PROTECTING OUR GROUNDWATER
To ensure that Suffolk County residents will continue to have a drinking water supply that meets or surpasses all regulations, the Suffolk County Water Authority is at the forefront of aquifer protection measures. Maintaining, safeguarding and improving the quality of our groundwater are critical for our public health, our economy and our environment. Source water protection also helps avoid costs associated with treating, monitoring and remediating contamination; pollution prevention is always preferable to remediation.
Open Space Preservation
SCWA drafted the bill that protected the Central Pine Barrens. The creation of the Pine Barrens Protection Act has resulted in the preservation of more than 100,000 acres of land in central Suffolk, which overlies a substantial portion of Long Island's federally-designated sole source aquifer. We continue to provide resources to protect this unique resource.
We have partnered with the Long Island Groundwater Research Institute (LIGRI) at SUNY Stony Brook to study groundwater hydrology and chemistry and the impacts that certain practices have on our groundwater quality and quantity. The focus of this scientific research is Long Island's aquifer system, and the goal is to utilize the results in practical applications to resolve groundwater-related problems.
We also support local research and data collection by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to assess the water quality and quantity of Suffolk’s groundwater reservoir. The USGS performs ongoing environmental and hydrologic surveillance and investigations including a long-term groundwater monitoring program, data collection on emerging contaminants and nitrate trends, geophysical surveys, and aquifer characterization. The USGS also maintains a database of all of this information, allowing for historic trend analyses.
Public Education and Outreach
Robust outreach is essential to ensure the appreciates the need to protect our vital water resources. To further this goal, SCWA:
- Provides an educational outreach program for students in the 4th through 8th grades that covers the water cycle and protection of our drinking water. The program reaches thousands of school kids every year.
- Established the SCWA Education Center, which provides a venue for Suffolk residents to learn firsthand about the water cycle, our aquifer system and everything SCWA employees do to deliver a high quality drinking water supply.
- Led the way in creating the Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection, which was formed to address both quality and quantity issues facing Long Island’s aquifer system and to advocate for a coordinated, regional approach to groundwater resources management.
- Holds WaterTalk public education forums every two months all throughout our service territory. These forums allow residents to listen to presentations about their local water quality and infrastructure and to ask our experts questions about these and other topics.
We also have useful educational information on our website and in our Annual Water Quality Report. Also check us out on Twitter and Facebook for additional educational information.
Additionally, group tours of our state-of-the-art water quality testing laboratory or one of our pump stations can be arranged, and we’re available to make a presentation to your civic organization. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.