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BUILDING A WATER RESILIENCY FRAMEWORK FOR LONG ISLAND Samudyatha Mysore Subbarama Pratt Institute Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development Capstone This framework is built for the Energy and Environment Team, at the Regional Plan Association towards the Fourth Regional Plan December 2016

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island



ABSTRACT This paper has a regional imperative. The management and protection of watersheds has reached a tipping point. Water crises are on the rise in the New York Metropolitan region, and traditional water policies have not been up to the task of protecting our water systems. 1 This problem is further exacerbated by aging infrastructure. The research behind this paper looks at Long Island as a geography, and aims to build a framework that could be applicable for building a resilient water supply in the region.

“Cities around the world often turn to conservation to maintain or enhance raw water quality. As we shall see, investments in natural infrastructure can be competitive with grey infrastructure and provide a hot of co benefits” Conservation for Cities, Robert I. McDonald

The world of watershed planning is diverse and the focus of this research is to secure long term water supply. Long term water supply availability and emergency preparedness in short water resilience has been consistently ranked as one of the top critical issues threatening water supply by the American Water Works Association. Resilience is defined as the capacity to absorb shock and contamination of water supplies, and the ability to withstand the impact of long term climate change on water supply systems. Water and Wastewater systems are more than the physical infrastructure conveying and treating water. They are socio-technical and socio-ecological systems and involve multiple interactions between humans, the environment and technology. Resilience in the water system therefore has wide implications and calls for a wide range of actions, especially in the field of planning and ecology. 2 This research offers policy solutions, planning solutions, infrastructure solutions and institutions for the future for potable water supply systems. Keywords: Resiliency, Water Supply, Long Island, Watershed Planning


1. PFOS Contamination Water Crisis in Newburgh, May 2nd 2016. A State of Emergency was declared in Newburgh after Perfluoro octane Sulfonate was detected in Silver Stream and Washington Lake. Use of water from Washington Lake was discontinued and until further notice water will be drawn from Brown’s Pond and the Catskills Aqueduct. Water restrictions were placed on individual users (50 gallons/resident/day), establishments, commercial and industrial facilities, and secondary uses such as water fountains, washing of sidewalks and roads, car washing, and recreational uses were prohibited. http://www.cityofnewburgh-ny. gov/sites/newburghny/files/u576/state_of_emer_may_2.pdf 2. Dr. Heather Smith. (2012, September 16). Understanding resilience: Implications for the water sector. Retrieved from Global Water Forum:

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Content 1. Abstract 2. Building a Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island 3. A Note on Planning for Water Supply Stress in the New York Metropolitan Region 4. Climate Change 5. Sea Level Rise and Salt Water Intrusion 6. Hydrogeology of Long Islands Aquifer 7. A note on Long Island’s Water 8. Watersheds of Long Island 9. Long Islanders and their take on their Water 10. Management of Water Supply 11. Issues in Long Island’s Aquifers 12. Call for a Comprehensive Urban and Ecological Plan for Water Resilience on Long Island 13. Open Space and Development Recommendations 14. Water System Recommendations 15. Wastewater System Recommendations 16. Water Governance and Management Recommendations 17. Financing Water Resilience on Long Island 18. The way infrastructure projects are financed must include resilience aspects. 19. Conclusion 20. References


Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island



Long Island has the nation’s first designated sole source aquifer, which means the system is the sole source of water for over 2.6 million Long Islands residents, with surface water sources making up an insignificant piece of the pie. Creating a Resilient, redundant water supply for Long Island shall first require examining water use, issues and trends in Long Island. Assessing the issues that concern the sole source aquifers of Long Island, will direct the best solution/recommendation, given considerations of time and cost. The traditional response to building a resilient water supply has been to focus engineering solutions during water crisis, as opposed to proactive measure to make our water supply resilient to potential future threats, and building redundancy right into the system. The framework recommended in this paper is backed by nearly two decades of climate research in the region, which outlines the possible impacts,` vulnerabilities of the water supply system, critical issues, and proposes solutions that can be addressed by local water managers, planners, policymakers and the public. The solutions proposed are the ones that make sense despite uncertainties in the climate change model. This framework for Long Island below is a map for navigating the various considerations and processes involved in securing a good source of drinking water supply. This model can be applied for analyzing water systems across the region. This research examines the Nassau and Suffolk counties in Long Island. These two counties are home to almost 3 million people who depend on the sole source aquifer beneath Long Island. The work builds on previous sustainability plan and studies documenting change in the water resources.

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


A NOTE ON PLANNING FOR WATER SUPPLY STRESS IN THE NEW YORK METROPOLITAN REGION Growing pressures on water resources continues to impact our social and economic wellbeing. All of New York State is currently under a drought watch, and there is a Western drought warning. 3 Portions of New York State have had a rain deficit of up to 16” since the past year (November 15th 2015). In 14 of Northern New Jersey’s counties, persistent dry conditions and depleted water reserves have triggered a Drought Warning designation. 4 For the first time ever, Connecticut has a Drought Watch designation in 6 of its 8 counties and a Drought Advisory designation in the other 2 counties as of October 26, 2016. 5 6 This condition becomes more critical considering critical infrastructure and reservoirs have no back up. For instance, in the NYC Watershed, the Catskill and the Delaware aqueduct’s, Rondout, Ashokan and Hillview Reservoirs as well as all the city tunnels 1, 2 and the Richmond Tunnel that connects Brooklyn and Staten Island have no backups. 7 The NYC Department of Environmental Protection has been exploring augmentation of water supplies in the region, repairing its infrastructure and innovating ways of dealing with problems of drought, aging infrastructure all of which are exacerbated by climate change. The regions planning organizations, water managers, policy makers and political powers really need to follow suit and address and assess water supply in the future and reduce risk of water scarcity, as by 2050 the New York metropolitan region can expect reduced water availability and increased pressure on the capacity of our drainage systems. The Water for the Future project was developed to address aging infrastructure, specifically the Delaware aqueduct (85 miles long and completed in 1944) 8 that was estimated to lose between 15 – 35 million gallons of water per day due to leaks. 9 Back in 2012, NYC had explored the possibility of reactivating the Queens Groundwater system and connecting to Nassau and 8

New Jersey water supply as back up, when repairs to the Delaware aqueduct were being pursued. 10 However, this could not be pursued as New York City and Long Island could not come to an agreement. As NYC repairs the Delaware aqueduct which supplies 50% of the water to the city by building bypass tunnels, and rely more on Catskill and Croton aqueducts, water supplies have been showing signs of breaking down across the region, 11 which means that the water supply agencies shall have to balance and conserve their water supplies, which exploring augmentation of water supplies across the table. 3. Drought, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. http:// 4. Persistent drier than normal weather has depleted water reserves, prompting a Drought Warning designation for 14 north and central New Jersey counties on October 21, 2016. This action was deemed necessary to implement DEP’s non-emergency authority to address depleted reservoir storage, stream flows and shallow ground water levels in several regions across the state < http://njdrought. org/status.html> 5. Water Status, Connecticut. 6. Gov. Malloy: After State’s First-Ever Drought Watch Issued, Residents Asked to Voluntarily Reduce Water Use When Possible. 7. Water for the Future, Supply Augmentation Needs Planning. September 19th, 2013. NYC DEP. 8. Water for the Future. NYCDEP. < the-challenge.shtml> 9. Lisa W. Foderaro, Aqueduct Tunnels are Suspected in Dry Weather Flooding of Homes, N.Y. Times, April 12, 2008. < nyregion/12leaky.html> Accessed December 15, 2016. 10. NYC DEP, Water for the Future. Water for the Future: The Delaware Aqueduct Rondout-West Branch Tunnel Repair. 2012. < environmental_reviews/rwb_tunnel_repair_project.shtml> 11. Newburgh water crisis. 2016 PFOS contamination

