Suffolk County’s new septic improvement program — aimed at curbing nitrogen pollution in local ground and surface water — has expanded to the North Fork with the first residential installation of an advanced septic system.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Wednesday that a Mattituck resident became the first North Fork homeowner to install the system as part of the county’s program, launched last month with its first installation at the home of Anthony Hobson, of Flanders.
Compared to normal cesspools or septic systems, the advanced system reduces total nitrogen discharge by up to 70 percent. Most new systems cost about $17,000, said a county spokesman.
The $10 million program is funded by a 2014 referendum and provides financial assistance via grants and low-interest financing to qualified homeowners to purchase the systems.
More than 700 homeowners have registered for the program since July through the county website. Of those, 114 were awarded grant certificates, according to representatives at Bellone’s office.
Bellone said he expected to see “thousands of these new systems installed on the North Fork, and throughout Suffolk County.”
“[Suffolk County residents] understand the importance of reversing decades of nitrogen pollution that has fouled our bays with harmful algal blooms and contributed to beach closures and fish kills,” said Bellone. “Through this innovative program, we are finally going to make progress in the battle against nitrogen pollution.”
The Mattituck homeowner, whose name was not disclosed, declined to comment but lives on Westview Drive, county executive representatives said.
Moving forward, Suffolk County Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said county officials need to explore additional funding sources for grants and loans to ensure the program’s success, which he called “a key component in the future health of our creeks, bays and estuaries.”
Additional new septic system installations are scheduled for Friday in Remsenburg and Tuesday in East Moriches.