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Managing water resources on Long Island, New York, with integrated, multidisciplinary science

September 24, 2021

Nutrients, harmful algal blooms, and synthetic chemicals like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and 1,4-dioxane threaten Long Island’s water resources by affecting the quality of drinking water and ecologically sensitive habitats that support the diverse wildlife throughout the island. Understanding the occurrence, fate, and transport of these potentially harmful chemicals is critical to protect these vital resources. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is collecting and analyzing data to support informed water-resource management decisions. This fact sheet introduces ongoing efforts and future areas of study aimed to help water professionals develop a comprehensive science strategy to address contamination of the Long Island aquifer system, the sole source of drinking water for nearly 3 million people. These studies include surface and groundwater collection and groundwater flow modeling. Funding for the data collection has been provided by the USGS, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Suffolk County Water Authority, Nassau County Department of Public Works, State and local agencies, and Tribal and Federal partners. Without the foresight and long-term commitment of these funding partners, evaluating sustainability and planning for future water needs would not be possible.