(Hauppauge, NY- February 6, 2013) – In a move designed to further protect the Peconic Estuary, Legislator Al Krupski partnered with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on legislation passed Tuesday funding a pilot study of clustered wastewater treatment alternatives for the Peconic Estuary Watershed. The $90,000 appropriated from the Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program funded by the quarter percent sales tax, will fund a pilot study to determine the viability of clustered treatment of decentralized wastewater in the watershed area. The Peconic Estuary Watershed, which begins at the headwaters of the Peconic River and extends east, draining into the bays between the North and South Forks, extends to portions of five towns, including Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southampton, East Hampton, Southold and Shelter Island.
“During the last decade, a great deal has been done to protect the estuary, one of the great environmental treasures of the East End, including sewage plant upgrades, storm water abatement and wetlands restoration,” said Legislator Krupski. “But more needs to be done, especially in the area of wastewater treatment. This pilot study will provide information that will help Suffolk County and local municipalities make informed decisions about the implementation and potential benefits of clustered wastewater treatment systems in existing communities located within the Peconic Estuary.”
“I want to thank Legislator Krupski for working with me on this important environmental study,” said County Executive Bellone. “Mounting evidence suggests a link between onsite individual residential wastewater treatment systems and water quality within the estuary. Many older coastal communities still rely on cesspools and onsite septic wastewater treatment. This pilot study is an essential step in an ongoing process to protect the estuary and Suffolk water quality for future generations by identifying the most viable wastewater treatment alternatives for the many structures that already exist within the watershed area.”
Clustering enables several residential units to connect to a common wastewater treatment system, which allows for the utilization of more innovative systems and offers potential cost advantages, as well as environmental benefits. The pilot will execute the planning and preliminary design of pilot projects for clustered wastewater treatment in existing communities, with a goal of reducing nitrogen loading in the estuary that leaches into groundwater and migrates to surface water bodies.
The study will be conducted by Peconic Green Growth, a not-for-profit organization, under the direction of the Department of Economic Development and Planning, Division of Environmental Planning. Peconic Green Growth submitted a grant application as a result of a call for submissions and was one of nine projects chosen by the Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program Review Committee to receive grants.