VULNERABILITIES OF WATER RESOURCES TO CLIMATE CHANGE The 4th assessment report notes that there will be changes to all components in the freshwater system. (like timing, availability, quality, and demand) With Global Climate Change progressing, and some processes of melting ice sheets and rising temperatures now rendered irreversible, climate scientists predict that the Northeast region in the United States, one of the most developed urban regions in the world, shall be at threat from sea level rise and more intense precipitation, along with extended dry periods or episodic droughts. 12 New York Metropolitan Region enjoys abundant water resources, with high surface and groundwater supplies. It is complacent however to assume that this bounty will continue indefinitely, without careful management. Groundwater is one of the most important resource to the United States, providing half of its drinking water needs. It is hard to accurately predict the extent of anthropogenic climate change on ground water resources as ground water systems generally respond more slowly to climate change than surface water systems. (IPCC, 2007) Coastal areas like Long Island are highly susceptible to even small shifts in sea level rise. A modest and probable prediction of sea level rise of 0.5 m by 2080, puts 47% of the population at risk and accounts for a 73% property loss, impacted by storm surge. (Shepard, 2012) (Nicholls RJ, 2007)

ground water system is highly vulnerable to salt water intrusion and upconing at wells resulting from heavy pumping. (Schubert, Hydrogeologic Framework of Long Island’s North Fork, Suffolk County, New York, 2003) Excess water withdrawals and sea level rise will reduce the availability of waters in aquifers. (IPCC, 2007) Salt water intrusion was detected in Long Island as far back as 1976 in the journal ‘Ground Water. 124 wells were examined in Southampton, Suffolk county, more than half of which tested high for chloride concentrations. Located by the shore, this water source was subject to both lateral and vertical salt water intrusion. 13 (Anderson, 1976) It is important to note from this paper that 19 of the 26 wells considered contaminated were in two densely populated areas of the town. The study called for a long-term monitoring of the wells. While injection wells have been a solution that have been used in the past, pipes in the inundated areas may have to be abandoned and salt water intrusion may corrode older pipes further inland.

“Freshwater systems are the most vulnerable to climate change” IPCC

With all of Long Island dependent on the ground water system above which it rests, it is critical for Long Island to plan for resilience of water resources and systems now and absorb risks of climate change. SEA LEVEL RISE AND SALT WATER INTRUSION Salt water intrusion into the region’s coastal aquifers is an impending threat, and especially a threat in the Long Island coastal aquifer system. Long Islands

12 National Climate Assessment. Northeast. 2014. <http://nca2014.globalchange. gov/report/regions/northeast> 13 26 wells tested high for chloride concentrations of 50 mg/l. concentrations of more than 40mg/l were indicative of salt water intrusion. (Trembley et al. 1973) Wells that tested high had a very high Chloride concentration in the range of 200 mg/l – 13,800 mg/l. Which probably represents wells in the cone of diffusion. (Anderson, 1976)

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Hydrogeology of the Aquifer Long Island’s Aquifer is a federally designated sole source aquifer. This means that the geography of Long Island, largely depends for water on the aquifers on which it rests. More than 96% 14 of the 375 Gallons of water consumed by Long Island is sourced from its aquifers. Long Island has three main aquifers, the Magothy Aquifer, Lloyd Aquifer and the Upper Glacial Aquifer.

of Nassau County and half of Suffolk County. The Magothy Aquifer attains a maximum thickness of 1100 Feet. (Department of Environmental Conservation, 2016).. Water flows downward and then upward and into Long Island Sound or the Atlantic Ocean. A very small portion movers through the Raritan confining unit and enters the Lloyd aquifer. The Magothy aquifer is largely unconfined.

The water system is a fresh water bubble surrounded by salt water. The aquifers of Long Island are bounded by freshsaltwater interfaces, the bedrock surface, the water table, and the streams. (USGS, 2010)

The Lloyd Aquifer – The deepest and oldest of Long Islands Aquifers, ranges in thickness from 0 to 500 feet. At its deepest location under Long Islands surface it is at the depth of 1800 feet. The water contained in the Lloyd aquifer is about 6000 years old. The NYS DEC establishes a moratorium on this body of water to maintain it for future generations, and not many wells tap into this aquifer. (Department of Environmental Conservation, 2016) Long Island’s water system is special because, such a large-scale aquifer that can be a source of public water supply system can only exist in an area, which has remnants of high yield glacial sediment. Coarse glacial sediments have a large capacity to transmit and store water, unlike bedrock or finer-textured silt and clay deposits that underlie other areas. (ClimAID, 2010) Long Island is geologically prime for collecting and storing water, and needs to take care of its aquifer systems considering rising energy demands and urban development on Long Island. The major recharge zone for the Magothy and Lloyd aquifers is along the center of the island separated by moraines. Precipitation infiltrates through the porous soil. Long Islands porous soil has an immature stream development and therefore a large percent of the precipitation reaches the aquifer. Most streams on Long Island are fed by groundwater (Proceedings of the Conference on Water Quality on Long Island, 1993)

A NOTE ON LONG ISLAND’S WATER The water is quite pure with about 50 mg/liters, or 50 ppm, of total dissolved solids, TDS. The water is corrosive (due to its acidic pH of 4.4 to 6.1. (Proceedings of the Conference on Water Quality on Long Island, 1993) The water that is consumed on Long Island is quite old. The age of water at the surface of the Magothy aquifer is 10 years old and reached 500 years at the base. The oldest Lloyd aquifer is 1000 years old at the groundwater divide and reaches 8000 years near the freshwater-saltwater interface beneath the Atlantic Ocean. The Upper Glacial Aquifer – An unconfined aquifer that lies directly underneath the ground surface, and was formed during the last Ice Age. Water moves laterally to streams and shoreline in this aquifer or moves downward through the Upper Glacial Aquifer to the lower aquifers.


The Magothy Aquifer – The largest of the aquifers. 75% of Long Island’s drinking water is drawn from this aquifer. Consists of sand deposits, alternating with clay and provides water for most

Illustration of Long Islands Aquifers Source: USGS

WATERSHEDS OF LONG ISLAND 1. North Shore Long Island Watershed 2. South Shore Long Island Watershed 3. Peconic Estuary Watershed There are 67 impaired waterways on Long Island, present almost equally in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Age of Water in Long Islands Aquifers. The Llyod Aquifer is the oldest and deepest containing water 8000 years old and located at a depth of 1500 ft below sea level. Source: USGS

14. USGS Estimated Use of Water in the United States by County (2010)

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


LONG ISLANDERS AND THEIR TAKE ON THEIR WATER Due to multiple government agencies overseeing the water on Long Island and no agency taking ownership of the problem, a series of water and environment advocacy organizations have arisen in Long Island. Even Long Islanders are becoming aware of the fragility of their water source, as observed by a recently conducted poll by The Nature Conservancy says that two-thirds of Long Islanders agree that we must reverse declining water quality. On the East End, the five towns of Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island, Southampton and East Hampton, by an overwhelming majority ( >75%) voted for the extension of the Community Preservation fund, protecting open space and farmland until 2050. There are more than 10,000 acres currently preserved under the Community Preservation Fund and was created in 1999. 15 16 In the Long Island 2035 visioning workshop conducted by RPA, NYMTC and Sustainable LI, in collaboration with Nassau and Suffolk County authorities, nearly all groups prioritized open space. In fact some groups choose to preserve all open space currently existing. (RPA, Sustainable LI, NYMTC, UTRC, Stonybrook University, 2009)

