Milestone Coincides with Beginning of National SepticSmart Week 2017


Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today kicked off SepticSmart Week 2017 by highlighting that Suffolk County has already received nearly 600 registrations by homeowners interested in the Septic Improvement Program.  This first of its kind program provides financial incentives to help homeowners replace their outdated septic systems or cesspools with advanced wastewater technologies.  These advanced systems significantly reduce nitrogen pollution and play a critical role in restoring the health of our water bodies on Long Island.  

To date, 587 residents have registered to submit an application for the program. In total, 149 residents have completed an application and 87 residents have been awarded grant certificates.  Suffolk County has already installed one Advanced Onsite Wastewater Treatment System as part of the Septic Improvement Program with three additional permits pending.


“Suffolk County is leading the way to replace outdated septic systems and cesspools, and during SepticSmart Week we are all reminded that we all can play a role in helping to reclaim our water,” said County Executive Bellone. “With installations already taking place, the Septic Improvement Program is proving to be a popular, practical and cost effective option to our residents.”


County Executive Bellone urges all residents to use this opportunity to become better educated on septic systems and their maintenance. Proper and adequate maintenance of septic systems will save residents money, help maintain property value, protect the health of residents and contribute to the protection of the environment.


SepticSmart Week is an annual outreach initiative through the United States Environmental Protection Agency focused on educating homeowners and communities on the proper care and maintenance of their septic systems.  The EPA recommends the following tips to care for residential septic systems:


Inspect and Pump Frequently

The average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a septic service professional.


Use Water Efficiently

The average indoor water use in a typical single-family home is nearly 70 gallons per individual, per day. Just a single leaky or running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water per day.


Properly Dispose of Waste

Whether you flush it down the toilet, grind it in the garbage disposal, or pour it down the sink, shower, or bath, everything that goes down your drains ends up in your septic system. What goes down the drain affects how well your septic system works. Do not flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper.


Never Flush

You should not flush items that may pose an issue with proper disposal.  These include items such as cooking grease or oil; flushable wipes; photographic solutions; feminine hygiene products; condoms; dental floss; diapers; cigarette butts; coffee grounds; cat litter; paper towel; pharmaceutical; household chemicals like gasoline, oil, pesticides, antifreeze, and paint or paint thinners.


Maintain Your Drainfield

The drainfield is a component of the septic system that removes contaminants from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank and is an important part of the septic system. Never park or drive on your drainfield; plant trees the appropriate distance from your drainfield to keep roots from growing into your septic system; keep roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainwater drainage systems away from your drainfield area because excess water slows down or stops the wastewater treatment process.


To learn more about proper care and maintenance of your septic system please visit:


The Septic Improvement Program falls under the auspice of County Executive Bellone’s Reclaim Our Water initiative.  Launched in 2014, Reclaim Our Water includes $383 million in federal and state aid for the largest expansion of sewer infrastructure in Suffolk County since the 1970s. The initiative is supported by the 2015 Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan, which provides critical recommendations to manage and protect the region’s water resources.


For the first year of the program, total accessible funds available amount to $2 million through the County’s Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund (ASRF).  Subsequently, each year through 2021 will be funded with $2 million from the Suffolk County ASRF.  Funding for the grant-based program was made possible by Suffolk County residents who voted to approve a 2014 referendum, which authorized use of funding for nitrogen reducing septic systems.


The loan program will be administered by Community Development Corporation of Long Island Funding Corp, with financial support from Bridgehampton National Bank, in the amount $1 million and financial commitments from several philanthropic foundations.


Suffolk County’s newly launched Reclaim Our Water Septic Improvement Program website provides homeowners with financial, regulatory, technical and infrastructure aspects of the Septic Improvement Program.  This also includes a list of wastewater industry leaders with information pertaining to septic industry training that are in accordance to Suffolk County law and the recently updated Suffolk County Sanitary Code.

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