Mission Statement
“To recognize stewards of groundwater by encouraging managers to implement, measure, and document their groundwater-friendly practices, as well as promote, enhance, and expand existing local practices of sustainable groundwater use.”
- Suffolk County Water Authority Groundwater Guardians
In order to ensure safe and high quality water, it is up to citizens to act as stewards of the groundwater system. Our team would like you to take an active part in preserving our local water supply by becoming a Groundwater Guardian.

About the Groundwater Guardian Program

In 1985 Susan S. Seacrest founded The Groundwater Foundation in order to protect groundwater systems across the country. As more citizens began to join the foundation, the Groundwater Guardian program was formed in 1994. The Groundwater Guardian program is an international effort by the Groundwater Foundation to educate the public about the nature and value of groundwater, and is run locally by a group of dedicated individuals representing government, the business community, and education, agriculture, and Suffolk citizens

Some Suffolk county team members of the Groundwater Guardian program include The Suffolk County Water Authority, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, The Long Island Farm Bureau, Stony Brook University, and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Team activities can include awareness campaigns, such as school poster contests, pollution prevention, conservation, public policy initiatives, waterway cleanups and best management practices. These activities are aided by the Groundwater Foundation, and, each year, the Foundation holds an annual conference at which community representatives can share success stories and are honored for the progress they’ve made in comprehensive groundwater protection in their communities.

Groundwater Guardian Quick Facts (on Groundwater Guardian Website)


The Suffolk County Water Authority Groundwater Guardian program has three main goalsConserving_Water_Saves_Money

1.Educating water consumers to recognize the value of water

It is important for people to know and understand the steps that are taken to provide safe, clean water. Though your water bill might be the cheapest bill you get, many millions of dollars are spent to acquire, test, and clean water. Read more about the value of water and its worth to you and your community.

2.Encouraging everybody to be a groundwater guardian (Take Action)

It is important to share and extend the ideas of guarding our groundwater to adults and children of all ages. We want everyone to work to protect this precious resource. Educators from the Suffolk County Water Authority present the water cycle, a groundwater model and treatment and distribution facilities to grades 3-12. This promotes children to become groundwater guardians and then to go home and educate their parents on how to become a guardian.

3.Engaging others to get involved

This site is designed to serve as both a resource and a forum for successful and efficient methods and implementation of sustainable groundwater practices. Any citizen either local to or living outside the Suffolk County with useful, thoughtful, or initiative ideas is welcome to submit information to to be evaluated and shared through this site.

Take Action

Here is a list of indoor and outdoor actions you can take to help protect our Groundwater.


Household Hazardous Waste- Don’t pour hazardous household materials down the drain or toilet because it contaminates our groundwater. Old paint, cleaning products, degreasers, oils, and like materials should be brought to a proper disposal location or a STOP program. To find a location near you call your local town and ask how you can dispose of Household Hazardous Waste or check out this list.

PharmaPharmeceutical_Disposalceuticals- Properly dispose of your expired or unused medications by dropping them off at your local Suffolk County Police precincts. Do not flush them down the toilet or pour them down the sink because they have been found in our groundwater. Operation Medicine Cabinet locations are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Personal Care Products-  Dispose of any leftover products properly (see link for household Hazardous Waste). Avoid products that contain DEET, phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde and petroleum-based ingredients such as mineral oil.

There are many safe alternatives. Check out this brochure about home product risks and alternatives created by the Suffolk County Cancer Awareness Task Force.


Herbicides/Pesticides- Pests only need to be controlled when they exceed a tolerable threshold. If you do decide to use pesticides, apply only according to the manufacturer’s instructions printed on the product label. Unused products should be properly disposed of at a Household Hazardous Waste collection site. See link under Household Hazardous Waste above.

Fertilizers-It is often a good idea to obtain a soil nutrient test to insure your grass is receiving the nutrients it requires. If your lawn does require additional nutrients contained in a lawn fertilizer, apply only according to the instructions on the label. Application to lawns between November 1st and April 1st is prohibited in Suffolk County. Grass is a great way to prevent soil erosion and runoff. You can have both a healthy lawn and clean water. Check out information and tips on how you can have a healthy lawn and clean water.

Watering- Rainwater is often sufficient to keep your lawn healthy through the summer. A typical lawn needs only about an inch of water a week to stay healthy. If you do feel the need to water your lawn do so in the morning to avoid wasteful evaporation and keep your water nozzle aimed at your lawn, not your driveway or street. Irrigating your lawn less frequently and for longer durations will promote deep root growth and improve your lawns ability to slow down water movement and filter rainwater before it returns to the groundwater.

Here in Suffolk County, protecting our underground aquifer system, the sole source of all our drinking water in Nassau and Suffolk County, is critically important to our continued health and prosperity. To join the effort to preserve our most precious resource, write to us at for further information.


Are You a Gardener?

This great brochure gives tips to gardening on Long Island. It has lists of plants for this area that have drought-tolerant attributes and would make for a great waterwise garden. It also contains tips on soil preparation, watering habits, and mowing suggestions.

Groundwater Guardian Sites

This program recognizes green spaces, like education campuses, parks and golf courses, for their groundwater stewardship. It encourages managers to implement and monitor groundwater-friendly practices related to the use of water, and chemicals. It also encourages promoting pollution prevention efforts, water quality reports, and environmental stewardship.

The program seeks to publicly recognize the efforts made, provides an outlet for educating managers, site staff, and site visitors and among other things provides a chance for Groundwater Green Sites to connect together with experts on water to share ideas and strategies.

\For the Groundwater Guardian Green Site Application: Click Here


Results Oriented Activities, or ROAs, are projects to enhance public awareness, education, influence public policy, foster conservation, pollution prevention, and best management practices.

Educational Presentations for Schools

Educators from the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) are available to present a 45-minute demonstration of the water cycle, groundwater model and SCWA treatment and distribution facilities to students in Grades 3-12. Students will review the definitions relating to the water cycle, which is required by NYS curriculum. In addition, by use of diagram and presentation methods, students will understand that water on the planet is used again and again. Students will learn that Long Island’s water comes from underground and surface activities can affect it.

They will learn about the testing the Authority performs and the filtrations systems used to provide safe drinking water to 1.2 million residents of Suffolk County.

For more information click SCWA School visits

Check out this interactive water model!

Visit Our Team Members: Team Members


The DEC's Long Island aquifer system

Grace Communications Foundation's Water footprint calculator

Citizens Campaign for the Environment's Proper disposal of household wastes

Citizens Campaign for the Environment's Proper disposal of pharmaceuticals

National Geographic's Water conservation facts

Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation District's Backyard conservation tips

DEC's Household hazardous waste disposal programs