Water Advocacy and Research Organizations on Long Island The Nature Conservancy The Clean Water Partnership Citizens Campaign for the Environment Long Island Pine Barrens Society Water for Long Island Long Island Moms for Clean Water Grassroots Environmental Education Sierra Club Long Island Seatuck Environmental Center Peconic Institute Coastal Research and Educational Society of Long Island Citizens Campaign for the Environment Connecticut Fund for the Environment Defend H2O Group for the East End Long Island Sound Study New York State Marine Education Association North Shore Land Alliance North Fork Environmental Council Peconic Baykeeper Perfect Earth Project The Pine Barrens Society Splash Save The Great South Bay Save The Sound

Long Island Land Use Map Source: LIRPC Report

15. A Monumental Victory for Long Island Water Quality. < http://www.nature. org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/newyork/places-preserves/ community-preservation-fund-passes.xml> 16. Community Preservation Fund. Southampton, Long Island. < http://www.>


Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Assessing Climate Threats, Vulnerabilities and Risks to Long Islands Aquifers Urbanization “Long Island has developed as a patchwork of regulations and incentives, rules and restrictions that reflect local needs rather than regional concerns” Warren Strugatch, The New York Times, April 21st 2002


Development interests dominated local politics on Long Island and created a sprawling suburbia. These land use decisions from the 1930’s have highly impact the quality of water that lies beneath Long Island. Long Island consists of deep, highly permeable (porous) glacial deposits. Which means that the recharge rate through the ground is higher from precipitation, making land use a crucial indicator of the quality of water in the aquifers. With unregulated growth, no environmental considerations, a huge increase in impervious cover, blocking the only recharge through precipitation for the aquifer, and channeling polluted runoff, has led to precipitous degradation of water sources on Long Island over the decades. So much so that the residents are in consensus and are willing to work to protect their only source of water. The negative effects of urbanization on watersheds, water quality have been recognized for many years. Nitrogen loading is caused directly by human activity on the land and indirectly by land cover changes that affect the rates and concentrations at which nitrogen is transported through the system. (The Nature Conservancy, 2016)Today development continues to encroach on environmentally sensitive areas.

Proliferation of Brownfields and Superfund Sites Dating back to the 1950’s Long Islands brownfields date back to Pre World War II, the 1950’s and 1960’s. They were the sites of Long Islands waterfront and industrial development, ranging from metal fabricating plants to airplane hangars and defense industry factories. The adverse impact of chemicals and solvents and their impact on the environment were less understood then, and a lot of research remains today. (Sustainable Long Island, 2008) Long Island is lagging in the process of brownfield remediation in New York State. Long Island has the largest number of state and federal superfund sites numbering 254. Nassau County has 154 listed sites, the largest of any county in New York State. Hurricane Sandy caused the contamination of land along the south shore of the island, releasing petroleum and other chemical contaminants, adding to this is the challenge in cleaning up brownfield sites in Long Island is the cuts in funding for brownfield remediation work. To exacerbate the situation more in coastal Long Island brownfield sites, usually located in areas of high urban concentrations or near natural water bodies making saltwater intrusion, 17 followed by displacement of toxic contaminants, at brownfield an imminent danger.

Largest number of state and federal superfund sites



Sustainable Long Island

17. In brownfield sites water usually displaces the chemicals, salt water being heavier than fresh and it has a greater potential to displace chemicals. Hence with sea level rise there is a greater potential to displace contaminants.

Nitrification of the Aquifer and Algal Blooms The 1,100,000 unsewered homes on Long Island, failing Wastewater Treatment Plants, and the high use of fertilizers and pesticides in the agricultural industries, (which have thwarted all attempts to regulate their usage due to powerful lobbies), residents who are keen on fertilizing their lawns on Long Island are the main sources of Nitrates and nutrient contamination to the aquifer. (The Nature Conservancy, 2016) The Nitrates in the surface and most importantly the groundwater have reached dangerous levels, and this has had cascading effects across Long Island. Nitrate contamination in water was recognized as a problem way back in the 1940’s and has been studied extensively since. (Eckhardt, 1995) Algal Blooms, has been one of the big problems that have been in the news on Long Island. 18 19 20 21 22 Algal Blooms have been recorded as an issue as far back at 1985. Algal Blooms are brought on by nutrient rich agricultural runoff and high precipitation and are on the rise due to increasing agricultural runoff and climate change or in short, the extensive Nitrogen loading discussed in the previous paragraph. 23 Nitrogen Loading and recurring algal blooms in Long Island has reduced the Clam population by 93% in the South Shore Bay. The Bay once produces half of all the Clams consumed in the United States.24 Increases in heavy precipitation, will carry more 18. New York Times Query. < sitesearch/?action=click&contentCollection&region=TopBar&WT. nav=searchWidget&module=SearchSubmit&pgtype=Homepage#/ algal+bloom+long+island/since1851/allresults/2/. Accessed December 15th 2016. 19. Toxic Rust Tide Spreads Across Entire Peconic Estuary, Could be Lethal to Estuary’s Fish, Marine Life. Riverhead Local. < 2A21A854A3C7D3904907C8537EC581A1840E1D/33c1d874-593e-40dd-8d5f4fd382e4fa38.pdf> Accessed December 15th 2016. 20. Worry Over Long Island’s Waterways. Newsday. September 9th 2016. < https:// 0a4-eb95-4651-9962-8f553daaa8c0.pdf> Accessed December 15th 2016. 21. Toxic Algae in Fresh Water Lakes, Ponds Rising on Long Island. CBS New York. May 16th 2016. < B52A21A854A3C7D3904907C8537EC581A1840E1D/c00dc280-61ef-4b58-8e2adbdb4a88b2ce.pdf> Accessed December 15th 2016. 22. Long Island Sees a Crisis as it Floats to the Surface. New York Times. June 5th 2015. <> Accessed December 15th 2016. 23. Herman, Rob. "Toxic Algae Blooms Are on the Rise." Scientific American Blog Network. Scientific American, 07 Sept. 2016. Web. 24 Sept. 2016.<http://blogs.> 24. Long Island Sees a Crisis as it Floats to the Surface. New York Times. June 5th 2015. <> Accessed December 15th 2016.

nutrients to groundwater bodies. Excessive Nitrogen in the groundwater is then circulated to the surface water, causing the nuisance of algal blooms, and increase aquatic weed growth. This precludes people from swimming and fishing, destroys natural habitat and coastal marshland, and reduces storm resiliency. (LINAP, 2016)

Degradation of Coastal Marshland

Over the years Long Island has lost a third of its coastal marshland due the harmful impact of Nitrogen pollution. From the year 1974-2008 Long Island lost almost 3000 acres of its coastal marshland. This acreage accounted for between 10 -100 % loss of individual marshes. (NYS DEC, 2015) The coastal marshlands are a critical line of defense not only against storms and flood but salt water intrusion. The freshwater saltwater barrier moves closer to the land, with degradation of the marshlands. The high level of nitrates in the water, triggers algal growth which then degrades coastal marshland. The coastal marshlands, which previously performed the function of purifying a large amount of the water and alleviating the effect of storm surge and saltwater intrusion are all now set into imbalance. This vicious cycle shall reinforce the pollution levels in the aquifer, unless stopped before the tipping point is reached.

