Marc Herbst, Executive Director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association

"Clean water is the lifeblood of Suffolk County. We are confident that County Executive Steve Bellone's new Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan will bring meaningful and long-lasting improvements to water quality across Long Island. Through sewer expansion projects, wastewater treatment upgrades, and nitrogen reducing systems, waterways will be cleaner and healthier. We applaud Suffolk County Executive Bellone for making water quality his top priority."

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters

"A multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative like the installation of wastewater infrastructure is exactly the type of program Suffolk county needs to help enhance quality of life on Long Island. A project of this scope will create hundreds of jobs and allow for cleaner water and coastline preservation. The major environmental impacts this proposal will have will be seen by generations to come while also directly benefiting the communities of today."

Matthew Aracich, President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties

"The Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan is a significant piece of work and will serve as invaluable tool as we move forward with implementing Suffolk County’s Septic Improvement Program and cleaning up our ground and surface waters. This was a long and deliberative process and there are many people to thank including members of Suffolk County Economic Development and Planning and the Division of Environmental Quality, as well as County Executive Steve Bellone, who had the vision to recognize the impact of nitrogen pollution and the resolve to move forward with finding solutions."

Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski

"Science tells us that nitrogen from outdated septic systems is the leading cause of contamination of our groundwater, which then spreads into our bays, gravely impacting our entire ecosystem. In the face of this crisis, I applaud County Executive Bellone and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services for taking the lead with this groundbreaking, science-based plan, which targets priority areas within Suffolk County to save our drinking water and our critical marine resources. I'm proud to have been part of this vital undertaking, and I look forward to continuing the work required to support the effort."

Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming

"Today’s release of the Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan marks the culmination of an initial phase in the mission of cleaning and restoring Suffolk County’s water resources. While we mark this plan as an important waypoint in the effort to restore our surface, ground and drinking waters there is much more to be done. Fortunately, the work done to this point and contained in this plan will become the basis of and guide the next and necessary in this process. I thank all of the professionals within the Department of Health Services and Division of Planning who contributed to this plan and County Executive Bellone and members of the Legislature for their work in ensuring its completion."

Legislator Kara Hahn, Chairwoman of the Legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee