Long Beach Drinking Water Meeting

Sarah J. Meyland from NYIT presents “What You Should Know About the Lloyd Aquifer”.

“This is the most serious problem in the city’s history”-  Harvey Weisenberg, Long Beach, NY  State Assemblyman.

After 23 years in the state assembly, 2 terms as Long Beach City Council President, 20 years teaching, and living in the area for 50+ years, that’s quite a number of other problems to comapre to.   He said he’s committed to working on the problem and his track record of commitment to, and delivering on our local issues is well known.

In an evening at the Long Beach Public Library brought to us by the League of Women Voters of Long Beach, Sarah J. Meyland, Director at NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) Center for Water Resource Management gave a cool, level headed, extremely informative presentation about our drinking water.

Easy for her to be calm- she doesnt live here, but she says the people that live here should be very concerned about the seriousness of the situation.   It’s very difficult to disagree.

We need a solution to protect and preserve our drinking water. Latest test results show serious danger signs. Many are not aware-we are already on our last resort water source here on Long Beach Barrier Island. 

NYS Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg

NYS Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg spoke briefly: saying “it’s the biggest problem the city has ever faced” may say it all.

The presentation was attended by a pretty well-packed room including NYS Rep Harvey Weisenberg, LB City Council President Len Torres, Council Member Fran Adelson, Point Lookout Civic leaders plus dozens of concerned citizens including LBHS students. Everyone seemed moved to action. City Council President Torres said the council is “definitely on board with joining the study”.  Unfortunately, it was pointed out that the current environmental committee members would have to forward that motion (none of whom attended??)  to start that process. We’re pretty sure we don’t need a study. There was a similar meeting like this last week presented By Nassau and Suffolk County Legislators (not our legislators down here on the south shore, mind you!), promoted by Sierra Club in New Hyde Park which you can find out about here: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/legis/LD/10/NewsRelease/2012/LD10Aquiferhearing.html

So what has happened?   The news isn’t pretty!

Long Beach and Atlantic Beach test wells show potential saltwater intrusion may be underway into Lloyd Aquifer -our “sole water resource” (that means THE ONLY PLACE WE CAN GET OUR DRINKING WATER), right below us at about 1500 feet down.

That would be a “game over” for drinking water here on the barrier beach.  There are no water pipelines from anywhere to here, no way to start cisterns and other catchment because a few feet down in our ground is salt water, so there’s nowhere to store catchment. 

These test wells were installed to give us “several years warning” of saltwater intrusion (chloride that makes it undrinkable) into the aquifer. The recent results show Atlantic Beach and Long Beach warning us RIGHT NOW!  Recent chloride tests showed:

42 ppm-Atlantic Beach

110 ppm-Long Beach “central” test well at Laurelton

15 ppm -East Long Beach

18 ppm – Jones Beach

6 ppm -Tobay Beach

This may mean that salt water is forming a plume into the fresh water,  centered on central Long Beach.

Although drinking water standards are 250 ppm, any increase is a major warning because intrusions are not gradual. The seperation between where it is all fresh water and where that becomes all salt water is very thin. There is no wide area where salt to fresh water ratios go up gradually.  If you start seeing higher numbers, YOU ARE VERY LIKELY IN THE INTRUSION NOW.

The problem is: Pumping too much water without replenishment will cause a draw of salt water inland, eventually past the point from where we can pump our drinking water.

LONG BEACH ISLAND RESIDENTS From Atlantic Beach, Long Beach, Lido Beach, and Point Lookout Need to take action NOW!

Call and ask your Long Beach, Town of Hempstead, Nassau, and New York state representatives to get involved.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

guess what… no one’s in charge of managing the aquifer resources.  whoever pumps, gets.  thats the job the water companies are supposed to do- they are not responsible for monitoring, conservation, management, protection…Nothing!

Although they do realize that these are in their best interests, and they have put up the money Nassau County rescinded for these purposes…for 2012 year only, and thousands of dollars short-but hey-it’s not their job the way the laws stand, so we need to get together with them, too.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has the mandate to be in charge, but the control of the Lloyd Aquifer was taken away from them over 25 years ago because they

  • had no management plan
  • no oversight plan
  • no monitoring

and no one still does to this day.     No one even knows how much is safe to be pumping out, although by old Nassau County Estimates, we are at least 25-30% above previously discussed “safe” levels.

What is safe to say is that if we are pumping out 9% of all the water on Long Island, but the aquifer only gets 3% of the recharge water, we are beyond sustainability.  The aquifer is going to absorb from where it’s easiest, and that’s the heavier salt water pushing in, not the filtered recharge that should be coming from rainwater above.

Where do we go from here?   Ms. Meyland says we should look to other areas and how they have protected their drinking water: like the Delaware River (covering at least 4 states), Hudson River, and virtually all over the US:

Water Compacts.   A water compact is grouping of people all involved in the same water resource. It would

  • decide how much water is available
  • protect ecosystems that feed the aquifers
  • allocate it
  • have input on regulations over things that impact the water supply
  • oversee  / permit  withdrawls
  • prepare maps of water quality and the like
  • develop  and implement long range plan
  • investigate and recommend solutions to sewage and septic issues
  • conduct and publish studies
  • utilize island-wide models to monitor aquifers

Like to get fresh water at your house?  Then YOUR involvement will be needed.  If you were at this meeting, please contact us.

Coming soon, we will be posting a litttle more on the science involved to help get the word out so everyone can act with the most accurate information and understanding of the situation.

Please take a minute to share this information on any of the buttons below with everyone you know, especially on the South Shore. Other water districts in between are or will be impacted too, and it’s being decided on that NYC will also be tapping our water resources again -that’s you Valley Stream etc.!

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One thought on “Long Beach Drinking Water Meeting

  1. Pingback: Drinking Water Status and Sustainability Presentation | making my point

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