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County Executive

Posted on: August 9, 2021

Nassau County Announces Major Funding Boost to Replace Outdated Cesspools

Nassau County, NY (August 9, 2021) – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced today that the County will be accepting applications from residents and small businesses to replace their conventional or failing cesspools or septic systems with environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art technology that reduces nitrogen, thereby better protecting public health and the local environment.

The SEPTIC program, made possible thanks to a $2 million grant from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, will provide matched funding with an additional $2 million grant from the American Rescue Plan. Nassau County will now be offering grants up to $20,000 to defray the costs of installing a nitrogen reducing septic system.

“Water is one of our most precious resources, but nitrogen pollution from cesspools and septic systems has been identified as one of the largest causes of poor water quality and contributes to toxic algae blooms, which contaminate our water and leads to inhabitable conditions for marine life. I encourage eligible property owners to participate in SEPTIC to take advantage of this opportunity to update their septic systems, to help preserve our water quality and environment for generations to come,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New York State is excited to partner with Nassau County to help support these new septic replacements as part of our larger, comprehensive strategy to prevent excess nitrogen from impacting water quality and natural resources in the region – known as the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan. With County Executive Curran, Suffolk County, and many other public and private partners, real progress is being made and we encourage property owners to take advantage of this expanded opportunity to improve and replace septic systems and protect the environment.”

“August is National Water Quality Month, and there is no better time than now to highlight the importance of clean water projects that protect the environment and public health of those we serve,” Environmental Facilities Corporation President & CEO Joseph Rabito said. “EFC is proud to partner with communities here in Nassau County and across the state to help provide grants that will help homeowners reduce their costs to modernize aging septic systems and reduce cesspools.”

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 Innovative and Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (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.

“Here on Long Island, water quality is critical to both our economy and quality of life. Keeping it clean requires all of us to pitch in,” said Tara Schneider-Moran, Chair of the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District. “These S.E.P.T.I.C. Program grants make it more affordable for property owners who rely on septic systems to do their part and upgrade to nitrogen-reducing systems. We encourage all who are eligible to apply.”

“We look forward to working with every level of government to continue getting additional grant money to the County,” said Kevin McDonald, Project Director for Public lands at the Nature Conservancy.

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.
  • Grant recipients may not be a current employee of Nassau County, an elected official of the State of New York or any political subdivision therein, or a party officer. 
  • 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 should can contact SepticReplace@nassaucountyny.gov or 516-364-5861 for more information and instructions on how to apply. Applications can be filled out online at NassauCountyNY.gov/SepticReplace.

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