A $50,000 Southampton Town septic rebate program was drained in just three weeks, as 16 homeowners volunteered to upgrade their current systems.
“[That] proves that homeowners are willing to upgrade,” said Southampton Councilwoman Christine Scalera, who sponsored the pilot program.
East End environmental groups have warned that old septic systems are leading to degraded water quality in the aquifers and surface water.
The town’s rebate program was issued on a first-come, first-served basis to homeowners. Those who qualified live in East Quogue, Flanders, Hampton Bays, North Sea, Noyack, Sag Harbor, Westhampton Beach and Westhampton, town officials said.
The septic rebate legislation allowed residents to receive between 50 percent and 60 percent of the cost of the upgrade, depending on whether they lived in a critical watershed area. Residents who applied but did not receive the rebate will be the first eligible when further funding is available, town officials said.
Scalera called it a “good first step” but said ultimately, the septic problem will require a regional solution. She said she’d seek grants to replenish the rebate program.