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For Release: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DEC Releases Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy to Further Protect Long Island Water

Initiative Protects the Environment while Meeting Pest Management Needs

90-Day Public Comment Period Runs through April 30

To strengthen protections of the sole source aquifer that supplies Long Island's drinking water, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a draft pollution prevention strategy for pesticide use in the region, Commissioner Joe Martens today announced. The proposed Pesticide Pollution Prevention (P2) Strategy proposes five actions to reduce threats to water resources from existing pesticide-related sources and prevent potential contamination from new sources.

"This strategy will reduce the presence of pesticides in groundwater. It is designed to maximize the benefits of pollution prevention to help protect Long Island's unique groundwater resources," Commissioner Martens said. "Through collaborative partnerships with government agencies and other stakeholders, this strategy will protect water quality and enhance stewardship by integrating pollution prevention and pest management in the Long Island community."

The purpose of the P2 Strategy is to enhance the protection of Long Island's groundwater and surface water resources from pesticide-related contamination and thus prevent potential adverse effects on human health while continuing to meet pest management needs of farms, residents and businesses.

DEC developed the P2 Strategy in response to concerns over the detection of pesticides in the groundwater over time at various locations on Long Island. Most contaminants detected in Long Island's groundwater are generally at low levels that do not indicate a public health concern.

The P2 Strategy would start with a DEC pesticide assessment including an evaluation of their location, frequency and concentration on Long Island, as well as their reported use, and prioritization for potential preventive measures and available alternatives.

Pollution Prevention Strategy and Benefits

The P2 Strategy also calls for convening a Technical Review and Advisory Committee (TRAC) by bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders involved in pest management and water quality protection on Long Island - state and local health departments and other governmental agencies, agricultural, commercial and other sectors that use pesticides, pesticide businesses, environmental groups, and academia - to partner with DEC in implementing pest management pollution prevention measures. This committee would advise DEC on critical needs, potential for human exposure, human health risks, effective alternatives and aquifer vulnerability and would recommend potential P2 measures.

Under the proposed P2 Strategy, DEC would work to integrate pollution prevention measures including best management practices, water quality protection and enhanced monitoring of groundwater into pest management efforts. Other key actions of the P2 Strategy include:

  • Prioritizing preventive measures and implementing pollution prevention practices;
  • Tracking results of these measures and assessing the need for modifications; and
  • Maximizing the use of water quality monitoring for pesticides with a focus on determining trends and changes in detection levels and frequency.

Pollution prevention efforts could include modifying pest management processes, promoting the use of alternative pest management practices and utilizing effective, less-toxic products when available.

The P2 Strategy supplements the existing protective measures of the pesticide registration, compliance and outreach efforts of DEC's regulatory program. Its benefits include avoiding new contamination, improving public awareness and developing innovative pesticide pollution prevention methods and practices that meet the needs of the residents and businesses of Long Island.

"In general terms, pollution prevention reduces or eliminates pollutants at the source," Commissioner Martens said. "In the context of pesticides on Long Island, pollution prevention may mean modifying pest management processes, promoting the use of alternative pest management practices and utilizing effective, less-toxic products when available. Maintaining groundwater quality is critical for the millions of people on Long Island who rely on it for their drinking water. At the same time, pesticides play an important and beneficial role in protecting public health and agricultural productivity. This strategy aims to balance those needs while strengthening protection of the environment."

Public Comment Period and Public Meetings

The executive summary and full Draft Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy can be found on DEC's website and at DEC offices statewide.

Public comments can be submitted through April 30 via email to LongIslandStrategy@gw.dec.state.ny.us, by fax to 518-402-9024 or mail to the address below:

Scott Menrath
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Materials Management
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-7254

NYS DEC will hold two public meetings on the draft Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy to provide a summary of the draft Strategy and to receive comments on it.

The meetings will be held as follows:

Date: April 3, 2013
Time: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
NYS DEC Availability Session 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Public Meeting: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: Suffolk County Community College
Eastern Campus
121 Speonk-Riverhead Road
Building: Shinnecock 101
Riverhead, NY 11901

Date: April 4, 2013
Time: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
NYS DEC Availability Session 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Public Meeting: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: Morrelly Homeland Security Center
510 Grumman Road West
Main Conference Room
Bethpage, NY 11714

The proposed Strategy and P2 Blueprint will supplement DEC's existing regulatory program, including registration, commercial use, purchase and custom application of pesticides. Under current regulations, pesticides that could readily enter the Long Island aquifer system are prohibited from distribution or use in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Of the approximately 1,700 restricted pesticides, 361 are strictly prohibited from use in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Any registered pesticide product that is prohibited from distribution and use in Nassau and Suffolk counties will include a statement to that effect on the label. Another 145 products are registered for use on Long Island only when used in accordance with specific label conditions. These requirements will not change under the new Strategy.

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