Long Island Sound water pollution study

- Even on an overcast day, the Long Island Sound is beautiful, but how healthy is it?

"We really are looking to get a sense of which of the bays and harbors have the most nitrogen in them and which ones are flushing better," said Tracy Brown, the director of Save the Sound, which is leading a privately funded unified water study.

The multiyear study will address a data gap by testing water quality in more than two dozen bays and harbors from Connecticut to Long Island. One of the goals is quantifying the amount of pollution in the water coming from wastewater treatment plants, septic systems, stormwater runoff, and fertilizers.

"In the bays and harbors because they're more shallow they get less flushing from the open sound," Brown said. "So if you have a lot of nitrogen pollution coming in, in some of these systems it really stays for a long time and that will get low oxygen, a lot of algal blooms growing."

Friends of the Bay is one of the nonprofit organizations involved. They use a sonde to measure qualities, including dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, and water temperature.

"We do sampling in 14 locations in Cold Spring Harbor and Oyster Bay," Friends of the Bay Executive Director Paul DeOrsay said. "We record the data and then contribute it to a central data pool.

Organizations will test the water every two weeks at 25 sites from May through October. Save the Sound plans to publish the results in the 2019 Long Island Sound report card. 

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