Something in the Water

A recent analysis by a private group has found that human and animal wastes were reaching the South Fork’s bays, beaches, and harbors at an alarming rate. The eastern Long Island chapter of the Surfrider Foundation took data taken from its Blue Water Task Force project and from the Concerned Citizens of Montauk and looked for trends. What it found should be alarming to anyone who cares about clean water and a productive environment.

The single worst spot identified in the Surfrider three-year look-back was in downtown Montauk, where a pipe placed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers through its sandbag seawall was found to have fecal bacteria in excess of a federal health standard 70 percent of the time it was tested. Parts of Lake Montauk exceeded the standard around half the time, as did the Georgica Pond access on Montauk Highway and Pussy’s Pond in Springs. Fresh Pond in Amagansett is another trouble spot.

New water quality improvement efforts are only in the planning stages. If the C.C.O.M.-Surfrider tests show anything at all, it is that existing measures are incapable of stopping the troubling flow. Both organizations are to be highly commended for pointing out just how much work remains to be done.