Public Health Risks due to Nitrates and Volatile Organic Compounds How are they a threat to human health? Nitrates are dangerous to humans at levels of more than 10 mg/l and has severe impacts to ecosystems at levels at low as 2 mg/l. If Long Island does not take up course to limit nitrate contamination to its aquifers, within the next 4 decades, the upper glacial aquifer shall surpass the limits of 10 mg/l surpassing EPA limits. High Nitrogen content in waters produce Cyanobacteria which under the sun's influence produce Cyanotoxins which are unstable and hard to detect, making them a threat to public health. Volatile Organic Compounds are generally found in the areas below which they are used and will generally be detected in suburban area wells. (Eckhardt, 1995) The source of volatile organic compounds is found in household cleaning supplies and industrial releases.

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


VOCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s at levels higher than determined Health Risk Levels may be harmful to the central nervous system, the kidneys or the liver. VOCs may also cause irritation when they contact the skin, or may irritate mucous membranes if they are inhaled. Some VOCs are known or suspected carcinogens (or cancer-causers). (VOCs: Volatile Organic Chemicals in Private Drinking Water Wells, n.d.)


of Long Island is developed Long Island Index 2005 (small-large lots + commercial/industrial + roadways, misc)


increase in Nitrogen Levels in Suffolk County

Hypoxia in waters kill marine life Source: NY Times

Long Island Index 2005


Water Districts "Creating

boundaries for a natural resources that has no boundaries" LICF


of Long Island depends on the Aquifer Systems

27% Loss in marshland 1974-2008 NYS DEC



million gallons of freshwater is withdrawn every day USGS


Gallons of Water Per Day is the average use per person

Populations Density on Long Island Source: USGS



state and federal Superfund Sites US EPA

55 Water districts of Long Island Source: USGS


Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Governance and Management of Water Resources What people and governments often forget is that the water cycles have no concern for current political and administrative boundaries. Watersheds cut across multiple national/ state/ city borders making it harder to plan ecologically. Even regional water governance bodies and institutions do not align themselves to the boundaries of the watershed. The issues illustrated above cry out for comprehensive solution for the declining aquifer, that would encompass all Long Island, but there is no one regional governance body that can oversee work on the Island. The call for regional governance bodies have been around in Long Island since the 1980’s. Here’s two quotes from a New York Times article “As Problems Grow, so does the push for Regional Government” on December 16th 1986. 25

''We must find a way to govern ourselves as a total, interrelated and interdependent community rather than as a series of independent and competing townships, each with its own bureaucracy,'' said John C. Bierwirth, chairman of the Grumman Corporation, Long Island's largest employer.


The Long Island Regional Planning Board, established in 1965, an act under the State Legislature, partly bridged the gap. 26 The planning board morphed into the Long Island Regional Planning Council in 2008.27 The Planning Council came out with a visioning report in 2009 for the year 2035, which focused on development and transportation on the Island. 28

The 2035 Sustainable Strategies report by LIRPC calls out “Abundant and inexpensive water supply from the Aquifer” as an asset, and “Contamination and over pumping” as a threat. Back in 2010 the same plan like its precedents called out the need for a Water Resources Management Board which still hasn’t come into existence. There are currently 60 institutions who currently or in the past have planned for Long Island. 29 On Nassau County along there are 40 separate entities that distribute drinking water. 30 The multitude of agencies and regulatory bodies, 55 water districts, hundreds of non-community water districts and the thousands of private well owners make it hard to prepare and implement a comprehensive plan, despite all Long Islanders drawing from one single water source. (AECOM, RPA, 2013)

''It is nice to think of some centralized, overarching authority that could guide the development of Long Island,'' said the president of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Dr. John H. Marburger. ''But I believe that it would be very, very difficult to realize.'' Philip S. Gutis. As Problems Grow, so does the Push for Regional Government. New York Times. December 27th 1986. < nyregion/as-problems-grow-so-does-the-push-for-regional-government.html> Accessed December 15th 2016. Long Island @Work. Regional Planning Moves Closer to Reality. The New York Times. April 12th 2002. <> Accessed December 15th 2016. Long Island Regional Planning Council Website. <> Accessed December 15th 2016. The Visioning Report was made by the study team comprising of Regional Plan Association, University Transportation Research Center, Sustainable Long Island, Vision Long Island for the Long Island Regional Planning Council. Long Island Regional Planning Council - LinksandResources.aspx Long Island Clean Water Partnership. Frequently Asked Questions. < http://www.>

Investigating Options : Comprehensive Urban and Ecological Plan for Water Resilience on Long Island

Open Space& Development

Regional deficiencies require regional solutions and Long Island lacks an up to date comprehensive water management strategy. The multitude of issues faced by the aquifer systems of Long Island calls for a tenacious and renewed resolve to restore the nature of Long Island through a comprehensive urban and ecological plan prioritizing water resilience. There is a need for a framework and set of strategy as no one regulatory action can solve every problem related to water quality and quantity in coastal aquifers. This plan acknowledges that to breakdown the issues and provide a comprehensive plan, the recommendations are broken down into the four sectors of Open Space and Conservation, Water Systems, Wastewater Systems and expresses the need for Water Governance and Management body in Long Island.

Water Systems

Wastewater Systems

The main objective of the plan is towards building a long-term vision, propose investments and policies to ensure and secure Long Island’s water supply for all residents. The people, local governments, watershed organisations and residents have great power, interest and ability to make a difference in the environment.

Water Management and Governance

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Open Space and Development 1. Remediate Brownfields 6. Mandate Water and Superfund Sites Efficient Native Landscapes for residential and commercial 2. Increase Open Space – properties increasing recharge of water into the aquifer 7. Advocate and Incentivize Practice of 3. Restore Coastal Sustainable Agriculture Marshland green urban Stormwater infrastructure systems 4. Focus growth along the Long Island Rail Road

Preservation of land helps Long Island protect its drinking water, critical environmental habitats and a general quality of life. Fragmented real estate development on Long Island has over the decades contributed to an increasingly contaminated ground water supply. Research shows that 7 – 12% in impervious land cover triggers decreases in biological integrity. (Steven R. Corsi, 2010) Impervious land covers decrease the amount of water percolating to the ground and reduces the quality (pollutants collected on impervious surfaces are washed into lakes and streams) of water that does percolate to the ground. A study in 1995, that monitored 90 wells were screened within 50ft of the water table, in five different areas in Nassau and Suffolk county to assess the impact of land use on the quality of water on Long Island. The different land uses were, suburban land which were sewered (more than 22 years at the time of the study), suburban land sewered for less than 8 years, suburban land without a regional sewer system, agricultural land and undeveloped forest land. The water was tested for human contaminants such as nitrates, alkalinity, boron, synthetic solvents, and pesticides. (Concentrations were high in the 3-suburban land uses and the agricultural land) The results demonstrated that population density, amount of agricultural, commercial, and high and medium density residential land around specified areas of wells can be reliable predictors of presence of contaminants in the water. (Eckhardt, 1995)

Ground water in the water table aquifer flows at the average rate of 1ft/day and moves less than ½ a mile in 6 years. Hence the ground water quality observed today reflects the effects of population and land use from the previous decade. (Eckhardt, 1995). Long Islands are currently polluting their future water supply. Long Island is in a state of drought. Currently , Long Island is experiencing the largest drop in rainfall in nearly 15 years. From September 2015 – October 2016 Rainfall was 60% below normal, and Long Island is officially in a condition of moderate to severe drought. (USGS Drought Monitor, 2016) (Water for Long Island, 2016) This means that water tables in the aquifer are going to reduce. Increasing the amount of recharge is a long-term priority for Long Island, as it can only expect to face more extreme drought conditions according to the IPCC projections. The quality and quantity of drinking water in the aquifer is directly affected by the treatment of land on Long Island. If water in the aquifer is depleted or contaminated this will lead to Long Island having to invest heavily in drinking water treatment infrastructure. These recommendation deals with creating new conservation zones, and expanding existing conservation zones, and zoning & land use regulations for new developments with the goal of limiting contamination in the Aquifer system and increasing recharge into the aquifer.

