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Environmentalist calls for action on Island water quality

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Kevin McAllister of the environmental organization, Defend H2O, urged the Town Board at its Tuesday work session to impose local laws that would require state-of-the-art technology for septic systems.

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO
Kevin McAllister of the environmental organization, Defend H2O, urged the Town Board at its Tuesday work session to impose local laws that would require state-of-the-art technology for septic systems.

Kevin McAllister, the former Peconic Baykeeper and now head of his own environmental organization, “Defend H2O,” went before the Town Board Tuesday to ask the town to participate in a regional effort to protect the quality of ground and surface water.

Mr. McAllister said that his goal was “to elevate the urgency of designating water bodies with numeric nutrient standards,” or calculating scientifically the extent of harmful products in water bodies. The U.S. Department of Conservation had directed New York state 15 years ago away from “a narrative nutrient standard” to a numeric one,” but Albany is dragging its feet on this important issue, he said.

“New York State knows the values for the threshold of nitrogen levels in freshwater and saltwater bodies,” Mr. McAllister said, but is not taking action.

It’s up to individual municipalities to demand the numeric standards, he said.

He also urged the board to pass local laws instituting state-of-the-art septic systems for new construction.

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