Protect LI’s Water


Long Island has a water problem. In fact, we have two. According to the folks at the Jump In! campaign, our surface waters are being contaminated by excess nitrogen, and our drinking water, which comes from aquifers underground, is being contaminated by nitrogen as well as pesticides and other chemicals. The good news is, you can do something about it.

Here are the top five things homeowners can do to help protect Long Island’s Water:

1. Stop Using Pesticides and High Nitrogen Fertilizers on Your Lawn!

There are many low nitrogen fertilizers on the market, and by cutting your lawn a little higher and leaving clippings on the lawn you can reduce your need for fertilizer. (And when you use fertilizer, make sure the first number on the bag is 10 or below. High nitrogen fertilizers with numbers in the 20s or 30s are a real problem for our water!)

2. Don’t Flush Medications Down the Drain

We’re actually beginning to find trace amounts of hormones and other pharmaceuticals in our drinking water supply. Take any unused drugs to participating drug stores, your local police station or STOP day.

3. Don’t Put Hazardous Chemicals Down the Drain

Paints, stains, motor oil and other household chemicals can wreak havoc on the environment, especially our water supply. Keep them in a safe place and take them to your town’s next STOP day. (Check your town website for dates and locations.)

4. Pick Up Pet Waste

Our furry friends depend on clean water too! Make certain their waste doesn’t wash down storm drains and contribute to our nitrogen problem.

5. Conserve Water Around the House

Water lawns only when necessary (and permitted), keep shower times reasonable (especially teenagers), and don’t leave the water running while you wash the car, do the dishes or brush your teeth.

For more information about Long Island’s water problems and the Jump In! campaign, visit

—Doug Wood

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