Nitrogen Reducing Septic Systems

Nitrogen Reducing Septic Systems Importance

Nitrogen pollution from cesspools and septic systems has been identified as the largest single cause of degraded water quality contributing to beach closures, restrictions on shellfishing, toxic algae blooms, and massive fish kills. A conventional onsite septic system was never designed to remove nitrogen. The average residential septic system discharges approximately 40 pounds of nitrogen per year. For homeowners close to surface waters in Suffolk County nitrogen can rapidly reach surface waters where it contributes to the degradation of our marshes, bays, and beaches. Even inland, nitrogen from septic systems will eventually reach the groundwater and surface waters.

Thousands of parcels are currently served by polluting cesspools and septic systems, but will never connect to a sewer system. Reversing the degradation of water quality will depend on the replacement of existing systems with new, individual Innovative and Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (I/A OWTS).

Please visit the below organizations' websites for more resources.

Suffolk County: Reclaim Our Water:

Suffolk County Septic Improvement Program Overview


Over the past several years, Suffolk County has assertively set the stage for the transition to the use of these new systems. To make the cost of I/A systems that remove nitrogen to protect water quality more affordable for homeowners, Suffolk County has developed the Septic Improvement Program. Under the Reclaim Our Water Septic Improvement Program, homeowners who decide to replace their cesspool or septic system with the new technologies will be eligible for a grant of up to $30,000 from Suffolk County and New York State to offset the cost of one of the new systems. In addition to the grant, homeowners can qualify to finance the remaining cost of the systems over 15 years at a low 3% fixed interest rate. The loan program will be administered by Community Development Corporation of Long Island Funding Corp, with financial support from Bridgehampton National Bank, in the amount $1 million and financial commitments from several philanthropic foundations.

Breakdown of Available Funding 
  • $10,000 base grant from Suffolk County 
  • $5,000 incentive for Low to Moderate Income 
  • $5,000 incentive for Pressurized Shallow Draining Fields/ Nitrogen Polishing Units 
  • Up to $10,000 grant from New York State (does not cover: sales tax, pumping or decommissioning, or operation & maintenance)


Grant Eligibility Criteria:

In order for an application to be considered for a grant the following preliminary criteria must be met:

  • The residence must be served by a septic system or cesspool and not connected to a sewer system or located within a proposed sewer district.
  • New construction on vacant lots is not eligible.
  • Property does not have any outstanding or open real property tax liens.
  • There must be a valid certificate of occupancy (CO) or equivalent issued by the applicable town or village.
  • Income verification (Property Owners must provide a copy of each property owner’s most recently filed federal income tax return).

Please note that in order to complete the application process, you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Copy of property deed
  • Proof of Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Copy of most recent property tax bill
  • Copy of Certificate of Occupancy or equivalent
  • If applicable: the first two pages of property owner(s)’ latest year’s tax return along with signature page. 
  • If applicable: proof of sanitary system failure (photo, service receipts, etc.)

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Town of East Hampton’s Website:

Of the approximately 19,400 developed parcels in the Town of East Hampton, more than 12,500 parcels are using antiquated cesspools and 6,700 use traditional leach field systems to treat wastewater; neither of which were designed to treat for nitrogen removal. Additionally, 6,330 developed parcels, or 32% of the total, are located in the Water Protection District; a critical environmental area. With the passage of the local law extending the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) and expanding its use to include Water Quality Improvement Projects, the Town has access to funding to incentivize the voluntary upgrade of standard sanitary systems to Low-Nitrogen Sanitary Systems.

Based on a 10 year average of CPF revenue (2005-2015), approximately $4,600,000 will available annually for water quality improvement projects.  Over the life of the CPF WQIP, approximately $152,000,000 will be available for water quality improvement projects.  This funding would allow the Town of East Hampton to make significant improvements to water quality using a targeted approach in areas of concern.

Breakdown of Available Funding 

  • Up to $20,000 if your property is located within the Water Protection District or you qualify for affordable housing
  • Up to $15,000 if your property is outside of the Water Protection Distric

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Town of Southampton's Website:

Town of Southampton Septic Incentive Program Overview
 

Breakdown of Available Funding 

I/A OWTS Rebates are available through the Community Preservation Fund for systems within the Medium and High Priority Areas of the WQIPP and for income eligible applicants as follows:

  • If you earn less than $300,000 /year, up to 100% of the cost to a maximum of $20,000 is available
  • If you earn between $300,001 - $500,000/year, up to 50% of the cost to a maximum of $20,000 is available
  • If you earn between $500,001 - $1,000,000/year, up to 25% of the cost to a maximum of $20,000 is available
  • $1,000,001 or more shall not be eligible


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Wastewater Works Inc.

Nitrogen Reducing Septic Systems