News Flash

Legislative District 10

Posted on: September 20, 2023

Legislature Highlights Successful Program to Replace Failing Cesspools


Legislature Highlights Successful Program to Replace Failing and Outdated Cesspools Harmful to Public Health and Local Environment

Program Grants Eligible Property Owners up to $20,000 for Nitrogen Reducing Septic Upgrades

Locust Valley, NY – Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello and Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip today joined with representatives of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, the North Shore Land Alliance, and the Long Island Regional Planning Council to highlight Nassau County’s successful SEPTIC Replacement Program as it nears its 100th installation of new Innovative and Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (I/A OWTS).
The SEPTIC program provides grant funding to eligible recipients to replace a conventional or failing septic system with an innovative and alternative onsite wastewater treatment system.  Nassau County is offering grants of 50% of the costs, up to $20,000, for homeowners or small businesses to install state-of-the-art nitrogen reducing septic systems to better protect public health and the local environment.
Tens of thousands of homes and small businesses in Nassau County located along the North Shore are currently served by cesspools and septic systems. Reversing degradation of water quality will depend on replacement of existing systems with new, individual I/A OWTS designed to remove nitrogen. When properly designed, sited, installed, managed, and maintained, these new septic systems provide a cost-effective and environmentally sound alternative to sewers in areas that are outside designated sewer areas. These systems significantly reduce nitrogen, biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids, before being discharged below grade to leaching structures.
I/A OWTS can provide greater performance reliability and reduce the number of pump outs for homeowners that currently pump out their wastewater systems more than once per year, as well improve property values and reduce the risks of disease.
Nassau County residents and small businesses that discharge less than 1,000 gallons a day of wastewater are eligible for grants to install these new septic systems. Grants are made possible through the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, and the County’s American Rescue Plan Act funds.
“Being on an island, water is one of our most precious resources, for both public health and our economy,” said Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip. “This grant program allows us to ease the financial impact for residents when it comes to replacing outdated and environmentally harmful septic systems and take the necessary steps to protect and preserve our water quality and the environment for future generations. Our north shore communities will benefit greatly from this program, and I urge anyone who qualifies to take advantage of it.”
Malfunctioning septic systems are one of the leading causes of groundwater pollution on Long Island. Nitrogen, disease-causing bacteria and viruses from wastewater can contaminate drinking water supplies. Septic system failure is also one of the leading sources of surface water pollution, contributing to toxic algae blooms and the suffocation of aquatic life.

“The Nassau County S.E.P.T.I.C. program is a critical component of the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan and its goal of reducing nitrogen discharge into waters across Long Island.  With close to 100 Advanced Nitrogen-Reducing septic system installations to date, the program has been a success largely thanks to the support of the County, specifically Presiding Officer Nicolello, and County Executive Blakeman’s administration,” said Derek Betts, District Manager of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District. “Not only has the County matched state septic funds to increase individual award amounts from $10,000 to $20,000, but its constant engagement with the program has allowed the District to streamline the County reimbursement process and help pioneering County residents get Advanced Nitrogen-Reducing septic systems into the ground while avoiding the pitfalls of onerous out-of-pocket expenses. We look forward to the continued growth of the program and the beneficial effects it will have on Long Island’s aquifers and coastal waters.”

“Water quality in our bays is critical to Long Island’s quality of life. These state-of-the-art septic systems help reduce one of the largest threats to that water quality. The grants offered by Nassau County offer an easy way for property owners to help address this.” – Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee.
“Nitrogen pollution from aging cesspools is one of the most serious threats facing our sole source aquifer and waterways. Along with our partners on the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan, the Long Island Regional Planning Council is actively combatting excess nitrogen on many fronts. Nassau County’s SEPTIC grant program will help homeowners replace their antiquated systems and make a positive environmental contribution. The LIRPC commends the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District, the leadership of County Executive Blakeman and Presiding Officer Nicolello and the entire Legislative branch on this significant program,” stated John Cameron, Chairman, Long Island Regional Planning Council.  

Eligibility criteria includes:

• Residences must be single family, owner-occupied and a property owner’s primary residence. 

• The residence/small business must be served by a septic system or cesspool and not connected to a sewer system or located within a proposed sewer district. 

• Property does not have any outstanding or open real property tax liens. 

• There must be a valid certificate of occupancy (CO) or equivalent. Income verification (provide a copy of each property 

Qualifying residents or small businesses should contact or 516-364-5861 for more information and instructions on how to apply. 

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