Suffolk County Announces Second Round of Septic Pilot Winners

If your septic system looks like this, you might want to enter the Suffolk County septic lottery.
If your septic system looks like this, you’d have been a prime candidate for the Suffolk County septic lottery.

On Wednesday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced the names of the 20 homeowners who were selected at random to receive a free advanced water treatment system, as part of the second phase of the County’s Septic Demonstration Pilot Program for single family homeowners.

The program is part of Suffolk County’s Reclaim Our Water initiative, a comprehensive plan to improve the region’s water quality by reducing nitrogen pollution through the use of advanced on-site wastewater treatment systems and sewering in targeted areas.

Five of those homeowners are on the East End — Donna Ursprung of Jamesport, Lee White of Montauk, Karen Deleski of Sag Harbor, Nicholas Morehead of Shelter Island and Sherryl Jones of Mattituck.

“Suffolk County has continued to make significant strides in improving the quality of our water, which is essential to our economy, health, environment and overall quality of life,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in an announcement of the lottery winners. “The first phase of the septic demonstration program has been extremely successful as we received tremendous feedback from our residents who are currently participating in the program and from industry experts. And we anticipate the second phase of the program will be just as successful. I would like to thank the hundreds of homeowners who applied to be part of this program as we look forward to working with the winners to make this initiative a success for our entire region.”

Since the launch of the program in 2014, more than 330 Suffolk County homeowners have entered the two lotteries and 39 homeowners have or will receive a free system – which includes free installation, monitoring and maintenance for five years.

The lottery was conducted on Tuesday, July 26 by members of the Suffolk County Legislature.

The twenty systems are expected to be installed in homes by the end of this winter, and the county is anticipating the new systems could be approved for use by the general public around September of 2017.

The systems that will be used for the second phase were donated to the county by six manufacturers from the United States and Canada. All are designed to reduce total nitrogen in the septic system to 19 mg/L or less. The systems are valued at up to $20,000.

The majority of the systems that are currently part of the pilot program were observed by county experts on a tour of septic programs conducted in states throughout the northeast. Suffolk County is modeling its homeowner education program on a successful program that has been established in Rhode Island over the past fifteen years.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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