Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine is asking New York Rising to upgrade septic systems when raising homes that were flooded during superstorm Sandy.
“Many of the homes you are raising are older homes that do not conform to FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] requirements because they were constructed thirty or more years ago . . . and in many cases do not provide adequate separation for the septic to groundwater,” Romaine wrote in an Aug. 10 letter to Lisa Bova Hiatt, executive director of NY Rising.
Phone calls to Hiatt weren’t returned.
New York Rising is a state recovery effort to rehab homes and provide financial relief to Long Island homeowners whose houses were damaged by Sandy.
“This lack of separation causes the infiltration of bacteria and viruses into our shallow groundwater and ultimately into our coastal waters,” the letter read.
Romaine said the protection of homes in low-lying coastal areas is a point of great concern.
Brookhaven Town has more than 150 miles of shoreline, and several areas, including Shirley, Mastic, Mastic Beach and Patchogue were flooded.
Earlier this year the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation closed shellfish areas in the town due to bacterial contamination.
In Setauket Harbor, a DNA study of bacteria linked them to septic tanks, Romaine wrote.
“I encourage New York Rising to consider the upgrade of sanitary systems as part of their mandate to increase resiliency to coastal properties,” the letter stated.