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The LINAP is a partnership between the DEC, the Long Island Regional Planning Council, and Suffolk and Nassau counties. This partnership extends to other local stakeholders and groups - such as academic institutions, local governments, non-governmental organizations, and other interested parties - whose work aligns with the goals of LINAP. This collaborative effort is implementing a range of programs that will reduce, prevent and/or eliminate nitrogen pollution.
Each year brings more progress in controlling nitrogen pollution on Long Island. LINAP partners have a variety of programs that focus the nitrogen issue through technical, management, regulatory or policy actions, which are highlighted below.
This page includes information and links, where available, about LINAP partners and their major LINAP initiatives.
While DEC works with LINAP partners on their initiatives, several projects are carried out within the DEC to further LINAP priorities. These projects are more suitable to be tackled by DEC due to their overarching themes and potential regulatory outcomes. As LINAP progresses, DEC also takes the lead on ensuring all action items are addressed and partners continue to communicate.
Long Island Garden Rewards
The DEC, in partnership with the Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC) and NEIWPCC, created the Long Island Garden Rewards Program. This is an opportunity for Long Island homeowners to receive up to $500 to cover the cost of stormwater runoff mitigation projects on their property. Eligible projects include rain barrels, rain gardens, and native plantings. Learn more about the program and how to apply.
Fertilizer is the second-leading source of nitrogen for Long Island's groundwater and waterbodies, and DEC is examining measures to reduce use of fertilizer by homeowners, golf courses, the landscape industry, and agriculture. The LINAP Fertilizer Management webpage has more information on current and past progress.
Water Reuse Initiative
Water reuse was noted as an action item in the LINAP Scope document and DEC is investigating the potential opportunity and challenges for water reuse on Long Island, as it relates to nitrogen removal. A workgroup was created and has helped guide the creation of new resources, such as the permitting roadmap and golf course interactive map. The LINAP Water Reuse webpage has more resources and information on the current and past activities.
Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative
The Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative's goal is to improve the quality of marine waters in New York and Connecticut by removing excess nitrogen through the cultivation and harvest of seaweed and shellfish. The Initiative provides information to help decision makers with the guidelines needed to facilitate seaweed and shellfish farming and harvest operations in their coastal waters. This is a joint effort between DEC, Long Island Sound Study and LIRPC. The Nutrient Bioextraction Initiative webpage has more resources and information on the current and past activities.
Embayment Water Exchange Study
Some Long Island embayments have high levels of nitrogen. LINAP conducted a study to explore technologies that could increase the exchange of sea water into embayments to help reduce the accumulation of nitrogen and improve the health of the waterbody. The LINAP Embayment Water Exchange webpage has more information on the details of the study and a link to the study’s final reports.
Nitrogen Smart Communities
Nitrogen Smart Communities (NSC) is a voluntary program that will assist municipalities in Nassau and Suffolk counties identify the main sources of nitrogen pollution within their municipality and take meaningful and effective actions to reduce, prevent or eliminate nitrogen pollution through a coordinated, community specific plan of action. This is a joint effort between DEC and LIRPC. Learn more about the program by visiting the NSC website.
Solute Transport Model
Working with USGS, a solute transport model is being developed for the island to better understand legacy nitrogen within the aquifer system. The project began in the Peconic Estuary and is now being expanded to the rest of the island through funding from EPA's Long Island Sound Study. An advisory workgroup was assembled to help guide the development of potential management scenarios on the north shore. A kickoff meeting was held in October 2021 to introduce the project and a second meeting was held in February 2022 to reviewed the nitrogen sources being used in the model. In November 2022, a meeting was held to discuss ideas for future nitrogen management scenarios for the Long Island Sound watershed.
Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC)
The Long Island Regional Planning Council, a LINAP partner from the outset, is taking the lead on or helping oversee several key initiatives. Several initiatives are done in concert with DEC.
Hempstead Bay (Western Bays) Water Quality Monitoring Program
The Hempstead Bay Water Quality Monitoring Program is a collaboration between LIRPC, Hofstra University, and the Town of Hempstead Department of Conservation and Waterways. The program provides a framework for monitoring, analysis, and reporting of the water quality within the surface waters of Hempstead Bay (aka Western Bays) and its major tributaries. The monitoring program is vital to better understanding the recovery of Hempstead Bay after the removal of the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility (formerly known as Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant) effluent in 2024.
Long Island STEM Program
LIRPC created the Long Island Water Quality Challenge to connect students, teachers and their communities to LINAP's mission. This competition - geared to grades 6, 7, and 8 in schools in Nassau and Suffolk counties - promotes project-based learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The Long Island Water Quality Challenge is a great opportunity for schools to do their part to protect local water resources while improving school grounds.
Get more information about LIRPC.
Suffolk County was an early supporter of the LINAP and has made significant investments in their work to reduce nitrogen pollution in the county, focusing mainly on wastewater improvements via septic replacement and sewering projects.
Suffolk County Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan
The Suffolk County Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan is a comprehensive look at the state of the nitrogen pollution in Suffolk County. The Plan has modeled nitrogen loads from wastewater, fertilizer and atmospheric deposition at the parcel level to the groundwater. Using the model's data, load reduction goals have been developed for all Suffolk County waterbodies. The plan's recommendations will allow Suffolk County to target priority areas for reducing nitrogen coming from wastewater.
