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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 and request to be added to our list serve.

Available for download: Active Ingredient Factsheets for reducing risks to groundwater contamination from various uses of Atrazine, Imidacloprid, and Mefenoxam.

Recent and Ongoing Activities

The DEC has met with the Technical Review and Advisory Committee (TRAC) and the Stakeholders (see below for further details regarding each meeting). Active ingredient fact sheets are being developed based upon the information in the active ingredient data packages and the discussions during the TRAC and Stakeholder meetings. The goal of the fact sheets is to have a simple, practical approach regarding pollution prevention for users to follow. The fact sheets summarize best management practices, alternative active ingredients and non-pesticidal practices. The DEC is focusing on pollution prevention measures to begin implementing this year. The fact sheets are available at each of the listed below outreach events and available on-line on the DEC and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) webpages. They may also be available to users at their local pesticide supplier.


The DEC and CCE are currently involved in extensive outreach and education to growers, pesticide users, distributors, and their professional associations. Staff are presenting information about the LI Strategy and pollution prevention measures at a number of their conferences and meetings. Active ingredient fact sheets are currently in development and will be posted on-line as they become available.

Upcoming Events

Would you like to hear more on the LI Strategy? Talk with a team member from the LI Strategy at one of the following conferences:

  • Long Island Arboricultural Association Annual Symposium - 2/7/17

Past Events

  • EPA LI Groundwater Series "Pollution Prevention and LI Groundwater" - 5/24/16
  • SiteOne Landscape Supply Winter Seminar - 3/15/16
  • NSLGA Professional Turf, Plant & Tree Conference - 3/9/16
  • Long Island Arboricultural Association
  • Professional Certified Applicators Conference - 1/28/16
  • CCE of Suffolk County Horticulture Conference - 1/21/16
  • Long Island Golf Course Superintendent's Association - 1/21/16
  • CCE of Suffolk County Long Island Greenhouse and Floriculture Conference - 1/19/16
  • CCE of Suffolk County Agricultural Forum - 1/14/16 - 1/15/16
  • CCE of Suffolk County Managing Landscapes Sustainability Conference - 11/12/15
  • Long Island Nursery & Landscape Association Annual Meeting - 10/29/15

Active Ingredient Data Packages

The latest versions of the Active Ingredient Data Packages for Atrazine (PDF) (3.91 MB), Imidacloprid (PDF) (3.71 MB), and Mefenoxam/Metalaxyl (PDF) (4.71 MB) are now available.

Active Ingredient Factsheets

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.

Meeting Details

Stakeholder Meetings

The first Stakeholder meeting was held June 23-24, 2015 in Hauppauge, NY. The meeting attendees included members of the TRAC, registrants, and local applicators and farmers. Discussions included information about the uses, products, alternatives, monitoring data, pollution prevention measures, and best management practices of imidacloprid, metalaxyl, and atrazine. A summary of the June 2015 Stakeholder meeting (PDF) (79.39 KB) is available. Presentations from the meeting are also available (PDF) (4.49 MB).

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.

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

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:

  • people
  • companion animals
  • wildlife
  • structures
  • 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
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.

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