Friday, July 25, 2008

Beaches Closed on Long Island Sound

You know of course the heavy rains wash all kinds of bacteria from all kinds of places -- sewers, treatment plants, streets, catch basins -- into Long Island Sound. The rain yesterday and the day before washed so much bad stuff into the water that beaches all over are closed on Long Island (here) and Westchester County (here). Coincidentally, Riverkeeper issued a report on the issue, which is on its website (here); a report from the Journal News is here.


Blogger She Sings Songs Without Words said...

Hm. Billions of gallons dispersed into our gorgeous Hudson River annually? This is sad news. I hope there will be an adequate effort to address this biodegradable issue. [If I must clarify, I mean to say that the importance of this issue is indeed quite high, but can very easily be overlooked and eventually forgotten by humankind. It happens, not only in cases like these, but perpetually... In our planet, I simply hope that people really begin to understand the vitality of taking real action and caring for our earth.]


{Hello, my name is Kristina, and I read your words fairly often. I'm simply a college student pursuing studies in Biology and Film. Pleasure.}

6:02 AM  
Blogger Nan Patience said...

bacteria, jellyfish, crabs--oh my!

11:48 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Tom and I argued about this before, in a nice way of course. What happens during many rainfall events is that the municipal wastewater treatment system fails or over-flows, sending raw or partially treated sewage into the rivers and LI Sound. These end-of-pipe spills are called "point source emissions."

As the wastewater and storm sewer systems get modernized (we hope), a growing part of the contribution to poor water quality is simply run-off from land, including yards, golf courses, streets with no storm water treatment systems, roofs, farm lands (especially treated with fertilizer and/or manure), and other sources that can't be linked to a discharge pipe. These are called "non-point emissions."

The Chesapeake was notable as a model because as towns and cities cleaned up with massive EPA wastewater grants, water quality actually got worse. So they stopped the use of applying chicken manure to fields primarily in Delaware - and water quality continued to decline. I forget the latest statistics, but over half of the contamination now comes from non-point sources, even such common things as pet dog waste.

My prediction is that LI Sound researchers will find that out as they finally start to see reductions in the nutrient loads from point sources. -sam

11:23 AM  

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