Septic Improvement Program
Conventional septic systems and cesspools do not remove nitrogen from wastewater and are the largest source of nitrogen pollution in the groundwater and waterbodies throughout Suffolk County. The Septic Improvement Program provides grants and loans to homeowners for the replacement of non-performing septic systems or cesspools with an approved Innovative/Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (I/A OWTS), which are designed to significantly reduce nitrogen pollution. The systems are tested thoroughly to ensure they will provide homeowners with technology that significantly reduces nitrogen.
Suffolk County Wastewater Management District
Establishing a County Wastewater Management District (CWMD) in Suffolk County will provide the critical administrative and organizational structure to identify, evaluate and manage the wastewater infrastructure needed to improve groundwater and surface water quality. A study was completed to identify the various essential actions required to establish the CWMD, as well as the management structures and financing required for its operation. This includes the replacement of outdated cesspools and septic systems with I/A OWTS.
Coastal Resiliency Initiative
Through the Suffolk County Coastal Resiliency Initiative, previously un-sewered communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy are being sewered through multiple state and federal grant funding programs. The sewering projects included in this initiative are the Carlls River, Forge River, Connetquot River, and Patchogue River watersheds.
For more information about Suffolk County's Initiatives visit Suffolk County's Reclaim Our Water website.
Nassau County has been working toward significant upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities. The projects associated with the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility (formerly known as the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant) and Long Beach Wastewater Pollution Control Plant will result in a comprehensive and innovative regional wastewater management approach to serve more than one million residents. This will reduce the amount of treated effluent flowing into the Western Bays and, therefore, lower ammonia and nitrogen levels in the water.
South Shore Water Reclamation Facility Upgrades
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility (Bay Park) is undergoing $830 million worth of upgrades, made possible by FEMA. These upgrades include storm hardening measures including a berm and a flood wall designed to withstand a 500-year flood, flood gates on the north and south sides of the facility, interior pump stations to handle excess rain water that may get into the facility. Additionally, all upgrades are being designed above the 500-year storm.
Bay Park Conveyance Project
The Bay Park Conveyance Project will convey treated effluent from the facility in Bay Park to the ocean outfall at the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP). The former NYC aqueduct under Sunrise Highway will be utilized, while two new 2-mile force mains will be built to bring effluent from the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility to the aqueduct and then from the aqueduct to the Cedar Creek WPCP ocean outfall pipe. The county anticipates that this project will be completed by the end of 2024.
Long Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant Consolidation Project
The Long Beach Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) Consolidation Project involves converting the facility to a pump station and rerouting Long Beach sewage - up to 5 million gallons of raw sewage per day - to the newly upgraded SSWRF in Bay Park. The wastewater will then be treated with the other sewage that enters the facility before being sent to the ocean outfall at Cedar Creek WPCP. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.
Nassau County Nine Element Plan
The Nassau County Nine Element Plan is an analysis of Nassau's north and south shore bays and surrounding watershed, which includes modeling the nitrogen inputs to each embayment from wastewater, fertilizer, atmospheric deposition, and storm water, modeling hydrologic residence times, and a water quality data analysis. The Plan is an update to a report published in 2020. The report is undergoing updates and stakeholder engagement before as it is being converted into a Nine Element Watershed Plan. This was a joint effort between Nassau County, Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and DEC. More information on the plan can be found on Nassau County's 9E Plan webpage.
Peconic Estuary Partnership (PEP)
The Peconic Estuary Partnership is an EPA designated "Estuary of National Significance" that covers the Peconic Bay watershed in eastern Suffolk County. Their Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, a blueprint for protecting and restoring the estuary, was updated in 2020. The program aligns with LINAP via their work toward improving water quality, protecting and restoring habitat, educating the public and fostering environmental stewardship.
Long Island Sound Study (LISS)
The Long Island Sound Study is an EPA lead bi-state partnership aimed at reducing nutrient (nitrogen) loads to the Long Island Sound. Their 2015 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan provides a framework to fulfill a vision to restore and protect the Long Island Sound. LINAP and LISS are partnering on nitrogen reduction projects on Long Island's north shore.
South Shore Estuary Reserve (SSER)
The South Shore Estuary Reserve is a NYS Department of State program created by NYS Legislature in 1993 by the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Act, and includes the South Shore's bays and watersheds from the western boundary of the Town of Hempstead to the middle of the Town of Southampton. Their Comprehensive Management Plan was recently updated in 2022 and will guide the program going forward. The Reserve Office is an important partner to LINAP for advancing water quality and environmental education goals on Long Island's south shore.
Center for Clean Water Technology (CCWT)
The Center for Clean Water Technology is developing and commercializing cost-effective water quality protection and restoration solutions. Its initial focus is delivering affordable, high performance technology to efficiently remove nitrogen and other contaminants from household wastewater to replace or retrofit existing cesspools and septic systems. Current research is being done on nitrogen removing biofilters, constructed wetlands, and permeable reactive barriers, among other technologies.