Clean Water

Wetland on campusThe Clean Water Act regulates any discharges to water to ensure that water quality standards are maintained. It is illegal for any one to discharge any pollutant into the US waters unless they are permitted to do so. The University of Stony Brook discharges water to both ground water and surface waters.

For more information, please select one of the following links:


Surface Water

The Clean Water Act also regulates any discharges to surface water. Sanitary wastes are discharged to the Suffolk County Department of Public Works (SCDPW) sewage treatment plant located near the north entrance to campus. Effluent from this plant is discharged to the Long Island Sound via the Port Jefferson treatment plant.

What are your responsibilities?

  • Never dispose of hazardous materials by dumping them down the drain.
  • Always use secondary containment for hazardous materials that could discharge to the sanitary sewer system.
  • Clean-up oil or chemical spills that could reach the sanitary sewer system.
  • Remember that the sewage treatment plant can only treat sanitary waste not hazardous materials.
  • Acids and bases can upset the treatment plant by killing the bio organisms.
  • Heavy metals can concentrate in the sludge, making it a hazardous waste
  • Solvents can pose a hazard to the workers at the plant, and they also pass through untreated into the Long Island Sound.
  • Detergents, soaps and wetting agents cause foaming in the aeration tank that upsets the treatment plant.
  • Use organic fertilizer and pesticides and only apply at the recommended amounts.
  • Hazardous household chemicals such as automotive fluids and paints should be disposed of at your community's STOP Day (Stop Throwing Out Pollutants Day).
  • Animal waste should be buried or flushed down the toilet
  • Wash your car on the lawn where dirty soapy water can be absorbed and filtered by the grass and soil
  • Leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste should not be left in the street and allowed to wash into the storm drains. Households should compost this waste for use in other garden projects.
  • Yard waste left for pick-up should be bagged at the curb and not left loose in the gutter where it can wash into the storm drains.
  • Communities should be encouraged to increase street sweeping to keep sand and dirt from being washed away into stormwater runoff.
  • Communities can adopt and enforce erosion and sediment control for new developments and install stormwater controls.
  • For more information, contact Sea Grant New York, or see the EPA's information on the Clean Water Act.

At home items such as oil, gasoline, soil, garbage, animal waste, fertilizers, and pesticides wash into the street where they can make their way into our waterways. These contaminants have impacted water quality in the following ways:

  • The decline of shoreline aesthetics
  • The closing of shellfishing bays
  • Sedimentation of boating channels
  • Poor water quality
  • Degraded wetlands and wildlife habitats

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