Bellone water quality
Suffolk County is launching a septic system lottery.

Suffolk County is looking for a few brave homeowners to participate in a septic system demonstration project.

The county is looking to select 19 homeowners who will receive a $15,000 advanced wastewater treatment system, which will be installed by the manufacturer and maintained free of charge for five years.

In exchange, the system will be shown to small groups for educational purposes, about twice a month for the first six months and less frequently after that. There may be educational visits for up to two years after the systems are installed. Homeowners will always be notified before these visits.

The systems used in the demonstration project are Innovative/Advanced Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems or I/A OWTS, which perform like miniature sewage treatment plants.

They are designed to facilitate natural biological treatment of wastewater, providing an environment where naturally occurring bacteria use the wastewater for energy, reducing the nitrogen content, biological oxygen demand and total suspended solids.

Applications are due at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 14.

Questions and the application can be emailed to: and the application can be submitted by mail to Suffolk County Department of Public Works, ATTN: Septic Demonstration Program Application, 335 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank, NY 11980.

Seventy-four percent of houses on Long Island have private cesspools, in an area that depends on the groundwater underneath these systems for clean drinking water.


Download Application for the Septic Demonstration Program 

Download Map of 0-25 Year Surface Water Contributing Area

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she 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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