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DEC Announces Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy

Strategy Calls for Changes in Pesticide Use to Prevent Groundwater and Surface Water Contamination.

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Long Island, NY - June 6, 2014 - A new strategy to better protect Long Island groundwater and surface waters from pesticides was released today by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Joe Martens announced.
The Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy was developed by DEC in collaboration with numerous stakeholders. The Strategy, which will be effective on July 11th, is a blueprint for action that strengthens DEC's existing pest management regulatory program by adopting a new management approach to prevent pesticide-related impacts of surface water and groundwater, while recognizing the need for pest management. Approximately 3 million residents in Nassau and Suffolk counties rely on drinking water from a sole source aquifer.
"Protecting environmental resources on Long Island, including the sole source aquifer, is essential to ensure the health and safety of residents and maintain the quality of life in the region," Commissioner Martens said. "Under this Strategy, DEC will assess specific pesticide active ingredients, work closely with partners to identify and implement best management practices to prevent adverse impacts and use water quality monitoring data to determine if the environment has been damaged. Our goal is to better protect Long Island's critical water resources, while meeting the region's pest management needs."
The Strategy will address pollutants at the source and includes close scrutiny of vital water resources to ensure the environment and public health are protected. The Strategy includes the following recommendations:
  • DEC will convene and meet with a Technical Review and Advisory Committee (TRAC) comprised of state and local government agencies, local organizations and academic representatives. The TRAC will advise DEC on pesticide use patterns, aquifer vulnerability and human health risks, and will also recommend alternatives and pollution prevention measures to address pesticide-associated contaminants in groundwater.
  • DEC will collaborate with stakeholder work groups, including experts on pesticide use, water quality and pest management, to assess certain pesticide active ingredients and collaborate on identifying less toxic alternatives, conducting outreach and education, and implementing specific pollution prevention measures.
  • DEC will identify and prioritize pesticide pollution measures and work with partners to develop and implement product or use alternatives, outreach and education on integrated pest management, and voluntary label changes.
  • DEC, with the assistance of other organizations and experts, will develop best management practices and track the results of pollution prevention initiatives to determine if additional monitoring or measures are necessary to effective protection of water quality or pest management. Based on water quality results, DEC and the State Health Department may consider regulatory actions if significant public health threats are detected.
As part of this Strategy, DEC will maximize the use of water quality monitoring data and devote additional resources to evaluate the success of pollution prevention measures.
Dale Moyer, associate executive director, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, said, "The Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy is a comprehensive, scientifically sound and balanced approach which protects our water resources from pesticide- related contamination, while meeting our pest management needs. This coincides with the goals of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County's Agriculture Program."
DEC carefully reviewed all public comments received and then revised the Strategy to clarify the factors that will be considered in pursuing pollution prevention measures and other appropriate actions, establishing water quality goals and pollution reduction targets, and measuring the Strategy's success.
The final report, along with the responsiveness summary to public comments, is available on DEC's website.