Office of Wastewater Management programs assure the proper construction of adequate water supply and sewage disposal facilities for all development. Through administration of state health and environmental laws, application of the department’s density standards, and coordination of reviews with other agencies, staff helps mitigate the deleterious effects of development on the environment and groundwater. These critical programs are essentially self-supporting. Between fees, fines, and state aid, the Office of Wastewater Management annually generates approximately $2 million in revenues.
Single-family residential construction applications are reviewed for conformance to construction standards for water supplies and sewage disposal systems. The plan review and construction inspection services help to insure that disposal systems will operate properly throughout their design life and that private and public water supply connections to all individual homes are safe and satisfactory and in compliance with all health codes.
Other Than Single-Family
The Bureaus of Engineering Review and Construction Inspection provide design review and construction inspection of all multi-residential and commercial sewage disposal systems and private water supply systems to assure compliance with health codes. The review is similar to single- family residential review although the disposal systems are much more complex resulting in longer review times as well as several submissions and reviews before an application receives approval. While single - family residential disposal systems consist primarily of either connections to existing sewage disposal systems or provision for an on site septic system, the disposal systems in this category can range from simple systems to complete sewage treatment plants for the tertiary treatment of sewage wastes.
All Single-Family and Other than Single-Family Residence projects that are approved by the department are required to be inspected prior to being placed into operation. The construction of the sewage disposal systems, private wells, evaluations of soils used, and water distribution networks are various types of inspections that are performed. The department makes every effort to honor next day inspection requests provided that the request is received by 4:00 pm the prior day. Each year, staff conducts in excess of 7,000 installation and 1000 soils inspections.
Realty Subdivision or Development plans are reviewed to assure that developers furnish adequate and satisfactory water supplies and provide for sanitary disposal of sewage through proper design of treatment and disposal facilities. The review process encompasses planning meetings with project consultants, sewage disposal design considerations, resolving problems with access to public water, observing soil tests, and environmental coordination. The approval process also requires coordination with and participation at the Suffolk County Sewer Agency whenever a project is required to provide sewage treatment in order to obtain approval. A determination on sewage treatment requirements is made based on the nature and location of the parcel as well as the proposed population density of the project.
The Office of Wastewater Management Enforcement Bureau was created to ensure that persons constructing new buildings comply with the Suffolk County Sanitary Code. The Bureau enforces the code through education as well as through the assessment of penalties. Engineering Staff and Public Health Sanitarians participate in the investigation and issuance of violations to facilities based on both site plan review and field investigations. Priority is given to violations of the Sanitary Code prohibition against construction of buildings without first obtaining approval for the sewage disposal system.
Staff provides formal review of restaurant submissions for those wishing to establish a food service business in an existing building. The adequacy of the existing sewage disposal systems is evaluated and a determination is made as to whether the building and/or the proposed uses conform to the density criteria established pursuant to Article 6 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code, and whether the sewage disposal system and water supply is satisfactory pursuant to Article 13 of the sanitary code. Staff coordinates with the food unit. The review of existing sewage disposal systems for adequacy and capacity to handle sewage from food service establishments helps to reduce public health hazards caused by overflowing sewage disposal systems.
The OWM staff reviews and processes special covenants and restrictions, which are used to express conditions of approval to the public and provide for restrictions against certain actions that would violate the approval but cannot routinely be monitored by the county. Covenants and restrictions are frequently required to be filed by the Board of Review when variances are granted. All property descriptions are checked for accuracy. A review as to form is performed by the county attorney on every covenant. Covenants are being used extensively for situations where it is necessary that conditions of approval require disclosure to some future owner, and for proposals involving transfers of development rights.
Sewage Treatment Plant Inspection Program
By way of a memorandum of understanding between the Department and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and a $125,000 grant, staff of the OWM is responsible for the inspection, sampling, compliance, and complaint investigations of all sewage treatment plants that are located within Suffolk County. Two New York State licensed sewage treatment plant operators are on staff to conduct the inspections and aid technical assistance where required.
Sewage Treatment Plant Construction Program
Staff of the OWM is responsible for the engineering review and construction management of all works that are performed at sewage treatment plants within the County. Projects range from the construction of new treatment plants and collection systems to upgrades of existing sewage treatment plants that are found to be in need of repair during Departmental inspections.
Find out more about Sanitary Waste Disposal System And Water Supply Approvals.
Staff of OWM continues to monitor the effectiveness of various sewage treatment technologies. Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) and Cromaglass technologies are still proving to be effective, while new technologies are presently being evaluated. The MBR and BESST technology have undergone pilot testing in the county and plans are presently being evaluated for these systems to gain DEC approval. In addition, staff has been working on revisions to our construction standards which should be ready for distribution in late 2006.