Is Long Island At a Turning Point? Investing in Waste Water Infrastructure And Changing Our Lawn Care Practices
If we don’t address the nitrogen problem now, all our bays, ponds and creeks will be gone over the next two decades, killed by the massive algal blooms that have been choking the life out of our waters.
There are a number of high density building projects now on the drawing boards that depend on sewering for their viability — The Ronkonkoma Hub, Heartland, where Pilgrim State Psychiatric Hospital once stood, as well as several proposed development projects proposed by RXR a Long Island real estate giant with $10 billion under management at Island Hills Golf course at Garvies Point in Glen Cove, and elsewhere.
Some find it counterproductive for New York State and Suffolk County to be spending billions to reduce nitrogen by way of saving Long Island while high density projects only increase nitrogen loading, traffic, and air pollution in a place where we are at a critical point in all three areas.
Further, these onsite systems can be deployed now.
It is estimated that 70% of Long Island’s excess nitrogen problem comes from septics.
Some also comes from lawn fertilizers.
If we are about to spend $2 billion on waste water infrastructure, with about another $400 million allocated, and plan to allocate another $5 billion on top of that to address the nitrogen problem, what is the dollar cost / value of addressing the 7-15% contribution of lawn fertilizers?
As the folks at The Perfect Earth Project will tell you, mulch, let your grass grow high (3 1/2 inches) so the roots grow deep and the lawn crowds out weeds, introduce nitrogen fixing clover (which bees love by the way) and use native plantings, ones made for our climate that don’t need constant watering and care.
They actually have a training program for landscapers that teaches them eco-friendly yard care measures.
Nitrogen pollution on Long Island has a million sources — every septic tank and lawn.