Suffolk Lawmakers Pass Bill Changing Home Wastewater Handling

Dec. 7, 2017
Bill requires permits for new septic systems

Legislators based in Suffolk County, N.Y. passed a new bill Tuesday, changing the procedures regarding the way the county manages wastewater from the area’s 360,000 unsewered homes.

The new law demands permits for new septic systems, as well as requiring septic tank installation for homes replacing cesspools, of which approximately 252,000 homes in the area currently utilize. T

his new piece of legislation and the attempted eradication of cesspools from the area are likely part of a broader legislative effort to reduce nitrogen pollution moving forward. Deputy County Executive Peter Scully said further bills attempting to improve the situation will likely be brought forward in 2018.

“We considered these to be the easy steps, but as you can see, it’s complicated,” Scully said, also mentioning the “broad support” for the bill from environmentalists, town officials, a home builders lobbying group and a working group of lawmakers, indicating shared interest across several agendas.

The bill did not pass entirely without dissent, with some citing potentially high costs for homeowners to replace failed cesspools with new septic tanks, while the permit could cost an additional $70 itself.

The bill is expected to be signed into law by County Executive Steve Bellone.