Jason Atkinson: Great South Bay

Marshall Brown speaks of the importance of The New Inlet for The Great South Bay’s health and recovery. In light of the brown tide The Great South Bay has seen subsequently, we should feel very fortunate that those who wanted to close it up shortly after Sandy did not prevail. The New Inlet is now The Great South Bay’s lifeline in what is now an even longer recovery.

500,000 Septic Tanks

The biggest contributor to pollution in The Great South Bay by far is seepage over decades from over 500,000 septic tanks in Nassau and Suffolk County. The increased nitrogen levels in the groundwater once that enters into the bay, helps to trigger massive algal blooms such as we have been seeing with growing regularity and intensity over the last 30 years in waters throughout Long Island. This septic seepage is also impacting our drinking water. Year by year, the contamination goes deeper into the aquifer. We drink now water 10,000 years old, trapped in the ground as the glaciers melted. If nothing is done, our water will be undrinkable within 20 years. Our bays and waterways will die well before that, however.



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