Suffolk County, NY - April 29, 2016 - On December 15, 2015, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services issued an advisory to residents to take precautions before recreating on the tidal portion of the Peconic River (east of Grangebel Park) due to the possible residual effects of inadequately treated wastewater discharged from the Riverhead sewage treatment plant.
Suffolk County has funded substantial upgrades at the Riverhead sewage treatment plant, thus improving the effluent that discharges into the Peconic River. The effluent currently meets the bacteriological limits established by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).
Therefore, the advisory issued on December 15, 2015, advising residents to take precautions before recreating on the tidal portion of the Peconic River shall be lifted on May 1, 2016.
Suffolk County Health officials will continue to work closely with the NYSDEC, which has jurisdiction over the permitting and enforcement at the facility, and with the management at the Riverhead plant.
As always, SCDHS recommends the following when swimming or recreating in any waterbody:
- Don't swallow water and consider keeping your face and head out of the water, particularly in areas that are not public bathing beaches. This reduces exposure to bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms that might make people sick by entering the body by swallowing, and through eyes, ears and nose.
- Avoid swimming in cloudy or discolored water as it may contain microorganisms that might make people sick and affect a person's ability to see underwater hazards.
- Wash your hands after water activities (swimming, fishing, boating, etc.), especially before eating, and shower when you are done for the day to wash off water and dirt.