Archive for Health & Wellness

911 Emergency Services Upgrade

Fishers Island Telephone, Chief Flatley of the Southold Police Department, and Michael Postel the communications director for 911 in Suffolk County have been working together these past 18 months to develop an improved 911 emergency services access. The current system connected through antiquated AT&T network equipment installed in the 90’s has experienced decades of connectivity issues on the route between Fishers Island and the Southold Public Service Answer Point (PSAP).  Making this state-of-the-art upgrade to the network will increase the number of available circuits from one (1) to twenty (20).  We don’t anticipate 20 simultaneous 911 calls but, we are now ready to accommodate more than one.  Finally, the new solution is to be implemented in July.  

The importance of having reliable 911 emergency services is paramount for our community.  

Please note that if you are calling 911 from a Cellular Phone, the call will be routed over the Cellular Network and not through the Fishers Island Telephone Network.  This upgrade applies only to your local telephone service.  

An additional Enhancement to 911 service is described below: 

There is a new program called SMART911 for residents to identify key information about members of your household that would help anyone you care for in the event of an emergency whether the call to 911 is from the home or any mobile phone. You can register information that enables first responders to have visual details on an emergency location and provides information on access points like hidden driveways or gate codes. You can also provide critical medical conditions of members of your household that may need special attention to prepare first responders before they arrive.  You can also add information such as your vehicles, pets, and service animals, along with any special notes that you would want responders to know.

Your Safety Profile is Free, Private, and Secure. There is also an App for mobile phones as well.

Check for more information and registration at or on the App

If there are any questions regarding these upgraded services, please contact the Telephone Office either via email ( or by calling 1 (631) 788-7001 x4.

Thank you for your support of the Fishers Island Telephone Company.

Steve Head
Telecom Superintendent
Fishers Island Telephone Company
1 (631) 788-7001 x4

Posted in: FI News, Health & Wellness, Island Services, Utility Co

Leave a Comment (0) →

FI Drinking Water Resources: Study of Middle Farms Pond

By Professor Pete Raymond
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
May 22, 2019

Clean and sufficient water is an important part of any community’s well-being. As stated in the Fishers Island Watershed Protection Standards set by the Suffolk County Health Department, our community relies on “an interrelated fragile system of ground and surface water sources for public water supply.” Currently, we rely on a mixture of groundwater from wells and surface water from Barlow Pond. The ponds, in particular, Middle Farms Pond, are also connected to the groundwater we rely on. That is, water from the ponds flows directly into the groundwater aquifers that are used by our community.

Historically, the Island started by consuming untreated surface water. In the early 1900s water was sourced from Barlow Pond and into a distribution system without any treatment. In the 1920s a water treatment facility was built and a number of the other Island ponds, including Middle Farms, were connected to Barlow in order to augment Barlow during times of water shortage. In the 1960s two groundwater wells were placed in the Middle Farm Flats to the west of Middle Farms pond, with additional wells and a groundwater treatment facility added in the 1980s. Currently, via the new well filtration plant, the groundwater wells provide water to the Island year round. Reserve capacity can be provided with treated surface pond water from Barlow.

Google Earth image showing algal bloom in Middle Farms Pond during the early summer of 2016.

In 2016 the Northeast was hit with a major drought. During the drought, I had an active project on the Connecticut River and many of the streams of Connecticut witnessed their lowest flow in 80 years of record. This was a historic one hundred year drought. The Water Company saw signs of an algal bloom at Middle Farms Pond. In fact, the algal bloom could be seen by space from a May aerial from Google Earth. Due to the bloom, the Water Company restricted recreational use of the pond and asked me to do a preliminary evaluation of Middle Farms Pond. During the summer of 2018, I deployed an instrument, and with help from the Water Company took water samples for a number of months. I also reviewed the information made available to me from past measurements and studies. My more detailed preliminary report can be found here:

