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The Importance of Wastewater Treatment on Long Island

Most homeowners don’t like to think about wastewater; it’s messy and conjures up undesirable images in their minds. When we force ourselves to think about where our waste goes and how it affects the environment, we become aware of the importance of the wastewater treatment process and how vital each stage is to the environment and for that matter, to mankind. Our drinking water, household needs, fishing industry, transportation industry, and commerce are dependent on our wastewater treatment process running optimally and efficiently. On Long Island and in many other parts of the world, discharging inadequately treated or completely untreated wastewater is a serious concern and causes health problems, disease and degradation of the surface waters that surround Long Island.

Before 1972, Long Islanders dumped untreated raw sewage directly into cesspools, which are little more than concrete-lined holes in the ground. Due to the sandy soils in our area, this raw sewage percolated through the ground and into our surface waters quite rapidly and is the primary cause of the poor state of our fisheries and hard-shelled seafood industry today. After 1972, all new construction was required to have a septic tank to separate out the solids and provide a basic level of treatment prior to discharging our wastewater into the cesspool. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of homes were grandfathered in with cesspools only and homeowners were allowed to replace their cesspools with cesspool-only new systems.

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In July of 2019, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services revised the sanitary code to require that any replacement system have a septic tank installed upstream of their cesspools. Additionally, the grandfathering of cesspool-only systems is no longer possible. Homeowners in Suffolk County who have a failing system are now faced with the cost of adding a septic tank to their cesspool-only system, which can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 dollars installed.

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Realizing that simply adding a septic tank does very little towards solving the wastewater problem, the County is encouraging homeowners to switch to a more modern, nitrogen-reducing onsite treatment system typically called an I/A OWT System. In order to incentivize homeowners to make the switch they are giving grants that mostly pay for the entire system. The choice is yours: you can fork over thousands of dollars to replace your septic system with 1970’s technology or you can apply for a grant that will pay for a modern, miniature wastewater treatment plant that helps protect the environment, increases the value of your home and will make you the envy of all of your neighbors!

So how do you get one of the (mostly) free upgraded septic systems for your home? You can go to the County website https://www.reclaimourwater.info/ or you can call us and we will help you through the process.

Click HERE to learn how Homeowners may be eligible to upgrade their septic systems through the Septic Upgrade Incentive Program.

Click HERE for an application for Seweage Disposal and Water Supply Facilities for a NEW SINGLE DWELLING ON VACANT PROPERTYSeptic Grant Rebate Chart

Below are useful terms to learn more about septic systems:


Septic System Do's

Bad Practices

Where We Are Located:

85 South 4th Street
Bay Shore, NY 11706

T: 631-202-0640
F: 631-667-0617

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