Peconic Estuary v Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant (I think we have a winner)

In light of the latest mass aqualife die offs in the Peconic Bay Estuary, of both turtles and fish, and the prediction that through the summer more mass fish die offs are likely, thought I would provide concrete tips we all can do.

It is so sad to see the Peconic Bay at this tipping point. According to the NY Times article that came out this past weekend 85% of homeowners responded they like living on the east end because of the water: the bays, ponds, and ocean. Yet there is little awareness of the septic systems, sewage treatment and lifestyle (I’m looking at you golfers and sharehouses) choices that are causing their own investments, if not the environment around then to fail.

We all can and must do the small things: get septics cleaned regularly, report shared and overcrowded homes – which are zoned to the exact person per acre of what our aquifers can sustain, cease fishing and conscientiously abstain from golfing.

Apart from the above, I do not see how Riverhead sewage treatment plant has come out of this investigation and NYTimes article without even a mention. The levels of nitrogen they are dumping are higher than allowed by law since 2007 and there were three leaks in the past 6 months.  They have not been up to code since 2007 and lawmakers, particularly Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, hope to continue to extend their sub-standard operation by DEC permit.

Perhaps most concerning is the geographic proximity to the Peconic Estuary – the Riverhead sewage treatment plant sits immediately next to if not on top of parts of the Peconic Estuary. Riverhead, and its sewage treatment facilities are illegally dumping nitrogen rich waste water into the Peconic immediately adjacent to the Estuary (see cover photo). And it continues even as we speak. As mass fish and turtle die offs threaten entire food chains, ecosystems, and neighborhoods Riverhead is running their sewage treatment plant on top of the Peconic Estuary.


Distance from Peconic Estuary to Riverhead Sewage Plant is approximately 2 min (4 if you take the street).

This plant needs to be brought up to code ASAP or shut down. And this is the main reason sewage systems out east make absolutely no sense. It’s like mandating everyone drink bottled water from fracking upstate NY bc groundwater is not sustainable. Let’s make it sustainable: let us use what we have, the amazing sand and soil filtration and aquifer in a sustainable way and thus save pumping, treatment, energy and environmental costs (and disasters) up stream.

So, I’m going to ask you to take one more action – write the DEC attn: Susan Ackerman, NYSDEC Region 1 Headquarters, SUNY at Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790 or email to and say NO to forgiving the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant for failing to upgrade since 2007, and to authorize a fine of 1$ for every fish and turtle killed by this negligence.

For further information you can contact the plant or email Michael ReichelSewer District Superintendent from their website:

Fish_versus_Riverhead Sewage Plant

Fish v Riverhead Sewage Plant

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave A Reply