During 2018 there were no indications that Middle Farms was in, or near, bloom conditions. Oxygen and nutrient measurements were not consistent with an algal bloom, nor was the pond visually impacted as it was in 2016. My initial assessment, informed from some depth profiles of oxygen, is there is likely a large amount of organic matter, with its associated nutrients stored in the sediments of Middle Farms. This organic matter has probably accrued slowly over the past decades due to inputs of nutrients from the human activities in the watershed and with rainfall. During the summer, as water temperatures warm, this organic matter is decomposed by natural communities of bacteria and the nutrient associated with the organic matter are released. Since Middle Farms is shallow it does not thermally stratify like many deeper lakes, and these nutrients can easily and quickly diffuse into the surface waters where they support summer algal growth. During most years it appears this growth is moderate. During drought conditions, however, the water temperatures of the pond become higher due to a lower lake volume and increased sunlight. This likely leads to greater organic matter decomposition and better conditions for algal growth. Furthermore, droughts are also associated with optimal sunlight due to less frequent cloud cover that can also stimulate aquatic plant growth.

In addition to warmer water temperatures and more sunlight that stimulate algal growth from nutrients stored in the lake sediments, algal growth can be stimulated by other factors. Other potential sources of nutrients to the pond include bird waste, fertilizer and septic input from properties within the watershed, and atmospheric deposition. Furthermore, any other processes that alter the water balance of the pond and lead to low summer water levels will exacerbate the problem. Fortunately, the low level of recreational swimming does not likely have any significant impact on lake nutrient concentrations or volume.

The ponds of Fishers are an asset. They are an integral component of our water resources. They are also unique ecosystems, offering great habitat for aquatic, terrestrial and even marine organisms. As others have noted, however, the ponds of Fishers Island are also fragile. As part of my recommendations, which are expanded in the online preliminary report, I urge the Water Company to continue to understand how these ponds function, and to work with the Fishers Island community to ensure that the ponds will have an adequate amount of clean water to support the community and the organisms that rely on them.

Middle Farms Pond November 17 Photo Credit: Jane T. Ahrens

Posted in: Bulletin Board, eFogHorn, FI News, Health & Wellness, Sustainability, Utility Co

Leave a Comment (0) →

Restoring Middle Farms Pond

Middle Farms Pond has become contaminated with elevated levels of nitrates, turbidity, bacteria and algae. Although the causes are not yet clear, human activities, including potential septic leeching and fertilizer run-off, as well as boating, fishing and swimming are all potential contributing factors.

The risks are serious. For example, nitrates can cause algae blooms. While not all algae blooms are toxic, some produce a type of toxin called microcystis that can cause serious liver damage under certain conditions.

Fishers Island Water Works Corporation owns the pond and is responsible for monitoring its quality. Under the Fishers Island Water Protection Standards adopted by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services in 1997, we are also responsible for monitoring compliance with land use restriction that apply to the surrounding primary watershed.

To start the process of restoring the health of the pond, we are placing it off limits to the public. Various information and warning notices will be posted around the pond.

The absence of human activity will facilitate testing the pond water to identify the causes of contamination and target efforts to eliminate them. We have already sent notices to surrounding landowners, requesting their help in identifying potential sources of contamination in the watershed, particularly on ground sloping toward the pond and any level areas within150 yards of the shore. Fertilizers, pesticides, septic tanks and fuel storage tanks are among the possible hazards. Earlier this year we welded shut an access point where tank trucks were tapping into the pond with potentially contaminated hoses.

Closing Middle Farms Pond to boating will address another threat: the potential introduction of the invasive Zebra mussel. This fingernail-size mussel can attach itself to a boat or paddleboard that is used in another body of water and then used in Middle Farms Pond. There would be no way to eradicate the bivalve from the pond once that happens.

By removing sources of contamination and avoiding a mussel infestation, the pond could have water that is potable with little filtration within a few years. Although we are moving to produce more water from wells, preserving both Middle Farms and Barlow Ponds as back-up reservoirs is an important part of our strategy for assuring ample water supply despite the uncertainties of climate change. During droughts in the 1960s, for example, water was pumped from Middle Farms Pond to Barlow Pond for filtration and distribution into the island’s water mains.

