A resolution to fund the development of a hydrothermal model of the Long Island Sound and Peconic Estuary was approved by the Suffolk County Legislature at its March 24th general meeting. The model will help predict future environmental impacts from point sources of heat being discharged into the Long Island Sound from utilities including the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford, Connecticut.
The fact that average water temperatures have rose by 1 degree Fahrenheit per decade over the past 40 years prompted Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) to lobby Suffolk County for funding to conduct a study. Warming waters are impacting the ecology of the marine environment- there are significant reductions in cold water species such as lobster and winter flounder.
The study builds on a hydrodynamic model of the Sound already developed by Stony Brook that analyzes the impact of a permit requested from Dominion Power to use Long Island Sound's water to cool the nuclear reactors at the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant.
"The Long Island Sound and Peconic Estuary are federally protected water bodies whose ecology is being severely impacted by rapidly rising water temperatures" said Legislator Schneiderman (I-Hampton Bays) who sponsored legislation authorizing the study "this study will allow the county to comment knowledgeably on the proposed cooling permit by giving the county an understanding of how the thermal discharge will impact these critical water bodies."
The Millstone Power Plant releases approximately 15 BTU's of heat each hour into the Long Island Sound about 11 miles north of Orient Point.
The resolution, sponsored by Deputy Presiding Officer Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Hampton Bays) amends the 2015 adopted operating budget by transferring $79,435 from Fund 477. The Suffolk County Water Quality Review Committee, which oversees fund 477, recommends funding for programs which are appropriate uses of Suffolk County Water quality protection and restoration programs. The committee unanimously approved Schneiderman's proposal on Friday February 27.