$2.25 million federal funds coming to Long Island for water projects

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New York Construction Report staff report

Projects in Long Island and Nassau County will receive $2.25 million from the federal government Bipartisan Infrastructure fund to improve water quality and reduce nitrogen pollution.

It’s the first installment in a multi-year anticipated partnership with the Long Island Sound Study to replace outdated septic systems in Suffolk and Nassau counties. Over five years, about $8 million is expected to support state- and locally-driven water quality improvements.

In year one, the study will provide a $2.25 million grant to the Suffolk County Reclaim Our Water Initiative and Nassau County’s Septic Environmental Program to Improve Cleanliness (S.E.P.T.I.C.) program through New York State.

New York State will provide funds to Suffolk and Nassau counties to reimburse eligible property owners for a portion of the cost of replacing cesspools and inadequate septic systems and installing more environmentally effective systems.

“Through this infusion of funding from the Federal government, we will be able to accelerate the installation of septic systems to protect water quality and our environment and continue our work with Nassau County to greatly improve water quality in many ways,” said Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Basil Seggos. “Long Island’s water quality issues are serious.”

DEC also recently approved the Nassau County Nine Key Element Plan for Nitrogen. The plan helps advance efforts to restore and protect the water quality of the groundwater and embayments around Nassau County. Its development was funded in part by the Long Island Sound Study and is a collaboration between Nassau County, DEC, and Stony Brook University’s School of Atmospheric and Marine Sciences (SoMAS). The result is a science-driven plan to reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the waters in and around Nassau County. Suffolk County completed a similar “Nine Element Plan” in 2021.

The plan includes two actions currently being implemented that will remove a significant amount of nitrogen from being discharged close to shore: the Bay Park Conveyance Project and the Long Beach Diversion Project.

The Bay Park Conveyance Project is a partnership between DEC and the Nassau County Department of Public Works to upgrade existing wastewater management infrastructure and convey treated water from the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility.

The Long Beach Wastewater Diversion Project will convert the Long Beach wastewater treatment plant to a pump station. Wastewater will be pumped from pump station to the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility for treatment. Additionally, the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility is far-along toward a complete storm-resilient upgrade undertaken at no expense to local rate-payers or Nassau County.

Record water quality infrastructure funding from New York State also continues to support septic replacement. Most recently, $30 million from the state’s Septic Replacement Program – $22 million to Long Island projects – to help address thousands of substandard or failing septic systems and cesspools that cause significant water quality impairments in the region and throughout the state.

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