Everyone’s understanding and cooperation with this initiative will be very much appreciated. We know that Middle Farms Pond has been enjoyed by boaters, fishermen and swimmers. Yet, we strongly believe that conserving this natural resource is part of responsible environmental stewardship and in the best interest of the water supply for the entire island community.Please feel free to contact company President, Chris Finan, or Water Superintendent, Chad Mrowka, at 631-788-7251 with any questions.

Please feel free to contact company President, Chris Finan, or Water Superintendent, Chad Mrowka, at 631-788-7251 with any questions.

Fishers Island Water Works Corporation

October 22, 2017

Middle Farms Pond November 17 Photo Credit: Jane T. Ahrens

Posted in: Bulletin Board, eFogHorn, Environment, Featured, FI News, Health & Wellness, Island Services, Sustainability, Utility Co

Leave a Comment (0) →

FI Water Works: Modernizing Our Water System

Press Release: July 28, 2017
Modernizing Our Water System

The Fishers Island Water Works Corporation continues to work on a comprehensive plan to modernize the island’s aging water infrastructure.

Phase 1 of the plan focuses on the adequacy of the island’s water sources. The first project in this phase was completed last fall with the renovation of our two wells. Those renovations significantly increased both the volume and quality of the water produced by those wells.

This year, we plan to restore a closed third well, known at the Church well, just off the road by the driving range. This work will begin in late July. If this well’s production rates and water quality prove viable, ground water from the three wells should be sufficient to supply the island at peak demand during the summer.  Water levels in Barlow Pond, our surface water reservoir, would then become less critical.

A new filtration plant for well water is also planned to handle the increase in well water volume, while meeting current and, we expect, more stringent water quality regulations in the future.

Phase 1 also includes the installation of water meters that can be read remotely and the renovation of a high-lift pump that maintains water pressure.

Later phases of the modernization plan encompass renovating or replacing the surface water treatment plant at Barlow Pond, adding water storage capacity and, over time, replacing parts of the island’s 22 miles of water mains and control valves. In combination with these improvements to water distribution and pressure, we plan to begin replacing the fire hydrants used by the Fire District.

To support these capital investments, we are applying to the New York State Public Service Commission for an increase in water rates. The application seeks to relieve a long-standing shortfall between our revenues and our rising operating expenses and capital needs.

Rates previously approved by the Commission have proved inadequate to sustain, on a seasonal customer base, a water system called upon to serve the island’s growing demand. Other markets along the New England coastline, also with seasonal populations, have rates from 47% to 138% higher than our current rates, as illustrated in the table below.

The table compares the annual cost of 3,000 gallons per month (annual total of 36,000 gallons), at the minimum rate, in several of those markets with our current minimum rate of $27.38 for 3,000 gallons.

Our proposed rates will remain below rates in these other markets. The table compares the annual cost of 3,000 gallons per month (annual total of 36,000 gallons), at the minimum rate, in several of those markets with our proposed minimum rate of $36.57 for 3,000 gallons.

Securing the fresh water supply for our Fishers Island community is our primary mission and responsibility. The remarkable dedication and professionalism of water superintendent, Chad Mrowka, and his crew, together with the work of hydrology engineers and other consultants, have produced an infrastructure development plan that is timely and well thought out. We are confident that our proposed rates are an essential next step to supporting the water needs of the island now and for the future.

A public notice with more detail on our rate application to the Commission will be issued shortly.

For more information, visit us on the web at

Posted in: eFogHorn, Featured, FI News, Health & Wellness, Island Services, Utility Co

Leave a Comment (0) →

FI Utility publishes Water Quality Report for 2016


This report is required to be delivered to all residents of our Water Company in compliance with Federal and State regulations with the exception of manganese and a monitoring violation that is discussed within. This report is designed to inform you about the quality water and services we deliver to you every day. Our constant goal is to provide you with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. The Fishers Island Water Works Company and its employees are committed to ensuring that you and your family receive the highest quality water. Please note that the information presented in this report is based on 2016 data. Click Water Quality Report below to reach the Utility website or the button for a printable version of the report.

Water Quality Report

Printable Water Quality Report 2016

Posted in: eFogHorn, Featured, FI News, Health & Wellness, Island Services, Utility Co

Leave a Comment (0) →