“Downtowns, downtowns, downtowns” LI 2035 Visioning Group

5. Invest and build green urban Stormwater infrastructure systems Long Island Open Space Map Source: LIRPC Report


Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Conservation Efforts in Long Island Conservation of land, historically, has been supported in Suffolk County through voter-supported programs in the 1970’s. However, Nassau County has not been able to conserve land at the same pace or quantity as Suffolk. - The Sole Source Aquifer Protection Act created 17 Special Groundwater Protection Areas - There are currently over 65,000 acres of conserved lands on Long Island, with the DEC having expended almost $2 Billion. - Long Island in 2010 had a goal of preserving 37,000 acres of land in the coming decade. The 37,000 acres along with the previously preserved 62,000 odd acres of land would render 1/10th of the Islands mass be preserved as open space and farmland. (Long Island Index, 2013) It is yet to meet this goal. Existing Tools for Open Space Preservation in Long Island 1. Laws under the Special Groundwater Management Areas. - Local land use regulation within a special groundwater protection area - All Plans must state their water quality objectives and protect ecological values of the special groundwater protection area. 2. Transfer of Development Rights - The Pine Barrens, Suffolk County designated for protection under the 1993 Long Island Pine Barrens Protection Act by New York State Legislature is a great example of Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) in use. The Joint Planning commission created under the act has authority over land use review, permitting and enforcement. So far, the program has protected over 1000 acres for permanent conservation with the TDR program.


3. Open Space Incentive Zoning - is a provision that can be created in the zoning code to help implement various open space preservation goals. With this zoning provision developers, can opt for higher densities in residential and commercial projects in return for permanently protecting open space or resources like nature preserves, watersheds, environmentally sensitive areas, active farms, trails, and other historic, recreational and cultural resources.

Long Island Pine Barrens Source:

Preserving open space has many functions, primarily securing the quality of drinking water supply, but also comes with multiple co benefits of providing habitat for biodiversity, and land for farming and recreational opportunities. 1. Remediate Brownfields and Superfund Sites In 2014, Long Island had the largest number of state and federal Superfund sites, numbering 254, in New York State. Nassau County has the largest concentration of any other county in New York State with over 154 listed sites. The remediation of these sites is lagging years behind what is acceptable. Many sites have been known about for decades and are still waiting for final cleanup. Each year that a site fails to be cleaned up, the groundwater plumes can spread further and deeper from the original source, polluting millions of additional groundwater. Timely attention to these sites is grossly inadequate. Even when the land at a contaminated site is cleaned up, the contaminated groundwater plume caused by the site may be left in place, without cleanup and where it can continue to spread through the groundwater system. Case Study - Bethpage, Nassau County is one instance of toxic contamination to ground water supply. The three groundwater plumes stretched one mile from the superfund site and are currently treated by multiple wellhead treatment systems. On August 3rd 2016, Governor Cuomo recently held Northman Gunthrop and the US Navy “potentially

responsible parties” for conducting an expedited cleanup of the site. The report released by NYS DEC assesses full hydraulic containment of the groundwater contamination emanating from the site. Total project cost is estimated to be $262 million including operations and maintenance. While the project will be providing treated water to residents of Massapequa, there will be disruptions in the Massapequa reserve, more importantly 19 MGD of freshwater from the sole source aquifer will be discharged to the Ocean. The project is estimated to take 200 years, equating to 730 billion gallons of water from the sole source aquifer that shall be discharged to the Ocean. While the responsible parties proceed to clean up the contamination, the groundwater plume spreads south – southeast into deeper and deeper parts of the aquifer. Challenge - The cleanup of Superfund and Brownfields must be completed on previously appropriated funds before the year of 2013 and funding for a Brownfield Opportunity Area, which gives incentives for local community groups and governments to undertake the cleanup of brownfield sites was not appropriated funds in the previous year. Challenge – Timelines to clean up brownfields can range from a few years to centuries. The average time it takes to for a Brownfield Clean Up Program to receive a Certificate of Completion is 2. 8 years. However as illustrated in the Bethpage Case Study remediation efforts are estimated to take 200 years. Treatment of groundwater to remove pollution is very expensive and is not guaranteed to be free of human or mechanical failure. Effective prevention of groundwater pollution is a far less expensive and much healthier alternative.

reassess and upgrade its benchmarks for containment strategies with all contaminated sites located within the 500-year floodplain, and areas vulnerable to hurricanes, heavy precipitation, erosion, tornadoes etc., to prevent potential human and environmental contact through the displacement of toxic materials. ` - Developing innovations in Ecological Remediation to prevent a rise in chemical bulk storage sites. Ecological remediation provides ecosystem benefits, economic benefits through rise in property values and natural flood control management. Opportunity - Implement brownfield remediation using methods like Phytotechnology (Phytotechnology is another new science that will help us in restoring the land to a natural state. It is an emerging technology that uses plants to remove, extract and immobilize contaminants in the land.) (EPA, 2009) - Capping of brownfields for remediation should not be an option above a sole source aquifer. - Develop brownfields to support environmental and public health goals so that the benefits are compounded. - Offer incentives for developers to clean and environmentally develop brownfields through site assessment grants and environmental insurance programs - Prioritize cleanup of brownfields that currently contaminate ground water resources. Opportunity - Brownfield Opportunity Areas – Technical Assistance and Grants. 90% of total eligible cost. - Environmental Restoration Program

- Monitor the water quality around brownfields and superfund sites for toxic contaminants. Data is key to conducting a comprehensive resiliency plan for securing drinking water supply in Long Island. Especially so for Brownfield, as cleanup is expensive and has a long project timeline. - Upgrade benchmarks and prioritize projects based on vulnerability to sea level rise and contamination potential to the aquifer. In view of the increasingly developing accuracy of data on sea level rise and effects of climate change the US EPA needs to

Brownfields to Greenfields Source: Sustainable Long Island

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


2. Conserve and Expand Aquifer Recharge Areas This conservation of recharge land is critical to maintaining Long Island's drinking water supply. With increasing urbanization, impervious land cover becomes a key measure of decreasing water quality. Increasing impervious surfaces trigger decreasing water quality. (Arnold Jr, 1996) - Conduct a feasibility study for expanding the Special Groundwater Expansion Areas. Especially in Nassau County. Expand the LI Pine Barrens through use of previously employed Transfer of Development Right tools.


