Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy
NYSDEC released the Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy (Strategy) (PDF) (1.85 MB), which contains the blueprint for a new pesticide pollution prevention (P2) approach on Long Island. Effective July 11, 2014, the overall goal of the Strategy is to protect water quality from pesticide-related impacts, while continuing effective pest management on Long Island. See the press release from June 5, 2014.
The pesticide P2 blueprint for Long Island and a summary of other elements of the Strategy are contained in the Executive Summary (PDF) (179 KB). The Strategy is also available at the NYSDEC region 1 office and at the Central Office in Albany.
Would you like to receive updates on the Strategy? Send an email to LongIslandStrategy@dec.ny.gov and request to be added to our list serve.
Recent and Ongoing Activities
Active Ingredient Data Packages
Technical Review and Advisory Committee (TRAC) Meetings
Within 6 months of the Strategy becoming effective, DEC planned to convene a Technical Review and Advisory Committee (TRAC) - consisting of a diverse group of stakeholders in pest management and Long Island water quality protection - to advise the Department on factors such as pesticide use patterns, aquifer vulnerability, human health risks, and recommended alternatives and pollution prevention measures. DEC will then consider these recommendations and determine the priority of P2 measures to implement.
- The first TRAC meeting was held October 30, 2014 in Stony Brook, NY. A summary of the October 2014 TRAC meeting (PDF) (235 KB) is available, which includes the agenda and attendee list. The format included technical presentations by TRAC members (PDF) (2.97 MB) followed by discussion. Prior to the TRAC meeting, draft active ingredient data packages were prepared and provided to the TRAC members for review and comments. These active ingredient data packages will be updated based upon discussions during the TRAC meeting.
- The second TRAC meeting was held on February 26, 2015. A summary of the February 2015 TRAC meeting (PDF) (273 KB) is available, which includes the agenda and attendee list. Presentations from the meeting (PDF) (976 KB) are also available.
We are gathering a group of interested Stakeholders to discuss information about the uses, products, alternatives, monitoring data, pollution prevention measures, and best management practices of imidacloprid, metalaxyl, and atrazine. Workgroups on each of these three active ingredients may be set up after the initial Stakeholder meeting, which will be held June 23-24, 2015.
If you are a distributor or user of the above active ingredients or are concerned about Long Island groundwater please fill out a comment card and submit it to the email address below. We will be accepting comments until July 30, 2015.
- Atrazine Comment Card (PDF) (200 KB)
- Metalaxly/Mefenoxam Comment Card (PDF) (247 KB)
- Imidacloprid comment cards:
Interested stakeholders can receive the latest updates on the Strategy by signing up to receive emails from our list serve. To sign up please send an email to LongIslandStrategy@dec.ny.gov.
The DEC had an educational booth at the Long Island Fair in Old Bethpage in the fall of 2014. Hundreds of school children and members of the general public were in attendance and viewed informational posters and pamphlets about water quality.
Overview of the Long Island Strategy
What is the goal of the Strategy?
The goal of the Strategy is two-pronged:
- Prevent adverse effects on human health and the environment by protecting Long Island's groundwater and surface water resources from pesticide-related contamination, and, concurrently,
- Continue to meet pest management needs of agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors.
What are the first steps in the implementation process?
The Strategy will focus first on three active ingredients - imidacloprid, metalaxyl, and atrazine. DEC and stakeholder resources will be needed to follow the P2 blueprint for these three active ingredients. The process for the next group of active ingredients will be triggered as soon as sufficient resources become available.
Detailed steps to implement the blueprint are contained in the Executive Summary (PDF) (179 KB) and in Chapter 3 of the complete Strategy (PDF) (1.85 MB).
What role do external stakeholders play in implementing the Strategy?
The Strategy recognizes that a comprehensive approach engaging many stakeholders - academia, public interest groups, pesticide manufacturers, private and commercial applicators, growers - is needed to achieve the goal. DEC will work with the Technical Review and Advisory Committee (TRAC), which is comprised of state and local agencies, as well as public service and academic entities, to consider information about particular active ingredients, identify effective alternatives, and advise DEC about P2 measures to pursue. However, the Strategy recognizes that the other stakeholders have much of the expertise for identifying alternatives, including Cornell, certified applicators and their associations, product registrants, and public interest groups. Likewise, it is these stakeholders who must participate in encouraging the use of safer alternatives by getting the information out about them to the largest number of pesticide users.
