March 2012

For Your Information fromSuffolk County Department of Health Services

CELEBRATE NATIONAL GROUND WATER AWARENESS WEEK – MARCH 11-17, 2012

DID YOU KNOW? Americans Drink More Than One Billion Glasses of Tap Water Per Day!

  • In Suffolk County, our groundwater provides drinking water to approximately 1.5 million residents and has been designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a sole source aquifer.
  • Most residents receive their water from a public water supplier, though there are approximately 48,000 private wells in Suffolk County.
  • Because of our geology and sandy soils, our ground water can become contaminated from activities such as sewage disposal, chemical or gasoline spills, and use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • About 70 percent of our population (approximately 1 million people) is not served by sewers, making our aquifer especially vulnerable to potential contamination.
  • While the public water supply remains safe and of high quality, our groundwater is a primary source of pollutants to our streams and bays, especially nitrogen to sensitive waterways.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You Can Help Protect Human Health and the Environment by Raising Awareness about Potential Threats to Our Groundwater

  • If you have a private drinking water well, have it tested once a year by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (631) 853-5810 or a private laboratory certified by the State Health Department.
  • Follow directions and State and County regulations when you apply pesticides and fertilizers to your lawn and garden.  The link is: http://healthylawns.suffolkcountyny.gov/
  • Take advantage of local hazardous waste collection events and dispose of unwanted medication at Suffolk County Police Precinct Drop Off collection boxes.
  • Support Your Local Estuary Program – To learn more visit the Peconic Estuary Program at www.peconicestuary.org, the Long Island Sound Study at (www.longislandsoundstudy.net), and/or South Shore Estuary Reserve at (http://www.estuary.cog.ny.us)

EPA HAS A LIST OF ADDITIONAL WAYS YOU CAN GET INVOLVED.  For more information on each of these, click on the item or visit EPA’s web page, http://water.epa.gov/action/

Adopt Your Watershed Nonpoint Source Toolbox

After the Storm – Weather Protecting Drinking Water

Emergency Preparedness Water Efficiency

Additional Resources: Suffolk County Draft Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan

http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/EnvironmentalQuality/WaterResources/ComprehensiveWaterResourcesManagementPlan.aspx.

Suffolk County Cancer Awareness Task Force: www.suffolkcountyny.gov/cancerawareness.

REMEMBER THE NEXT TIME YOU REACH FOR THAT GLASS OF WATER, SAFE DRINKING WATER RELIES ON ALL OF US. DO YOUR PART TO GET TO KNOW IT AND PROTECT IT.