Nassau County executive Laura Curran announced an increase in grant funds to help small businesses and homeowners update their sewer and septic systems. Newsday's Steve Langford reports.  Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced Friday she is using federal pandemic funding to double grant awards to homeowners and small businesses to replace failing septic systems and cesspools and with new high-tech systems.

Curran said her administration is matching the state's grant of $2 million with an additional $2 million from the federal American Rescue Plan.

That will make applicants eligible for grants of up to $20,000, instead of the $10,000 she announced previously.

"This $20,000 will cover the majority of costs related to fully replacing these public health and environmental nightmares that continue to plague our waterways," Curran said.

About 90% of Nassau is on public sewers. However, tens of thousands of homes and small businesses along Nassau's North Shore rely on cesspools and septic systems, officials said.

Septic system failure contributes to toxic algae blooms and the suffocation of aquatic life.

Reversing pollution will depend on use of the new on-site wastewater treatment systems designed to remove nitrogen, officials said.

To apply for the grants, residents and business owners may go to the county's website, nassaucountyny.gov/septicreplace, call 516-364-5861 or email septicreplace@nassaucountyny.gov.

There is no income threshold for applicants, officials said.

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