Town throws support behind DEC sampling at Cornell’s Southold lab

Cornell Cooperative Extension's lab at Cedar Beach in Southold. (Cyndi Murray photo)
Cornell Cooperative Extension’s lab at Cedar Beach in Southold. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Southold Town is drafting a letter to the state Department of Environmental Conservation in support of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s plan to have its lab in Southold certified to test water samples.

During Tuesday morning’s work session, Southold Trustee John Bredemeyer told Town Board members he believes shellfishing areas could reopen sooner if Cornell’s Cedar Beach lab became DEC certified to test samples.

Mr. Bredemeyer said that some of Southold’s waterways closed to shellfishing have been “mischaracterized” since the DEC is unable to measure all the samples submitted by Trustees that could potentially prove they are safe.

“It is becoming very difficult to get in these additional samples that could open up waterways to residents,” he said. “With all the work we have been putting in it is beyond frustrating at this point.”

Mr. Bredemeyer asked the town to support writing a letter to the DEC encouraging it to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of using Cornell’s lab as a certified testing center. The town would not have to commit any monetary support for the lab, he said.

Cornell has considered having the DEC certify its Cedar Beach lab, but has never taken formal steps to do so, Mr. Bredemeyer said. With town support, both Cornell and the Trustees believe it has a better chance of succeeding, he said.

Members of the Town Board agreed to the letter.

“I think another lab can only be a good thing,” Councilwoman Louisa Evans said.

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