Suffolk lawmakers set to vote on requiring advanced septic systems for new construction

New homes built in unused areas of Suffolk County over the next year will be required to have innovative nitrogen-reducing sewer systems in place of traditional sewer systems starting next July when a proposed amendment to the sanitation law is approved by the county legislature.

The proposed code change also requires the installation of an advanced sewer system for “other construction projects” – condominiums, two-family and multi-family houses, and commercial or industrial centers. The new systems are also required for the expansion of single-family or other construction projects where the expansion requires the expansion or modification of wastewater disposal systems. The requirement is also triggered for other construction projects where a change in use requires the installation of new wastewater disposal systems or an increase in the capacity of existing wastewater disposal systems.

The code change was unanimously approved by the County Board of Health in July.

On Monday, the Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Parks and Agriculture voted to send the measure to the entire legislature without a recommendation.

Introductory Resolution 1643, which passes amendments to the county sanitary code, will be on the agenda of the General Assembly of Legislators on Wednesday, September 9th.

The Code amendment aims to tackle nitrogen pollution in Suffolk’s groundwater and surface waters by requiring advanced on-site sewage systems that remove nitrogen from sewage before it is discharged into the groundwater.

The proposal is supported by a number of environmental groups, including the East End Group, New York League of Conservation Voters, The Nature Conservancy, Peconic Baykeeper, Save the Sound, Peconic Estuary Partnership, and Defend H20.

It is also endorsed by the Long Island Builders Institute, but with their request to postpone the effective date of the new requirement and focus on priority areas. LIBI also recommended that the county request an upgrade to advanced on-site wastewater treatment systems for the transfer of ownership – but the current proposal does not.

District officials estimate that there are more than 380,000 on-site sewer systems in Suffolk, of which more than 252,500 are in front of a septic tank request.

According to Al Krupski, legislator of North Fork, the costs for an innovative on-site system are “on average” around 18,000 US dollars.

The county just approved $ 3.7 million in grants to buy and install these systems, Krupski said.

Editor’s Note: This article has been modified after publication to clarify the application of the proposed amendments to the Plumbing Act that will affect the construction of new condominiums, two-family and multi-family houses, commercial and industrial centers and, in certain circumstances, additions to existing single family houses and commercial projects.

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