Featured Letter: Fighting for clean water on Shelter Island

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Water Quality Improvement Advisory Board, I would like thank Kate Rossi-Snook for her initiative in organizing Wednesday’s Innovative/Alternative Septic System (I/A) informational meeting at the Library. These systems, which have a proven history, are but one step in the process of cleaning up our most precious resource — our water. Installation of these systems is especially important on the Island since the majority of us have private septic systems, as well as private wells. This is certainly not the norm in other areas of Suffolk County served by the Suffolk County Water Authority. 

Regardless of location, whether your home is in the Center, above the thickest part of our fresh water lens, or in the near shore, keeping nitrogen out of the aquifer or tidal wetlands is paramount. 

Through Ms. Rossi-Snook’s efforts, Justin Jobin, the Suffolk County Department of Health’s expert on I/A systems; Meg Ann Larsen, representing Shelter Sand & Gravel, installer of I/A systems; and members of the WQIAB, came together to answer questions posed by community members. This technology represents change, and change can elicit apprehension. Meetings such as Wednesday’s are the best way to alleviate those feelings. That, coupled with the positive experience of those who have already embraced the technology, will serve to further spread the word. It should be noted that Ms. Rossi-Snook and her husband, Tim, were the first on Shelter Island to navigate the grant program and the first to install a residential I/A system.

Our committee meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month at Town Hall at 6 p.m. All are welcome and free to ask questions about I/A systems, as well as present their thoughts on other types of projects that result in cleaner fresh or salt water. Again, thank you Kate.

James Eklund