Featured Letter: A price worth paying to protect our waters

To the editor:

The Southold Town Planning Board has one difficult impending decision on whether to permit the senior housing construction in Cutchogue. 

On one side of the issues are the seniors that have lived on the North Fork and would like to continue to live here. A 55-and-over community seems to be the only viable answer for them. It doesn’t seem fair to them to be forced to leave. On the other side of the issues, which includes our seniors, is the stress on the delicate environment that will suffer from the construction of their community.

My wife and I are part-time residents who live on Harbor Lane in Cutchogue just 200 steps from East Creek. Before we moved in, we had our well water tested on two occasions in 2011, one privately at our own expense, and the other by Suffolk County. Both results were the same — indicating an unsafe nitrate level. This condition forced us to abandon the well and hook up to Suffolk water at a $5,000 expense. We were informed that the well water was safe for our consumption, but not for children or pregnant mothers (our son and daughter-in-law were expecting their first child).

I do not think that we can ignore this contamination of our bay system any longer. Shellfish can not be harvested from East Creek and Mud Creek due to excessive nitrate levels. The past fish kill in the Peconic River is nature’s way of telling us that we can no longer look the other way. There are more cesspools out here than ever before, and I think we are at the tipping point. This is indeed a wake-up call.

Kevin McAllister, from Defend H20, who doesn’t live here, reiterated this problem. Mr. McAllister stated that the proposed waste system for the community is not sufficient enough to help keep our waters safe. The developers should plan a self-contained sewage treatment facility in the community to ensure that we don’t go over that tipping point.

I realize that a treatment plant would greatly increase the price of housing, but a price cannot be put on our waters.

Robert Buoneto, Cutchogue