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At its July 25th meeting, the Town Board approved an amendment to the Building Code requiring new septic systems for new construction in targeted areas in the Town beginning September 01, 2017. An Innovative and Alternative On-Site Wastewater Treatment System (I/A OWTS) approved by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services shall be required for all new construction, any new septic system or substantial septic system upgrade required by the Suffolk County Health Department, the Conservation Board or for an increase of 25% more in the floor area of the building on properties near bodies of water.
As discussed in the Town’s CPF Water Quality Improvement Project Plan (WQIPP), as well as the Southampton Water Protection Plan (SWPP), the bays and estuary environments associated with Southampton Town still receive more nitrogen than the waters can naturally assimilate. This condition is due to the fact that wastewater from both older and newer housing stock is predominantly collected by on-site septic systems that do not remove nitrogen from the waste water and it is released into the groundwater, which discharges into the surrounding coastal waters from targeted areas. These new alternative systems discharge significantly less nitrogen from sanitary waste into the groundwater and work towards achieving less nitrogen in our bays and waterways.
The Town Board has also set a public hearing for August 8th on the Town’s new proposed rebate program that gives eligible property owners up to $15,000.00 to install the new septic systems. Properties mapped in the CPF Water Quality Improvement Plan and designated as high and medium priority will have first access to the rebate program on a first come first serve basis.
The gross income guidelines for property owners to qualify for the proposed rebate program are as follows:
“These are the first efforts to begin the long path to restoring our bays and waterways and protect both our environment and our legacy for the future”, said Town Councilman John Bouvier. “I am very proud to have worked with our very skillful Town staff on these efforts”, said Bouvier.
Rebate applications will be available online through the Community Preservation Fund Office and must include the certification from the septic system installer and approval from the Suffolk County Health Department. Under the installation program, the property owners must agree to an annual inspection. The Town of Southampton Septic Rebate program can be joined with the Suffolk County rebate program which offers property owners up to $11,000. in rebates.
“These rebates will clearly help property owners make the right choice for the environment,” said Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
“We all know that the environment is the basis of our economic engine,” said Councilwoman Julie Lofstad. “Whether swimming, fishing or enjoying a cold glass of water on a hot day while eating a seafood salad at a local waterfront restaurant, it is all related to our most important resource: our waters,” said Lofstad.