Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced on Monday that a lottery will be held for the second phase of the County’s Septic Demonstration Program for single family homeowners.
Applications for the second lottery are due Friday, April 8, 2016. Winners will receive a free advanced, nitrogen-reducing wastewater treatment system – which includes free installation, monitoring and maintenance for five years.
The Suffolk County Health Department is using these demonstration projects as part of its study of whether to approve the systems for widespread use within the county.
The program is part of Suffolk County’s Reclaim Our Water initiative, a plan to improve the region’s water quality by reducing nitrogen pollution using advanced on-site wastewater treatment systems and sewering in targeted areas.
Year-round Suffolk County residents who live in a household with three to nine people that is not in a sewer district are eligible for the lottery.
“Suffolk County has made tremendous strides in reclaiming our water since we launched this initiative nearly two years ago,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone as he announced the second lottery on Monday.
“The first phase of the septic demonstration program has been extremely successful to date as we have received tremendous feedback from our residents who are currently participating in the program and from our wastewater experts who are managing the program,” he added.
In December 2014, the county conducted the initial lottery for the first phase of the pilot program. Nineteen homeowners, out of more than 150 applicants, were randomly selected to receive a free advanced wastewater treatment system on their property.
Eighteen of the 19 systems were installed last year, and are currently being monitored by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and wastewater industry experts.
The nineteenth system, which includes a pressurized shallow drain field, will be installed this April.
Based on early results, some of the systems already installed could be provisionally approved by the Department of Health Services for residential use by the end of this summer.
The systems that were used for the first phase of the program were donated by four national manufacturers, all of whom have experience across the country in removing excess nitrogen from residential and commercial properties. Six different technologies were chosen. The advanced wastewater treatment systems were each valued at up to $16,000 per system.
The second phase of the county’s septic demonstration program will include two types of alternative onsite wastewater treatment systems that are designed to reduce total nitrogen in effluent to 19 mg/L or less.
Pressurized shallow narrow drain field systems, which will distribute treated effluent where nutrient adsorption is at its highest, will be included in some of the second phase projects.
The number of homeowners who will be selected for the second lottery will be based upon the number of responses from manufacturers to two county Request for Expressed Interest (RFEI) calls that were issued to manufacturers nationwide. Applications for the RFEIs from manufacturers are also due to the county on April 8, 2016.
Suffolk County is modeling its homeowner education program on a successful program that has been established in Rhode Island over the past fifteen years.