Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a water infrastructure announcement held...

Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a water infrastructure announcement held at the Suffolk County Water Authority in Hauppauge on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Clean-water projects in Long Island communities such as Hempstead Village and Sag Harbor will receive $59 million in state money to treat water contamination and build sewers, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday.

Hochul announced a total of $479 million in grants for clean water projects statewide at a news conference at the Suffolk County Water Authority in Hauppauge. The funding comes from the state Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and the The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs bond act that voters approved in November 2022.

The Village of Hempstead will receive nearly $6 million for sewer improvements, while the SCWA will get $19 million for multiple water infrastructure projects, including treatment for the emerging contaminants PFAS and 1,4-Dioxane, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies as likely carcinogens. 

The Village of Sag Harbor will get just over $2 million for a sewer extension project.

The state grants will “make sure we guarantee clean water as well as make sure we deal with this septic crisis here in Suffolk County,” Hochul said. The projects are expected to create 24,000 jobs across New York, “from engineers to pipefitters,” she said.

Hochul also announced $30 million for the state’s septic system replacement program, $20 million of which will be coming to Long Island.

The program allows eligible homeowners and small businesses to seek reimbursement for 50% of the cost of replacing old septic systems or cesspools, to a $10,000 maximum, with updated systems that help prevent nitrogen pollution.

Excess nitrogen from aging septic systems has been “causing beach closures, fish kills and harmful algal blooms,” Jessica Ottney Mahar, director of policy and strategy for The Nature Conservancy in New York, told Newsday. The newly funded projects “will mean less pollution will be reaching our bays, our harbors, our estuaries, and our drinking water,” Mahar said. 

The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs bond act earmarks funds in four broad categories: mitigating climate change, flood risk reduction, land conservation and “water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure.”

It specifies that “not less than $650 million” will go toward projects that will “safeguard drinking water sources and reduce water pollution.”

The act also requires that 35% of funding go to projects benefiting disadvantaged communities.

Correction: New York’s septic system replacement program provides 50% reimbursement, to a maximum of $10,000. A previous version of this story neglected to mention the grant maximum.

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