What is the Source of My Drinking Water?
Unlike most of the country, Long Island gets
its drinking water from a system of aquifers, a
naturally formed underground storage area that
reaches a depth of 1,000 feet. Made up of huge
layers of sand and gravel, the aquifers contain
about 90 trillion gallons of fresh water, more
than is actually needed to meet the current
Precipitation and melted ice trickling
downward constantly replenish the aquifers,
each year recharging more water than is
As the rainwater travels through
hundreds of feet of soil and closely-packed
sand, it is thoroughly filtered and cleansed of
most impurities before reaching the aquifers.
Unfortunately, unwanted chemicals that
are carelessly dumped on the ground can also
travel the same path into the aquifer.
Nevertheless, with 2.8 million residents living
as well as conducting business and industrial
activities directly above the public water supply,
instances of pollution can occur.
Thirty to 50 years ago, groundwater protection
regulations were practically nonexistent.
Today, there are many strict government
regulations including chemical and hazardous
materials storage ordinances; zoning laws that
prohibit a host of industries from locating
within the “deep recharge” areas that feed the
aquifers; and tough waste water treatment