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HAUPPAUGE, NY— Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine and Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey were joined today by environmental and labor leaders at a press conference announcing an historic deal that will transform water protection in Suffolk County and pave the way for clean water for future generations.
“I thank Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Senator Monica Martinez all of our environmental and labor leaders for their work to get us to this day,” said Romaine. “Today we begin rewriting the environmental history of this great County.”
“Only through the work of my colleagues in the legislature and the leadership of Assemblyman Thiele and Senator Monica Martinez could this have been accomplished,” said McCaffrey. “Clean water is bipartisan issue, one that cannot be affected by politics, and we came together to provide a better environment for this and future generations.”
The legislation, which has been introduced in Albany, will secure a funding means to provide money for both sewage infrastructure and I/A systems for private homes. The money will be generated by a .0.125% sales tax increase, which is subject to a referendum vote in November 2024.
“We now go to the people so their voices will be heard,” said Romaine. “They will have the chance to say yes or no.”
The I/A systems will remove other nitrogen and other contaminants before they taint drinking water. Sewage infrastructure allows more homes to be connected to sewage treatment facilities, eliminating the use of outdated cesspools.
“I’m proud to take a significant step in safeguarding our region's vital water resources by sponsoring the Suffolk County Water Restoration Act,” said NYS Senator Monica Martinez. “The urgency to restore and protect clean water is a cause that unites Long Islanders. As an island our environment, quality of life, and economy are intricately linked. I am honored to sponsor the Suffolk Water Restoration Act once again, providing Suffolk County residents the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on a measure that profoundly impacts them and future generations. This legislation reinforces my commitment to empowering local residents in addressing environmental challenges.”
"The Nature Conservancy is thrilled that a landmark agreement has been reached to restore clean water to Suffolk County. Clean water is essential for public health, recreation, and quality of life. The Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act will enable us to modernize wastewater infrastructure and repair local bays and harbors,” said Kevin McDonald, policy advisor for The Nature Conservancy in New York. “We appreciate the dedication and leadership of Governor Hochul, Senator Martinez, Assemblymember Theile, County Executive Romaine, and Presiding Officer McCaffrey. Their commitment to improving water quality will allow Suffolk County voters to choose a clean water future this November.”
“Suffolk County’s future is dependent upon our ability to successfully manage our wastewater. We know how to do it, but we need the funding! Establishing a reliable funding mechanism is imperative to replace antiquated septic and cesspool systems as well as aging sewer infrastructure. This program will change our future’s outlook from bleak to bright. We are so thankful for the leadership of County Executive Ed Romaine, and Presiding Officer Legislator McCaffrey, who worked with environmental groups and labor to craft a program that will benefit every Suffolk County resident,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment
"We commend Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine for his leadership and for coming together with the Suffolk County Legislature on a plan to restore clean and healthy water – our most precious resource – to the county,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Residents have suffered from nitrogen-polluted water for far too long and we look forward to working with Senator Martinez and Assemblymember Thiele to move the Suffolk County water bill through the state legislature as soon as possible."
“We applaud Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine, Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey, Senator Monica Martinez, and Assemblyman Fred Thiele for their bipartisan leadership on this landmark deal to modernize our region’s wastewater management system. For too long, our region has been burdened by outdated systems,” said Marc Herbst, Executive Director of the Long Island Contractors Association (LICA). “This new deal will infuse $8-12 billion into regional economy over next three decades and is a critical step in modernizing our infrastructure and ensuring our residents have access to clean drinking water.”