SCDHS Sanitarian, Gary Chmurzynski, collecting water quality samples in the Peconic Estuary. Photo courtesy of Kathy Governale.
"As employees of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS), Division of Environmental Quality, Bureau of Marine Resources, we, as Sanitarians are involved in the sampling and monitoring of our local waterways. This includes streams and bays in both the Peconic and South Shore Estuaries. We also have stations in the Long Island Sound and conduct seasonal sampling and inspecting of our permitted bathing beaches. Our program includes monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly and seasonal testing. Special sampling events would include heavy rainfall, consumer complaints, brown and red tide sightings, and fish kills to name a few. Our team samples by boat and also by land depending on the location.
Our sampling parameters include: Nutrients, Total and dissolved, Coliform, Enterococci, and E. coli bacteria, Total Suspended Solids, Chlorophyll-a, Phytoplankton, Aureococcus, and Alexandrium (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)).The organics we test for include Carbamate Pesticides, Dactal Metabolites, Volatile Compounds, Chlorinated Pesticides and Micro-extractables,, Semi-volatile Organic Compounds, Herbicide Metabolites and Metals. We also take physical measurements: Temperature, Secchi Depth, Dissolved Oxygen, Salinity, Conductivity, Light attenuation and pH.
To conclude, we sample year round in all kinds of weather. It’s an exciting job and gratifying to be part of an organization involved in the monitoring of our precious natural resources."
Harbor seals sunning themselves on the beach. Photo courtesy of Kathy Governale.