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Suffolk’s Bellone signs law for wastewater treatment plant at lake

County Executive Steve Bellone has signed legislation allowing for the construction of a $400,000 wastewater treatment system at Lake Ronkonkoma County Park.

The move is part of Bellone’s initiative to revitalize and improve water quality in and around Lake Ronkonkoma.

Officials believe installation of an advanced denitrification system will remove about 2,100 pounds of nitrogen from wastewater generated per year, and will help prevent further contamination in the lake.

“One of the issues that I have been advocating for years has been our declining water quality and the increasing amount of nitrogen loadings into our water, including Lake Ronkonkoma,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement.

The newly created legislation was announced Thursday at the park.

In January, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine asked Bellone to install septic systems at Lake Ronkonkoma due to the water quality being plagued by nitrogen flowing from septic systems and pathogens from nearby restrooms.

Romaine called the move at Lake Ronkonkoma County Park “a step in the right direction” but noted septic systems for homeowners surrounding the lake need replacing.

Romaine added that he wants the bathroom cesspools at Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Park at Lake Ronkonkoma replaced with denitrification systems.

In an interview, Bellone said roughly 360,000 cesspools and septic tanks in Suffolk County need replacing.

“We’re continuing to work aggressively to address water quality in our region,” Bellone said, adding that replacing those cesspools and tanks needs to be “affordable” and “make sense” for homeowners.

The denitrification system is expected to be installed at the park by this summer, county officials said.

Funding for the $407,000 project will come from the New Enhanced Suffolk County Water Quality Protection Program.

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