Save the Lake – Save the Pond

How Do Pollutants Enter the Lake and Pond?

  • Groundwater: A significant percentage of pollution entering Lake Montauk and Fort Pond is due to poorly maintained septic systems
  • Runoff: Pollutants such as fertilizers, oils, cleaners, and pet waste are carried by rain and snowmelt directly from unbuffered adjacent land,roads, and docks into surface waters
  • Stormwater Conveyances: Although you may not live on the water, pollutants entering storm drains or streams from your property and/ or roads are delivered untreated directly into waterbodies

What Are the Effects?

  • Nitrogen loading can lead to harmful algal blooms, and can even increase toxicity levels of the algae
  • Bacteria in the water makes swimming and recreation dangerous for our pets and families
  • Toxic chemicals and waste can contaminate our drinking water supply
  • Water quality has a profound effect on the birds, fish, and shellfish that live in and around the Lake and Pond

Groundwater pollution illustration

What You Can Do

  • Wastewater Treatment
    • Pledge to have your septic or cesspool inspected and pumped regularly based on usage
    • Consider upgrading to a new low-nitrogen system – both Suffolk County and the Town of East Hampton are offering incentives!
  • Reduce stormwater runoff and recharge the aquifer
    • Slow: Use native plants to create rain gardens and buffer zones
    • Store: Collect water in rain barrels to use during droughts
    • Filter: Reduce paved/impervious surfaces on your property
  • Practice Sustainable Property Management
    • Use toxin-free landscaping
    • S.T.O.P. – Stop Throwing Out Pollutants
  • Educate your friends and neighbors about how they can affect the water quality in Lake Montauk and Fort Pond!

What We Do On the Land Matters

Locate your property on the maps below

Understanding the relationship between your property and the water around us is the first step to helping restore Montauk’s waters.

Land Use Around Lake Montauk

How does development in Montauk impact water quality?

Wastewater systems in Montauk are mostly individual systems. In more densely developed areas with a greater concentration of septic systems, there is a higher risk of groundwater contaminants entering surface waters, but there are also opportunities in those areas to implement neighborhood-scale solutions.

Depth of groundwater map

How far do I have to dig on my Montauk property to hit water?

The deeper the water is beneath your feet, the better the natural system is able to trap and process contaminants from your property as water flows to Lake Montauk and Fort Pond.

Groundwater Travel Time map

How long does it take for pollution from my property to get to Lake Montauk or Fort Pond?

Generally, the closer you are to a water body (lake, pond, stream, or wetland) the faster pollution from your property will reach surface waters.

Surface Runoff map

What role does stormwater pollution play in the water quality problems in Lake Montauk and Fort Pond?

Pollutants on the roads and other manmade surface are washed off during rainfall and make their way toward our surface waters. Slowing and storing stormwater captures and filters out pollutants such as oil, fertilizers, pesticides, pet/animal waste and sediment, keeping it from entering our local waterways. Improving our stormwater infrastructure is critical to restoring Lake Montauk and Fort Pond.