Plainview Water District Urges Residents to be Responsible With Lawn Chemicals and Fertilizers

As part of its Preserve Plainview initiative, the Plainview Water District would like to remind residents about the impacts that premature and excessive lawn fertilizing has on our environment and water supply. The District implores all residents to be mindful of the Nassau County “Fertilizer Law” that prohibits fertilizing prior to April 1 of each year.

“We want residents to enjoy their green lawns, but we want to make sure that they are being kept green in the most environmentally friendly way possible that complies with the rules and regulations of the county,” said Plainview Water District Chairman Marc Laykind. “To help protect our sole-source aquifer and other local water ways, we ask residents to adhere to Nassau County’s fertilizer law to help support our efforts of improving groundwater quality and protecting our environment.”

In accordance with Nassau County’s “Fertilizer Law,” all fertilizers are prohibited from being applied before April 1, 2022 and after November 15, 2022. Residents should always apply the minimum amount of lawn chemicals to the soil and make sure they are stored properly. Additionally, all fertilizers or other lawn chemicals must be kept in cool and dry locations inside of containers that are not prone to leaks. By following instructions listed on the packaging, homeowners can minimize the amount of fertilizer used, limit the amount that runs off into the ground and into our sewer systems so the impact to the environment can be kept to a minimum.

“Our weather is unpredictable this time of year and our region always seems to get some spring-like weather one day and then get hit with an end-of-March snowstorm or cold snap,” said PWD Commissioner Andrew Bader. “Applying fertilizers on frozen ground, or right before the ground refreezes, will take the fertilizers off your lawn and into our water ways. Save your money and our environment by ensuring you fertilize at the right time.”

Organic fertilizers—such as cotton seed meal, bone meal and manure—are other examples of effective alternatives to typical fertilizers that will benefit the environment. Biodegradable insecticides that break down to harmless substances in 2-to-21 days are also another effective yet safe way to treat your lawn.

“Purchasing the right type of fertilizer is as important as when you apply it to your lawn,” added PWD Commissioner Amanda Field. “We want people to remember that the water we drink comes from beneath our feet so the more chemicals and toxins we put on the ground, the more they leach into our groundwater. When levels of nitrogen increase in our groundwater, the only option we have is to invest in treatment to ensure those elevated groundwater levels are not reflected in our drinking water. This is why we urge people to use natural, organic fertilizers at the right times rather than fertilizers packed with harmful chemicals.” 

Residents Opting to Install Home Filtration Systems Should Perform Routine Maintenance

For 95 years, the Plainview Water District has prided itself on its ability to routinely serve the Plainview-Old Bethpage community with nothing but the highest quality water possible. To do so, the District has and continues to invest in infrastructure improvements for water treatment and delivery as well as maintaining aggressive sampling and testing procedures that often go above and beyond required testing parameters.

“The men and women of the Plainview Water District are dedicated to this community and share a common goal of ensuring our residents continue to receive water that meets or surpasses all established water quality standards,” said PWD Chairman Marc Laykind. “In our opinion, home filtration systems are not necessary, mainly because our treatment systems already do so much more than what a standard residential water filter can provide. Those with questions about their water quality should feel free to contact us at any time or browse through the water quality reports and other fact sheets available on our website.”

There are many companies and organizations that try to use scare tactics in getting residents to purchase expensive water filters for their home that may ultimately have no impact on their water quality. Treatment is performed, as needed, at each of the District’s supply wells to ensure regulatory compliance with all federal, state and local standards. Each one of the District’s treatment facilities are designed by professional engineers and approved by the state and local health departments. New York State Health Department Certified Water Plant Operators are employed by the District to operate and maintain the water treatment systems. Water system operations are also monitored 24/7/365 to ensure treatment remains continuous and functions as it was designed.

“As a District, we are very fortunate to be working with some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the water treatment field,” said PWD Commissioner Amanda Field. “With something as important as water is to our daily lives, quality assurance is our most crucial task. Each component of our supply, treatment and distribution system is meticulously monitored, checked and verified so our residents can have peace of mind when it comes to the quality of their tap water.”

The Plainview Water District is required to test all its supply wells and various locations in the distribution system for more than 144 different parameters, including volatile and synthetic organic chemicals, inorganics, metals, bacteria, pesticides and herbicides. These tests are conducted by an independent, state-certified laboratory with results sent directly to officials at the Nassau County Health Department, who also conduct regular spot checks on their own. Results of these tests are published each year in the District’s annual drinking water quality report.

If a resident is considering the installation of a home water filter, please note that home filtration systems must be properly designed and maintained to the manufacturers’ specifications.  Failure to do so could actually make water quality worse. Any water quality testing that is performed in your home must be completed by a New York State Health Department certified laboratory for drinking water.  A home test kit will often provide grossly inaccurate results.

“Our water is disinfected with chlorine to proactively inhibit bacteriological development within our drinking water distribution system,” said PWD Commissioner Andrew Bader. “Should residents find the chlorine taste and odor to be objectionable, a granular activated carbon filter (GAC) can be used to help remove taste and odor. With that said, the District already utilizes GAC treatment at most of our well sites so any carbon filter will simply be removing the chlorine. Keep in mind that filling a glass pitcher of water and leaving it in the refrigerator overnight will allow the chlorine to dissipate and provide a similar result.”

If a resident is inclined to purchase a home filtration system, please know that there are many different types and functionalities.  The EPA and State Health Department do not endorse specific units and do not conduct independent testing of manufacturer’s claims. There are three different certifications to look for on the label.  These organizations include NSF International (NSF), Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the Water Quality Association (WQA). If a home water treatment unit is not certified by one of these organizations, contact the manufacturer directly and ask for proof of the manufacturer’s claims specifically regarding the contaminants that concern you. Each of these organizations is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and they each certify units using ANSI/NSF standards.

It is also incredibly important for residents to understand that there are no approved residential filtration systems capable of removing 1,4-dioxane from drinking water. To combat this issue, the District is investing more than $50 million in infrastructure improvements to build these required treatment systems. The District currently leads all Long Island water providers with having six Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) treatment systems already in operation.