Suffolk County implemented a law this week that will direct $2 million a year toward subsidies to replace aging septic systems as an incentive to homeowners to install nitrogen-reducing systems at their properties.
The county will begin accepting applications for the subsidies on July 1.
The program will make up to $11,000 available to homeowners who wish to replace their current system with one of several advanced wastewater treatment systems recently approved by the County Department of Health.
The county is the first government agency in the state to institute a long-term septic replacement subsidy. Southampton Town put about $150,000 into subsidies for replacing decades-old cesspools in 2013, though that was before the county had approved any of the new nitrogen-reducing systems for residential use.
The county is also crafting new regulations that will require the use of nitrogen-reducing systems in new construction and some renovations, as well as on monitoring and maintaining the systems, which County Executive Steve Bellone has said he wants in place by the end of 2017.
East Hampton Town will hold a public hearing next week on its own package of incentives and mandates for the use of nitrogen-reducing systems. The law would direct up to $15,000 to homeowners to replace their systems and would require nitrogen-reducing systems to be used in all new construction, major renovations and whenever a system fails and has to be replaced or substantially overhauled.
Southampton Town officials are crafting parallel codes but have said they are waiting to see how the county articulates its regulations on maintenance and monitoring.
The towns’ rebate programs will be funded with money from the Community Preservation Fund, which generates tens of millions in revenue a year for the towns, up to 20 percent of which can be directed to water quality improvement projects starting this year.
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