Restore Coastal Marshland

The coastal marshlands of the Northeast were formed as the last post glacial sea level rise slowed, 40007000 years ago (Long Island Regional Planning Commission, 2010). (Hartig, 2002) However, the salt marshes of Long Island have decreased by half since the 1920’s due to regional sea level rise and anthropogenic forces. Not only are coastal marshlands a great natural protection from flood and storm surge, they also help in alleviating salt water intrusion. The degradation of the coastal marshland brings the freshwater- saltwater barrier closer to land, contaminating wells on the shores. ' Opportunity – New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program. In Long Island 21 communities on the South Shore and 1 on the North Shore and are eligible to receive up to $250 million to construct and implement projects in NYRCR Plans.

Aquifer Recharge Map. Natural lands have a high rate of water recharge (dark blue) into the aquifers.

4. Building a Walkable, Livable Sustainable City This recommendation stems from the fact that, with increasing urbanization, impervious land cover becomes a key measure of decreasing water quality. (Arnold Jr, 1996). When all new development is targeted in downtowns and along the Long Island Railroad, the space that hard to access becomes ripe for conservation. This comes with multiple co-benefits of creating compact walkable communities, and creating room for economic growth, focusing wastewater and water infrastructure services and preserves open space outside of the development zone, and providing easy access to pristine natural lands. - Design guidelines for all lots on Long Islands and Strict regulations on lot coverage - Promote mixed use development at downtown and around train stations. - All developments over 5000 sq. should have an Environmental Impact Statement - Mandate and provide incentives for all buildings to harvest rainwater to recharge aquifers. Replicated citywide this could cut off all toxic runoff into recharge basins and water bodies.

5. Incentivize and Implement Green Infrastructure and Urban Storm Infrastructure for Local Municipalities to tackle non – point source pollution Green Infrastructure Is known or solving urban and climatic challenges by building with nature, this strategy is very much in alignment with the plans goal. - Require all new developments over 5000 sq.ft. to have groundwater recharge areas and developments over 20,000 sq.ft. to conduct an EIS and provide ecological benefits to LI through implementation of green infrastructure in its surroundings - Decrease Impervious Coverage in Urban Areas through Urban Green Stormwater Strategies Opportunity - New York Rising Community Construction Program

Before 1974, some 10,000 acres of salt marshes on Long Island were destroyed.

Source: USGS

The Nature Conservancy

Urban Green Stormwater Infrastructure Source: Clean Water Nashville

Pine Barrens

Source: Brookhaven National Laboratory


Coastal Marshland

Source: The Nature Conservancy

Urban Aquifer Recharge Pits Source: EPA

Integrated Stormway Management along a greenway corridor, which would improve water quality and bay ecology, through the strategic deployment of marches and dikes. However the Tetra Tech team was given far less funds than they hoped and are now focusing in low and middle income neighborhoods. Source: Living with the Bay, Rebuild by Design

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


6. Water Efficient Landscape Design Guidelines for Residential and Commercial Properties - Water efficient landscape design also comes with multiple co benefits to the owner such as savings through labor, fertilizer, herbicides, and prevention of agricultural runoff, noise, fumes, cracking of pavements and foundations, and generation of yard waste. (Hawken, Lovins, & Lovins, 2013) - Incentives for homeowners and commercial building owners to employ native landscapes which help in conserving water and remove the need to use fertilizers. - Incentivize recycling of greywater and stormwater for non-potable uses - Capture storm water at the individual lot level - Mandate and provide incentives for all buildings to harvest rainwater to recharge aquifers. Replicated citywide this could cut off all toxic runoff into recharge basins and water bodies. - Limit Fertilizer and Pesticide related contamination by banning use of pesticides on residential and commercial properties

8. Advocate and Incentivize Practice of Sustainable Agriculture Pesticides have been detected in Long Island’s wells since 1979. The slow breakdown of these chemical fertilizers means that contamination persists in the aquifers years after their usage. While there have been, regulations implemented on agricultural sectors, pesticide use in the residential and commercial sectors have risen. Keeping in mind that the agricultural economy is a key component of Long Island, pesticides for non-critical uses should be banned. Conservative use of fertilizers, use of efficient irrigation systems should be promoted. CASE STUDY - A Long Island Farmer's practice of Sustainable Agriculture

“If there’s one lesson my family has learned in our years in this area, it is that working with, not against, this unique landscape can make a farmer’s job easier.” Tom Wickham, Farmer on Long Island Farmers use pesticides for three main elements, Phosphorous, Nitrogen and Potassium. Since Phosphorous and Potassium stick to Long Islands soil, only Nitrogen is key. However, farmers, to ensure that the farms are not lacking in this element, overuse nitrogen fertilizers. The key to using Nitrogen fertilizer is timing of application and the second is to use fertilizers that release Nitrogen based on soil temperature and prevents against leaching and runoff. (Wickham, 2014)

Native Landscape Transformation Source: Long Beach Water Authority



1. Conserve and Advocate for Responsible Water Use 2. Small Scale Water Resource Development in Areas of Contaminated Water Supply 3. Explore Augmentation of Water Resources with NYC 4. Conduct a Cost Benefit Analysis of Engineered Solutions to Restore Long Islands Aquifers

- Curb Pesticide Usage and prescribe fertilizer application practices - Enact a local law banning/limiting use of fertilizers on residential and commercial sites - Agriculture based on Stewardship - Expand Cornell Cooperative Extension, Suffolk County’s Agricultural Stewardship Program to all Long Island - Installing rainwater collection systems (rain fed collection system) Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


1. Conserve and Advocate for Responsible Water Use Currently, Long Islanders are paying less for water than 95 % of the rest of the country. Long Islands water system has long been at threat from contamination and over withdrawal of water but Long Islands water pricing does little to encourage conservation. Water consumption varies from 100 GPD to 1,000 GPD per capita and is heavily used during the summer months. Nassau county residents average at a water use of 146 GPD compared to the 122 GPD of Suffolk county. This is much higher than the national average of 80100 GPD. This increase in water use is attributed to excessive watering of landscape. If excessive watering of landscape was limited, then the per capita use of water could be reduced to 100 GPD (AECOM, RPA, 2013) Water rates could be commensurate with the environmental cost to the system and amount of water used, promoting conservation. An initial start to this could be to design bills in such a way that promotes the conservation of water. This has already been done with energy systems and it could be the low hanging fruit of water conservation on Long Island. In the Governmental level there is a Water withdrawal regulation, requiring people to obtain permits if more than 100,000 gallons of water is withdrawn / day from a surface, ground water or combination thereof for private water supplies Raising awareness about the true cost of water, shall prompt a conservative use of water and communicate to stakeholders the risk of having a vulnerable water supply system, that is exacerbated by climate change, shall be key to the process of sustaining Long Islands water. - Prescribe water efficient fixtures in all residential and commercial properties. - Penalize over consumption of water. Charge Water per gallon. Place limitations on Non-potable water uses

2. Diversify Water Infrastructure Through Small Scale Water Resource Development in Areas of Contaminated Water Supply Explore the potential of constructing smaller, more local water supply and distribution systems, that are then connected to a centralized grid as a strategic response to a resilient water supply in the light of climate change. Long Island enjoys a constant precipitation of 3-4 inches every month and an annual precipitation of 44 inches, which is a resource that can be intercepted before it reaches the contaminated aquifer. The development of small scale water infrastructure to replace and connect to existing legacy water infrastructure could be an incremental process, that is an ongoing effort when remediation efforts are being carried out at site.

