As NY bolsters clean water initiates statewide, Hochul says Suffolk County is the 'top winner'
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Long Island on Tuesday to announce nearly $450 million for clean water initiatives statewide.
Hochul said the "top winner" is Suffolk County, where about $37 million will help fund more than a dozen drinking water programs and septic replacements. “Too many communities struggle with harmful contaminants — PFAS and 1,4-Dioxane — in the drinking water," she said.
An additional $30 million was available for a state program that helps home and business owners replace their aging cesspool and septic systems.
Two-thirds of the money is targeted for Suffolk County, which has its own program for installing new nitrogen-filtering systems. Nitrogen pollutes local waterways and feeds harmful algal blooms.
“When you think about Long Island, three-quarters of the homes here aren't sewered. Wastewater seeps into the ground," Hochul said.
“The marine life around here — the shellfish, the whole ecosystem, this is Long Island — it is an island, everybody. We're surrounded by water," she added. "But living in that water is part of our identity, our heritage here. People earn their livelihoods off the water.”
In October, a study from Stony Brook University showed a record number of harmful algal blooms and dead zones across Long Island.
The worst waters were near unsewered communities spanning from the middle of the Great South Bay to the edge of the Shinnecock Bay — posing a potential public health risk for Long Island residents who eat shellfish or swim in those waters.