To the Editor:

It’s no secret that protecting water is a top priority for Long Islanders. The thousands of old, leaky septic systems on Long Island have contributed to devastating algal blooms, and dozens of communities’ drinking water have been contaminated by cancer-causing chemicals, 1,4-dioxane, PFOA, and PFOS.

This is why projects like the one for the Riverhead Water District discussed in RiverheadLOCAL’s Nov. 17 piece, Riverhead Water District lands $3 million state water quality grant are so important to fund. This project was funded thanks to Governor’s Cuomo’s bold $2.5 billion investment in water quality projects through New York’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act.

Since the creation of the water infrastructure grant program in 2015, 35 Long Island projects have received grant funding. Clean Water Infrastructure Act funding also enabled Suffolk County to implement a critical septic system replacement program.

Unfortunately, statewide water infrastructure needs still far exceed available funding. It has been estimated that over the next 20 years New York will need to invest $80 billion statewide to repair and replace our aging drinking and wastewater infrastructure. Suffolk County alone has 360,000 inadequate septic systems.

With so many successes thanks to the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, it is a no-brainer to build on that success with increased funding in the state’s FY2019-20 budget.

The governor, along with Long Island’s new slate of state legislators, should prioritize Long Island by making the Clean Water Infrastructure Act at least a $5 billion dollar program.

Richard Amper
executive director
Long Island Pine Barrens Society

This story is free to read thanks in part to the generous support of readers like you. Keep local news free. Become a member today.