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Shellfishing, Coliform and Water Testing Explained

Last week, John Bredemeyer, Town Trustee, gave a talk at the Southold Town Conservation Advisory Committee meeting and the public was invited, so I attended to hear what’s going on. This is what I got from the meeting.

John explained that there are many agencies involved in the regulation of shellfishing as the product is sold for public consumption locally, interstate and internationally. Those most directly involved are the NYS DEC, which controls all aspects from growing and harvest areas, limits, and marketing. They gather water samples and perform bacteriological testing at their lab in Stony Brook. Similarly, the Suffolk County and NYS Dept of Health take samples and test our waters in their lab in Hauppauge, but they are more interested in the general health of the bay system and test more for nutrients, pesticides and algae bloom formation.

John seemed to agree with the idea that most pollution is coming from road runoff as a result of the way the town developed over the last 300 years. Drainage was never a developers’ problem until very recently, so most of our streets drain to the water. The solution to this problem is the Town’s MS4 program, which is a state mandated requirement (with no fed or state funding) that requires the Town to come up with a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, (MS4) remediation plan to mitigate the effects of our town and state roads leading into the creeks and bays and sound. This program will require a huge Town bond and the help of the Conservation Advisory Council and Trustees to find and address illicit connection to the system.

Town regulation 236 requires that all runoff from a property be contained on that property. Waterfront owners already know about this as they must have all roof drains lead to dry wells, etc. Water which runs from your property to the road, and then to a storm drain is deemed MS4 non compliant and an illicit connection to the system. Water from your driveway must not drain to the road. Continual basement sump pumping leading to the street is an illicit connection. With improvements in these areas over time, the hope is that the creeks will test better and become open to shellfishing again.

John Kramer

About "Janet Deluca"

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