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Glen Cove mayor wants new septic system regulations to require they be pumped out

Glen Cove City Hall.

Glen Cove City Hall. Credit: T.C. McCarthy

The Glen Cove City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on proposed septic system regulations that would require residents to have their systems inspected every two years and pumped out every three.

The amendments to the city code, proposed by Mayor Reginald Spinello, would require residents to give details of their systems to the city and would also allow city employees to enter private property to inspect and test underground septic tanks and cesspools if there is evidence of pollution.

"This legislation will help us to identify septic systems that are compromised and egregious violations of our sanitation code," Spinello said. "It may also help us locate septic systems that we don't have record of."

The proposed regulations are part of the city's efforts to reopen Crescent Beach, closed since 2009 due to fecal coliform and enterococci, bacteria found in the digestive systems of humans and animals. The source of the bacteria has not been found, but officials suspect leaking septic systems may be the cause. Though most of Glen Cove has sewers, 129 properties near Long Island Sound and Crescent Beach have septic systems, officials said.

Erin Reilley, a city grants administrator who has worked on the amendments, said residents would have to report the location, setup and proximity to water bodies and other details about their septic system to the building department.

The systems would have to be inspected every two years or when a house is sold. The inspections could be conducted by a licensed engineer or architect, anyone who has supervised installation of septic systems in the city for at least five years and is certified to do inspections by the building department, or for free by the building department.

The regulations, if approved, would require that septic systems be pumped out every three years. The city provides a free pump-out service.

Spinello will also be asking the council to approve spending $35,000 for an environmental engineering project to analyze residential areas around Crescent Beach. It would use Geographic Information System software that accumulates data from public agencies to analyze underground conditions such as the height of the water table and soil conditions, or location in a flood zone, to identify areas that are not suitable for underground septic systems.

That would be followed by surface and groundwater sampling. Ultimately, the city wants Nassau County help in expanding the sewer system.

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