Editorial: ‘They Are Us

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When it comes to complicated environmental issues, chatter from the masses often sounds something like “They need to do this…” or “They should be doing that…” But whether it’s replacing an aging septic system or reverting back to native landscapes, the ultimate path to saving our local water lies with each and every one of us.

That was the message Friday at The American Hotel, where The Sag Harbor Express hosted its final Express Sessions event of the spring season. The topic was water quality and lead environmentalists like Bob DeLuca from Group for the East End, Laura Tooman from Concerned Citizens of Montauk (CCOM) and Kevin McAllister from Defend H20 said programs are available for homeowners right now that, with enough participation, would lead to immediate and substantial improvements to water quality on the East End.

Suffolk County and the towns of East Hampton and Southampton are offering financial assistance to offset the cost involved with installing new nitrogen-reducing septic systems, which, according to Justin Jobin, an environmental projects coordinator with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, who was also a panelist at Friday’s session, are top-of-the-line in terms of technology and efficiency. Mr. Jobin has worked on these systems for nearly 20 years and said they should be the norm in areas like Suffolk County that are surrounded by water.

We couldn’t agree more and encourage residents to attend the septic replacement informational session at East Hampton Town Hall this Tuesday, April 30, at 6 p.m. The event is co-hosted by CCOM, Group for the East End, Suffolk County and East Hampton Town, and officials will be in attendance to speak about the grant programs currently available to homeowners. With so much assistance in the market today, there really is no excuse not to be proactive. As Mr. DeLuca pointed out on Friday, “The ‘they’ is us at the end of the day. We have to start thinking differently.”

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