Sayville R.I.S.E. Students Accept $2,500 Grant To Tackle Local Water Quality Issues

  • Sayville High School students accept check.

    June 13, 2023

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    On Tuesday, June 6, Sayville High School sophomores Adria Vargas and Taylor Carpentieri received a $2,500 grant from the Long Island Regional Planning Council and members of the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan for winning the Long Island Water Quality Challenge

    On hand at the small ceremony were Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, Town of Islip Councilman John M. Lorenzo and Sayville Schools Superintendent Dr. Marc Ferris. 

    “We’re so proud of our students who take on projects that are meaningful to the world around us and this includes our local community,” Dr. Ferris said at the presentation. 

    The Long Island Water Quality Challenge is a competition that promotes project-based learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.)  Adria and Taylor entered the competition through Sayville High School’s R.I.S.E. (Research in Science and Engineering) program. 

    The challenge aimed to help students develop a greater understanding of how classroom curriculums can be applied to protecting Long Island’s crucial water resources – with a specific focus on reducing or eliminating nitrogen pollution through the implementation of the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan (L.I.N.A.P.) initiative. L.I.N.A.P. is a multiyear initiative to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering Long Island’s groundwater and surface water, stormwater runoff and fertilizers.

    Adria and Taylor designed a biofilter to limit nitrogen pollution from moving through the local watershed and coastal waterways via stormwater runoff from Sayville High School. Excess nitrogen in surface waters can cause eutrophication (excess algae growth or “bloom”). Toxic algal blooms lead to low oxygen conditions, fish kills, and degraded wetlands and marine habitats. Excess nitrogen in groundwater can result in drinking water high in nitrate (a form of nitrogen) which poses a threat to human health.

    With this grant, Adria and Taylor will put their plan into action and begin construction of a biofiltration system to limit excess nitrogen runoff from Sayville High School into Green’s Creek, ultimately emptying into the Great South Bay. Adria and Taylor have laid the groundwork for future Sayville R.I.S.E. students to monitor and protect Sayville’s valuable water resources.

    “This goes beyond just a simple project and an award because what you’ve done has an impact and makes a difference on our future generations,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter told the students.