SEPTIC DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM - FAQ

Why Should I participate?

Nitrogen from residential septic systems has been identified as a significant factor in the degradation of Suffolk County bays and marshes. By participating in this demonstration program you will be out front in the effort to protect Suffolk County’s natural resources. You will be in the vanguard of anticipated county-wide conversion to advanced treatment of sanitary wastewater. And the best part? You will be receiving a newly installed advanced wastewater treatment system and maintenance for five years, both for free, an estimated value of between $15,000 and $20,000.

What are these systems?

The systems being installed in this demonstration project are referred to as Innovative/Advanced Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems or I/A OWTS. They perform like miniature sewage treatment plants.

How do they work?

These systems are designed to facilitate natural biological treatment of the wastewater. They provide an environment where naturally occurring bacteria utilize the materials in the wastewater for energy and in the process reduce the nitrogen content, the biological oxygen demand and the total suspended solids. This provides a significantly cleaner effluent to the environment.

Where are these systems installed?

Three of the manufacturers systems are designed to be installed underground. One of the manufacturers (BUSSE) installs the system aboveground in an area such as a basement, garage or shed and the system discharges the effluent to an underground leaching system.

How much will the systems cost me to install?

There will be no cost to you for the installation of the system. The manufacturers are donating the systems and installation costs and maintenance for five years. This is a value of approximately $15,000 to $20,000 that you will be receiving gratis.

Is there any cost to operate the system?

Yes, these systems all use some electricity. Based on available information the cost to run the systems will be in the area of $5 to $20 per month.

Will there be any costs associated with maintaining the system?

The cost for maintaining the system will be covered by the system supplier for the first 5 years. After that you will have to pay for an annual maintenance contract, the average annual cost of which may vary by supplier but is expected to be around $200-$400, based on data from other jurisdictions with developed market for advanced treatment systems.

Are there any nuisance issues with the system?

Based on information relayed to us from areas that allow these systems we do not anticipate any nuisance type issues with these systems. When these systems are properly maintained, there should be no issues.

Will there be any indirect costs associated with participation in the demonstration program?

There will be some cost associated with filing covenants that will be required to have an advanced onsite wastewater treatment system installed on your property.

Do I have to be in the house 365 days a year for this system to work?

The house should be your primary residence and occupied most days. Vacation time away will not undermine the performance of your advanced onsite wastewater treatment system.

Why does the existing sanitary system have to be in the front yard?

The demonstration systems are required to be in the front yard so there is easy access to them that precludes rerouting of interior lines. Interior plumbing is outside the scope of this project.

How often can I expect people to be looking at the system on my property?

This is a demonstration program. In addition to system monitoring and maintenance visits the system will be shown to small groups for educational purposes. It is expected that these educational visits will be about twice a month for the first six months and will occur less frequently after that. There may be educational visits for up to 2 years after the systems are installed. You will always be notified prior to these visits.

How often will the system be sampled?

For the first 6 months there will be monthly sampling of the system. After that the system will be sampled 4 times a year. The systems will be sampled for a total of 2 years. After this 2 year period the only sampling that will be done will be included as part of the systems annual maintenance contract.

If selected what happens next?

If you are selected to participate in the demonstration project you will be notified by the Department of Economic Development and Planning. You will then enter into an agreement with the system supplier. The system lay out and installation will be designed for your specific property. Prior to the installation of the I/A OWTS a covenant will have to be filed that requires the new system to be properly maintained by yourself and any future owners of the property.