The Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) conducts comprehensive programs that protect Suffolk County residents against adverse environmental factors. DEQ programs also preserve and enhance the generally high quality of the Suffolk County environment.
The major programs of the Division of Environmental Quality are groundwater and drinking water protection, wastewater management, toxic and hazardous materials pollution control, monitoring and laboratory analyses, enforcement of regulations, and environmental management studies and programs for groundwater and surface waters, including related ecological issues. These programs are managed through the five offices of the division: Water Resources, Pollution Control, Wastewater Management, Ecology, and the Public and Environmental Health Laboratory.
The Division’s Board of Review hears requests for variances and waivers, meeting on the third Thursday of every month, with the exception of December, when the meeting is on the second Thursday of the month. A listing of each month’s scheduled hearings may be obtained by contacting the division at 852-5800. On alternate Thursdays, voting for previous hearings may be recorded.
In response to the growing water quality crisis facing our county, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services has developed an historic solution to address nitrogen pollution through the development of a countywide wastewater upgrade strategy. A Reclaim Our Water initiative, the strategy is documented in the Suffolk County Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan (SWP), which was developed in partnership with the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan (LINAP) and in collaboration with numerous project partners, stakeholders, and technical experts. The SWP is the product of years of intensive research, documentation, modeling, and evaluation of all of Suffolk County’s water resources and provides a parcel-specific roadmap on how to address the nitrogen crisis through wastewater upgrades and other nitrogen pollution mitigation strategies. The plan seeks to arrest and reverse the existing trend of degrading water quality over a 10 year period by transitioning away from reliance on conventional cesspools and septic systems, which are the primary source of nitrogen pollution that has fouled local bays.
The Draft SWP was released in August 2019, along with a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) for the actions proposed in the SWP, which was subject to a two month public comment period. A revised SWP and a Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) incorporating public comments and comments received by the Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) was posted in February 2020. The revised SWP, as well as the DGEIS, FGEIS and related State Environmental Quality Review (SEQRA) documents are available at the CEQ website here.
After minor revisions, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has also approved the Suffolk County SWP as a Nine Element (9E) Watershed Plan. The 9E program is designed to encourage municipalities to develop watershed based plans for improving water quality including nine key elements (refer to the NYSDEC website for more details on 9E plans). “The County’s 9E Plan is the first of its kind, as it addresses nitrogen pollution throughout an entire county.” said James M. Tierney, Deputy Commissioner of the NYSDEC. This historic first will open the County’s watersheds up for additional State and Federal funding opportunities to advance water quality improvement initiatives.
The final SWP incorporating minor revisions to satisfy the requirements of the 9E Watershed Plan program was published in July 2020. Please click on the following links to download the full July 2020 SWP and appendices, and obtain additional information on the SWP:
The SCDHS has issued the final report on the Grand Canal Ecological and Public Health Assessment. For the document summary, full report, and appendices, please click on:
Click here for the Suffolk Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan
Click here for GIS Marine Water Quality Data