An award of $10.025 million in State funding has allowed the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to increase the amounts of grants to homeowners who choose to replace their existing cesspools or septic systems with new Innovative/Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced today. As part of an expansion of the County’s own Septic Improvement Program (SIP), homeowners who qualify under guidelines of the State Septic System Replacement Fund may be eligible to receive as much as $20,000 in combined County and State funding, according to the County Executive. The additional funding will make it less expensive for homeowners to voluntarily replace aging and failing cesspools with state-of-the-art technologies that significantly improve treatment, extend system life, and enhance safety.
“As the County continues its historic work to improve water quality, New York State has recognized Suffolk as the leading county statewide in the battle to reduce nitrogen pollution by awarding us 70 percent of the first year’s allocation under the State Septic Replacement Program,” said Bellone. “As I have said many times, replacing cesspools and septic systems is critical if we are to improve water quality, but it will never work unless we can make it affordable for homeowners. The County’s own program was an important step in the right direction, but the addition of this state funding will make it even easier for homeowners to replace their existing system with one designed to better protect the environment.”
Under the County’s Septic Improvement Program, homeowners can qualify for grants of up to $10,000 to replace their systems with new technologies which have been pilot tested and approved for use under the County’s Reclaim Our Water initiative. Under the State’s program approved in 2018, state funding can be added to local grants, making homeowners eligible for as much as $20,000 in combined County and State funding. The average cost of a system installed under the County program since it began is just under $22,000.
“The use of County and State grant funding can save homeowners who must replace their existing systems thousands of dollars, making it much more affordable to upgrade to a new IA system,” said Bellone. “Suffolk County is thankful to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in helping to make this state funding available, and for his strong support of our efforts to improve water quality.”
“Through this grant funding from New York State, Suffolk residents will be able to match the investment and commitment our county has already made to improving water quality,” said Majority Leader Kara Hahn, Chairwoman of the Legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee. “We all want to do right by our environment, but that obligation tends to wain the more significant the burden. With this additional funding, homeowners will have even greater incentive to replace antiquated cesspools and septic systems and find further proof that protecting our water won’t come at a unsustainable cost.”
Suffolk County has created an easy-to-use electronic application process for homeowners who qualify to apply. For more information, visit www.reclaimourwater.info.