Whom does it affect?
The Strategy will affect virtually all users of pesticides on Long Island - agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional, and will protect groundwater quality for all Long Islanders.
Groundwater Protection and Pest Management
Pesticides are used on Long Island to limit the potentially harmful effects of a wide range of pests that affect:
- companion animals
- agricultural crops and other plants.
Pesticides play an important role in managing pests in agricultural, commercial, residential and institutional settings. Nevertheless, pesticides pose a potential threat to groundwater quality when they are misused in violation of pesticide laws, rules and regulations, including use in contravention of label directions (pesticide misuse). Pesticides may also pose a threat to groundwater, even when they are lawfully used in accordance with label directions, if their use pattern or chemical and physical properties are such that they have an increased potential to leach through soil.
The hydrologic cycle or water cycle shows the general movement of
water above, on and below the surface and features of the Earth.
Groundwater is recharged and affected by the hydrologic cycle.
What is the significance of the aquifer?
- The sole source aquifer system underlying Long Island is a special natural resource relied upon by over three million people as their principal source of clean, potable water. The heavy reliance on the sole source aquifer plus the nature of the aquifer system itself (e.g., shallow depth of groundwater, sandy and permeable soils overlying it), underscores the critical need to protect the quality of the groundwater before it becomes impaired for such usage.
- Water quality monitoring by Suffolk County and other entities shows that pesticides are among a number of contaminants detected in Long Island groundwater as a result of a wide range of human activities. Most detections were at low or trace levels, which did not contravene water quality or public drinking water standards.
- The Suffolk County Water Authority finds that finished water (treated water) that they supply to residents, overall far exceeds expectations for quality set by New York State drinking water standards.
A report of Suffolk County Monitoring Results (PDF) (2.36 MB) is available, as well as a recent summary of trends in public supply wells and monitoring wells (PDF) (573 KB).
Benefits of Pollution Prevention to Meet the Goal
The Strategy utilizes a proven method of preventing pollution, which is the first step in environmental protection. When implemented by all involved partners, the blueprint for action of the Strategy will work to avert pesticide-related contamination of water resources and result in benefits such as:
- Avoiding or minimizing the introduction of new pesticide-related contaminants,
- Helping reduce further contamination from existing pesticide-related chemicals,
- Fostering use of practices and products which avert pesticide-related contamination,
- Reducing overall impacts and risks associated with pesticide-related contaminants,
- Creating opportunity for dialogue with interested stakeholders regarding development of P2 measures, methods and products,
- Establishing pesticide P2 partnerships and outreach,
- Supplement the existing effective pesticide product registration program.
A brief description of existing and past pesticide P2 measures taken by NYSDEC and local and regional entities on Long Island is contained in supplemental information (PDF) (630 KB), separate from the Strategy.
Draft Long Island Pollution Prevention Strategy
- DEC released the draft Long Island Pollution Prevention Strategy in January 2013. During the 90-day public comment period, about 160 distinct comments on the draft Strategy were received in the form of letters, emails and verbal comments made during public hearings.
- A Responsiveness Summary (PDF) (184 KB) addressing these comments is available.
- DEC made changes to the draft Strategy based on comments received, clarifying the factors that will be considered in pursuing P2 measures and other appropriate actions, establishing water quality goals and pollution reduction targets, and measuring the Strategy's success.
Outreach Efforts associated with the Draft
- The Department met in February 2013 with the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), a 25-member group representing the primary entities involved in pesticide and/or groundwater management on Long Island.
- The Department held two meetings in late February 2013 with representatives of several stakeholder groups to discuss the Strategy and their proposed roles in its implementation, such as pesticide product manufacturers and applicators, academia, public interest groups, professional associations, Nassau and Suffolk County water quality and public health agencies, and the NYS Departments of Health and Agriculture and Markets. The Department presented an overview of the Strategy (PDF) (2.15 MB) at the TAC and stakeholder meetings. Participants offered positive feedback on the Strategy's pollution prevention approach and the critical role that stakeholder collaboration will play in achieving its goal.