Centerport, NY: Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer joined the County Executive, environmental advocates, and local leaders today to announce the installation of two new Innovative Alternative On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems (I/A OWTS) at the Vanderbilt Museum, located on Northport Bay. The installation of the technology builds on the body of work done in recent years to significantly reduce the harmful impacts of nitrogen pollution in the bay, once the epi-center of red tide in the region. With more than 115,000 people visiting the park each year, this upgrade will benefit our waterways by reducing nitrogen discharge at the site by approximately 164 pounds annually.
“The installation of these new innovative systems allow us to address the major contributor to water quality issues- nitrogen discharge, emanating from 360,000+ antiquated cesspools in Suffolk County. I am so pleased to see this technology brought to our county parks, specifically the Vanderbilt Museum, which sits directly beside a waterbody that we have worked so hard to restore,” stated Legislator Spencer. “Over the years, we have seen the positive results of infrastructure investments with the upgrades to Northport’s sewage treatment plant, which resulted in a massive reduction in nitrogen discharge, and produced tangible benefits including the absence of red tide and the reopening of a permanently closed Centerport beach. Now, with this investment at the Vanderbilt, we continue our progress to improve and protect our priceless natural resources.”
“We have a 6.1 billion dollar tourism economy that is underpinned by water,” stated County Executive Bellone. “With strong support from academia, business leaders and the environmental community, our region is no longer kicking the can down the road but is taking aggressive action to reverse the water quality crisis to better protect our waterways for future generations. The science is clear and the solution has been established; we need to replace outdated technologies that do not reduce nitrogen pollution with new technologies that do.”
To date, the County has installed two advanced wastewater treatment systems at other County Parks – Lake Ronkonkoma and Meschutt -- and is currently in the process of installing 13 additional systems at various County Parks.
At the press conference, officials also announced that during the month of October alone, more than 100 residents have applied for grants through the County’s Septic Improvement Program, and that next year, the county plans to install 1,200 nitrogen reducing wastewater treatment systems, doubling the amount currently installed.
“Treating our sewage here in the year 2019 is not a luxury we can’t afford, but rather it is a necessity that we can’t afford not to do. This is what change looks like, one installation at a time,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “I want to thank the County Executive and the Legislature for their support on this issue, because advocates can’t do it alone- we need a collaborative effort. Good science, good advocacy, and good elected officials, gives us good policy, and fortunately that’s what we have seen on the water quality issue in Suffolk County.”
The installation of the new systems is part of the County’s Reclaim Our Water initiative, which seeks to reduce nitrogen pollution of surface and ground waters. Homeowners outside of a sewer district, are encouraged to apply for grant funding and low interest loans to assist in paying to upgrade to an innovative system -- to find out more, please visit www.reclaimourwater.info
Poster displaying the new Fuji Clean System and HydroAction System installed on the grounds of the Vanderbilt. The systems replaced cesspools at the guardhouse and planetarium.