“Diversification implies incorporating a broad range of source options within a water system, so that if one source is disrupted, others can help to compensate” Global Water Forum, in Understanding resilience implications for the water sector. (Staub, 2011)

3. Explore Augmentation of Water Resources with NYC Plan for redundancy in terms of powering the water supply and filtration systems and building interconnections between water systems. Existing or new interconnections shall be a solution in the future, where there is an increased frequency of extreme climate events, and these interconnections shall allow for balancing risk and resource. We should explore the potential water supply connections between the different watershed regions, and administrative boundaries to reduce the vulnerability that comes from depending on a single system. This shall involve determining alternate water supply sources and distribution networks for the region. Previously the NYC DEC has explored the solution of connecting to Long Islands aquifers, as a standby supply of water, while the Delaware aqueduct was being repaired. This was not carried forward as both parties concerned could not come to an agreement.

4. Conduct a Cost Benefit Analysis of Engineered Solutions to Restore Long Islands Aquifers Scientific monitoring and assessment to capture the dynamics of the freshwater saltwater interface, as the prevalence of saltwater can vary greatly from location to location is key to identifying the causes of saltwater intrusion. But it is clear from past research that Reducing withdrawal and locating future wells further inland shall help counter salt water intrusion. Protective Natural Conservation strategies are also key. Engineering techniques should—at least initially—be passed over in favour of monitoring, assessment, and regulatory solutions. Not all methods listed below are necessarily appropriate or desirable in Long Island. To determine the suitability of any given measure would require further research and consultation.

" Conservation is the best reservoir" Water Managers Water Conservation Advocacy 28

Source: Author

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Wastewater Wastewater is the largest land based contributor of Nitrogen. (The Nature Conservancy, 2016) Long Island hopes that its sewage ocean outfall proposal which directs water away from Long Island sound into the ocean, shall help preclude its water engineers from treating the water before it is released, but this shall create economic repercussions for the rest of long island manifesting through algal bloom beaches.

1. Explore and Implement Pilot Projects for Reuse of Greywater for Urban Reuse and Agriculture 2. Conduct a cost benefit analysis of building climate resilient, energy efficient and flood proofed Wastewater Treatment Plants in Areas of High Density in high density urban areas of Long Island. 3. Incentivize and Replace Long Islands Septic Systems with alternate septic systems or living machines

1. Explore and Implement Pilot Projects for Reuse of Greywater for Urban Reuse and Agriculture Reuse of water has not been considered by a large majority of the utilities, with growing scarcity of water, communities need to establish their water needs and reduce their consumption of water, through conservation and make efficient use of water. Water reuse can reduce the dependence on conventional water supply sources.

“Water recycling is a critical element for managing our water resources. Through water conservation and water recycling, we can meet environmental needs and still have sustainable development and a viable economy.” — Felicia Marcus, Regional Administrator US EPA Region IX

2. Explore feasibility of building Wastewater Treatment Plants in Areas of High Density 75% of Suffolk County is unsewered. Tertiary treatment for Wastewater Treatment Plants can help add a new stock to the aquifer. - Extend sewer system for projected growth areas - Upgrade WWTP to be resilient to storm surge, floods, sea level rise - Upgrade WWTPs to meet future capacity, improve treatment and energy efficiency - Sustainability at WWTP – Wastewater Biosolids (byproduct of co-generation) - When properly treated, sewage sludge from wastewater treatment plants can be transformed into bio solids which are nutrient rich organic materials. - Bio solids produced at co-generation facilities can be recycled for strip mine reclamation, agriculture and community gardening.

Newtown Creek WWTP, NYC Source: NYC DEC

Alternate Septic System



Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


3. Incentivize and Replace Long Islands Septic Systems with alternate septic systems or living machines Long Islands 1,100,000 unsewered households are the primary source of nitrogen pollution to is Aquifer System. The Nitrogen loading issue in Long Islands Aquifer calls for alternate sewer systems, with incentives to homeowners to periodically replace and clean their septic systems. NYS DEC needs to explore how we can target 1,100,000 onsite septic systems for assessment and replacement. Prioritizing areas with high water table and advocating adoption of alternate septic systems to all homeowners shall be key tenets of this study. - All new development on Long Island must recycle and reuse its grey water and employ alternate septic tank systems that have continued operations and maintenance planning - Mandate regular pump outs of the Septic system - Pilot and Incentivize adoption of Living Machine Systems for residential and commercial businesses

Case Study - Living Machine


A method developed by Dr. John Todd, A living machine is a manmade filtration system. A living machine uses plants and animals in its treatment processes (e.g. sedimentation, adsorption, nitrification, and denitrification, volatilization, and anaerobic and aerobic decomposition)When managed properly living machines can be used to treat wastewater on site, eliminate chemicals considerably reduce energy costs, and avoid the installation of public infrastructure. The system remains in operation for two decades, relatively high compared to a basic septic tank system which needs to be pumped out every 2 years on average. Living Machines Inc describes the living machine being capable of tertiary treatment, costs less to operate than conventional systems when used for tertiary treatment and doesn’t typically require chemicals that are harmful to the environment as a part of its treatment process. Application – The living machine system is capable of treating municipal and some industrial wastewater. As

with most treatment systems using plants it requires a larger footprint than conventional systems, however its aesthetic appeal make it and ideal system for homes and small scale businesses and areas that oppose traditional treatment operations based on aesthetics of smell and appearance. Several large-scale systems have been constructed, the largest of which can handle 80,000 gallons per day (GPD). However, the process requires a greenhouse for operation in the cold weather of more temperate climates. Cost – The living machines come at a competitive cost compared to conventional wastewater treatment systems for volumes upto 600,000 GPD (Living Machines, Inc., 2001. Web Site:, 2001) (U.S. EPA, 2001. The “Living Machine”, 2001) Operations – Operations are similar to conventional wastewater treatment with a few additional requirements like cleaning inlet, outlet, removing and disposing sludge, cleaning the screen and tank, routine harvesting to promote plant growth, removal of plant growth, management of fish and snails and mosquitos (if applicable). Students at Stony Brook Universities have set up a living machine on the Southampton campus. Opportunity – New York State Center for Clean Water Technology is testing a new septic system that could reduce the amount of Nitrogen released into the groundwater by as much as 95% and comes at a cost of $10,000 for a residential property.

Governance How do we bring together political fiefdoms and local governments that aim to maintain their autonomy? The answer could be a body that collaborates with Federal, State and County Governments and the multitude of Long Islands research, advocacy and planning organisations. This body shall work with the NYSDEC and collaborates with the various Long Island Advocacy, research and planning organizations.

1. Form a Regional Resilience Collaborative with the Research, Governance, Planning and Advocacy Organizations in Long Island.

Living Machine Diagram Source: Living Machine Inc

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Duties of the Long Island Department of Institutions of Long Island Water Resilience i) Long Island Regional Planning Council 1. Explore potential governance structure and (LIRPC) alliances that shall allow for a resilient, redundant and interconnected water supply system. 2. Amending and planning key legislature ii) Pine Barrens Society regarding disposal/ treatment of wastewater, conservation and reuse of water, conservation of iii) Long Island Commission for Aquifer land, re-evaluating the value of Long Islands water, Protection (LICAP) – Bi – County, comes up with the at the federal, state and local level shall be crucial to annual state of the aquifer report, and a groundwater adaptation to climate change and addressing current resources management plan. and future realities. 3. Promoting / incentivizing coastal or iv) Long Island Groundwater Research Institutegroundwater recharge lands shall be a progressive groundwater modeling, geochemical studies, adaptation legislation to protect natural systems for groundwater impacts on coastal environments, human sustenance. bioremediation and biodegradation of pollutants. 4. Relocating vulnerable infrastructure and development – steering development away from natural and water conservation areas and areas prone to constant damage due to climate change. 5. Investing in natural resources – ecosystem services through nature based solutions and resiliency planning


Financing The way infrastructure projects are financed must include resilience aspects. While funding to build and maintain critical infrastructure is not at all sufficient to address the needs, it still represents much more money than is currently allocated for climate change adaptation projects in general. By linking adaptation with infrastructure spending, there is more funding for adaptation while ensuring that infrastructure programs can withstand current and future hazards.

