Nitrogen Pollution: Impacts and Solutions

Nitrogen pollution is a major environmental and public health issue for Long Island, NY. A leading cause of nitrogen pollution in groundwater and surface water is the large number of cesspools and septic systems in Suffolk County. These systems do not remove nitrates from sanitary waste, allowing nitrates to leach into aquifers and eventually into surrounding estuaries and bays. Nitrogen pollution results in many negative complications which impact Long Island’s resiliency to storms, ecosystem health, and the economy. Negative impacts of nitrogen pollution include:

  • Contamination of drinking water.
  • Erosion of shorelines and destruction of wetlands.
  • Decline in seagrass beds.
  • Declines in shellfish and commercial fishing.
  • Recreational use limitations in estuaries and bays.
  • Algal blooms that (1) produce neurotoxins causing turtle mortality, and (2) consume oxygen from the water (i.e. Hypoxia) resulting in fish kills. Evidence of this has been prevalent in the Peconic River and Flanders Bay region of the Peconic Estuary.

Click below to read an article published by The New York Times on June 5, 2015:
“Long Island Sees a Crisis as it Floats to the Surface”


How we may address the nitrogen pollution problem will be discussed at the Long Island Water Quality Forum, to be held on June 23rd from 8:00am-11:00am at the Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University. The forum, sponsored by the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, Stony Brook University and Roux Associates, will examine technological solutions to nitrogen pollution and discuss proposals to fund these upgrades.

Principal Scientist, Amanda Ludlow of Roux Associates, will be a panelist at the forum and will be discussing Constructed Treatment Wetlands as a tool to confront nitrogen pollution; a community based natural system approach.

Click here to learn more about the forum and to register.

If you would like to discuss the above topic with one of our ENS® experts, please call: 1.800.322.ROUX (7689) or click here to schedule a meeting if you want to learn more about Roux Associates’ development and use of Constructed Treatment Wetlands.