Requires the department to establish groundwater standards, for Nassau and Suffolk counties, limiting nitrogen to no more than 2 mg per liter.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to groundwater standards limiting nitrogen
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To improve water quality in Long Island estuaries by limiting the nitrogen content of groundwater.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill would require the Department of Environmental Conservation to develop an enforceable groundwater standard, in Nassau and Suffolk counties, limiting nitrogen to no more than two milligrams per liter, after holding a public hearing, and within 18 months of the effective date,
EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: This bill would amend §15-0514 of the Environmental Conservation Law.
JUSTIFICATION: Nitrogen is essential to life and takes many forms including ammonia, ammonium, nitrites, nitrates, and nitrous oxides. Studies have shown that the impacts of man-made sources of nitrogen on groundwater quality, on-site sanitary wastewater disposal in unsewered areas, for example, are much greater than natural sources such as decaying biological matter. In the recently-released draft Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services reported that approximately 75 percent of the County's population relies on on-site sanitary wastewater disposal systems for wastewater management. This reliance results in 66 percent of community supply wells having a high or very high susceptibility to nitrate contamination. Studies have shown that Long Island estuaries are approximately 80 percent saltwater and 20 percent freshwater. This combination of fresh and saltwater means that high nitrogen levels in groundwater are having a negative impact on Long Island estuaries, including eutrophication, pollution and algal blooms. This legislation seeks to prevent the further contamination of estuaries by requiring DEC to adopt a low nitrogen groundwater standard on Long Island.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is new legislation.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None to the State.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the 90th day after it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7724 IN SENATE June 15, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. FUSCHILLO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to groundwater standards limiting nitrogen THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivisions 4, 5, and 6 of section 15-0514 of the environ- mental conservation law are renumbered subdivisions 5, 6, and 7 and a new subdivision 4 is added to read as follows: 4. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL, AFTER PUBLIC HEARING, AND WITHIN EIGHTEEN MONTHS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBDIVISION, PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO ESTABLISH AN ENFORCEABLE GROUNDWATER STANDARD, FOR NASSAU AND SUFFOLK COUNTIES, LIMITING NITROGEN TO NO MORE THAN 2 MG PER LITER. S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15845-03-2