PATCHOGUE, N.Y. – Deputy Presiding Officer Rob Calarco has announced a community seminar on the Suffolk County Septic Improvement Program. The meeting will be on Wednesday, June 5th from 7 PM to 8:30 PM at the Patchogue-Medford Library. He will be joined by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. The Septic Improvement Program is a grant program that offers qualifying residents up to $30,000 in funds to acquire new Innovative and Alternative (I/A) Nitrogen Removal Septic Systems. This state-of-the-art technology drastically reduces the amount of nitrogen that leeches into groundwater from household septic system.
“We are facing a major crisis because the amount of nitrogen that is seeping into the ground is putting our future at risk,” said Calarco. “Suffolk County has moved quickly to get these I/A Systems tested and approved for use. Now it is time we start getting them in the ground so that we can protect our future.”
I/A Septic Systems use biological processes to treat wastewater and remove nitrogen. Nitrogen pollution has been shown to be a major contributing factor in the degradation of water quality. It has contributed to toxic algae blooms that can cause beach closures, restrictions on shell fishing, and major fish kills. This has caused a major decline in the Long Island shell fish industry, which was once a major industry in Suffolk County. Large swaths of Suffolk County lack sewers for single-family homes so wastewater has been primarily disposed of in cesspools. Cesspools do not reduce the amount of nitrogen escaping into the ground. Septic Systems that treat wastewater for nitrogen came into use on Long Island in the 1970’s and 80’s. However, the nitrogen reduction from septic systems has been shown to not be substantial enough to solve the overall problem. I/A Septic Systems go even further than traditional septic systems by substantially reducing the amount of nitrogen in household wastewater.
“The evidence is clear that I/A Septic Systems are critical in our fight to preserve our water quality,” added Calarco. “But we also recognize that the cost to install one of these new systems can be prohibitive for a middle class family. That is why Suffolk County and New York State are stepping up to offer these grants. I am inviting residents in my district to come and join us for this community meeting to learn how they can get one of these systems for their home."