Opportunities Explore the potential for a state to incorporate new benefit streams, one such innovation is the state allocating and aggregating funds that improve resilience of infrastructure systems to a Bank/ Authority - Water Infrastructure Finance Innovations Authority (WIFIA) developed by the EPA that provides long term low cost loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. that would access funds from the state treasury and use those funds to support loans and other credit mechanisms for water projects. 1. Environmental Facilities Corporation provides grants to municipalities to fund water quality infrastructure. This is available for both drinking water and sewage treatment works (clean water) that protect and improve public health, and improve water quality. The grants will be administered by the NYS Department of Health. 2. Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds 3. Federal Funding Opportunities for Source Water Funds - EPA 4. Surtax Property Implementation- The East End pays lesser for sales tax

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Long Island only must look as far as Brooklyn and Queens to foretell the future of their aquifers. Investing in our water future now will yield dividends that are incalculable, and most certainly critical. On the other hand, the cost of running out of adequate water supply is incalculable. It is critical to plan for adaptation, mitigation and resilience now, for Long Island, as ground water systems generally respond more slowly to climate change than surface water systems, and we must work now to mitigate the actions in the past.


References AECOM, RPA. (2013). Cleaner Greener Long Island. Planning Report. Retrieved from http:// longisland/CGLI_Plan_FINAL_1.pdf American Water Works Association. (2016). State of the Water Industry Report Pg. 19. Retrieved from American Water Works Association: http://www.awwa. org/Portals/0/files/resources/water%20utility%20 management/sotwi/2016%20SOTWI%20Report.pdf Anderson, M. P. (1976). Evidence of Salt‐Water Intrusion in Southeastern Long Island. Ground Water, 14 (5), 315-319. Retrieved from gwol/pdf/762502235.PDF Arnold Jr, C. L. (1996). Impervious surface coverage: the emergence of a key environmental indicator. Journal of the American planning Association, 62(2), 243-258. ClimAID. (2010). Water Resources. (R. S. Stephen Shaw, Ed.) Responding to Climate Change in New York State. Department of Environmental Conservation. (2016). Long Islands Aquifers. Retrieved from New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation: http:// Dr. Heather Smith. (2012, September 16). Understanding resilience: Implications for the water sector. Retrieved from Global Water Forum : understanding-resilience-implications-for-the-watersector/ Eckhardt, D. A. (1995). Relation of Ground‐Water

Quality to Land Use on Long Island, New York. Retrieved from Ground Water: gwol/pdf/952964078.PDF EPA. (2009). Phytotechnologies. Retrieved December 15, 2016, from About Remediation Technologies: Phytotechnologies/cat/Overview/ Hartig, E. K. (2002). Anthropogenic and climatechange impacts on salt marshes of Jamaica Bay, New York City. Wetlands, 22(1), 71-89. Retrieved from readings_08/rafferty/hartig_et_al_2002.pdf Hawken, P., Lovins, A., & Lovins, L. (2013). Natural capitalism: The next industrial revolution. Routledge. IPCC. (2007). Climate Change 2007 – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. World Meteorological Organization, United Nations Environment Programme . Retrieved from ar4_wg2_full_report.pdf LINAP. (2016). Long Island Nitrogen Reduction Action Plan Scope. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Long Island Regional Planning Council, . Long Island: LINAP, NYSDEC. Retrieved 2016, from water_pdf/linapscope.pdf Long Island Regional Planning Commission. (2010). Sustainable Strategies for Long Island 2035. Retrieved from LI2035StrategiesReport.pdf

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Nicholls RJ, W. P. (2007). Coastal Systems and LowLying Areas in Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4_wg2_full_report. pdf NYS DEC. (2015). Long Islands Tidal Wetlands Trends Part 1. Retrieved from fish_marine_pdf/bmrwetlandstrends1.pdf Regional Plan Association, Sustainable Long Island, NYMTC, UTRC, Stonybrook University. (2009). Long Island 2035 Visioning Workshop. Retrieved from Schubert, C. E. (2003). Hydrogeologic Framework of Long Island's North Fork, Suffolk County, New York. Hydrogeologic Framework of the North Fork and Surrounding Areas, Long Island, New York. In Long Island Ground-Water Symposium, (p. 36). Retrieved from handle/1951/47945/schubert Shepard, C. C. (2012). Assessing future risk: quantifying the effects of sea level rise on storm surge risk for the southern shores of Long Island, New York. Natural Hazards, 60(2), 727-745. Retrieved from doc_mgr/443/Long_Island_SLR_on_Storm_Surge_ Risk_-_Shepard_et_al_2011.pdf Staub, M. &.-L.-G. (2011). Catalogue of European adaptive initiatives of the water sector to face climate change impacts. Steven R. Corsi, D. J. (2010). A Fresh Look at Road Salt: Aquatic Toxicity and Water-Quality Impacts on Local, Regional, and National Scales. Environmental Science & Technology, 44(19), 7376-7382. doi:10.1021/ es101333u


Stonybrook University. (1993). Proceedings of the Conference on Water Quality on Long Island. SUNY Stonybrook: The Center for Regional Policy Studies. Retrieved from cen514/info/LI/Groundwater.pdf

Appendix Sustainable Long Island. (2008). Long Island's Brownfields: An Urgent Problem. Retrieved from attach/f_d015377718180ba7a0f5db38e725f68aSLI08_ Brownfields_Web.pdf The Nature Conservancy. (2016). Modelling Nitrogen Source Loads on the North Shore of Long Island. Retrieved from https://www.conservationgateway. org/ConservationByGeography/NorthAmerica/ UnitedStates/edc/Documents/TNC%20REPORT%20 -%20Modeling%20nitrogen%20source%20loads%20 on%20the%20north%20shore%20of%20LI%2003-012016.pdf Tremblay, J. J. (1973). Salt water intrusion in the Summerside area, PEI. Ground Water, 11(2), 21-27. Retrieved from cle_WA8.pdf USGS. (2010). State of the Aquifer System. Retrieved from html USGS Drought Monitor. (2016, December). Retrieved December 15, 2016, from http://droughtmonitor.unl. edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?NY VOCs: Volatile Organic Chemicals in Private Drinking Water Wells. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2016, from Department of Health Minnesota: http://www. html#what3

Long Island Topography Source: USGS

Water for Long Island. (2016, December). Wickham, T. (2014, June 2). Farmer Story: For Long Island Farmers, Fertilizer is Key to Saving Money, Reducing Work, and Protecting Community. Retrieved from

Water Table on Long Island Source: USGS

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island


Profile for Samudyatha Subbarama

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island, New York  

Capstone Project at Pratt Institute, New York 2016

Water Resiliency Framework for Long Island, New York  

Capstone Project at Pratt Institute, New York 2016