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Suffolk County Completes Study of Wastewater Disposal Systems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                 

June 18, 2013 



Suffolk County Completes Study of Wastewater Disposal Systems Study to examine technologies that may make sewage disposal more efficient and cost-effective for single-family residences moves forward

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services announced today that it has completed its study of alternative on-site sewage disposal systems and has approved two additional systems properties for small package commercial wastewater treatment plants that typically handle flows in the range of 1,000 to 15,000 gallons of wastewater per day.

Each of the newly approved systems has proven to be capable of consistently achieving total nitrogen concentrations well below 10 milligrams of nitrogen per liter of wastewater discharge, the standard for commercial, industrial and high-density residential properties Suffolk County.

The new systems include: 

·         Bioclere, manufactured by Aqua Point of Massachusetts, and

·         STM-Aerotors, manufactured by WesTech of Utah. 

Two systems were previously approved in November 2011:

·         Nitrex, manufactured by Lombardo Associates of Massachusetts, and

·         BESST (Biological Engineered Single Sludge Treatment), manufactured by Purestream of Kentucky.


Prior to November 2011, the only systems approved in Suffolk County for this flow range was the Cromaglass system, manufactured by the Cromaglass Corporation of Pennsylvania.


“These approvals will expand the range of tools to protect environmental health while supporting smart growth and economic development,” said County Executive Steve Bellone.


The study, financed with Suffolk County capital funds and conducted with the assistance of Holzmacher, McLendon and Murrell, P.C., (H2M), included an assessment of operation and maintenance issues, a cost-benefit analysis, and an evaluation of conditions and restriction under which alternative on-site sewage disposal systems are permitted in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Maryland.


“Having completed this comprehensive study, we feel confident that we can recommend these additional systems,” said Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of Health Services. “Our goal is to find the most cost-effective approach that will minimize the adverse impacts of nitrogen from wastewater disposal systems on coastal waters.”


“This is great news!” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.  “Our drinking and coastal waters are being degraded due to antiquated, aging septic systems.  Allowing for improved technologies to be used throughout Suffolk County will drive the cost of the units down and allow for greater use of these wastewater systems. Protecting our waterways has always been one of the highest priorities identified by the public.  Advancing newer technologies for treating sewage will result in cleaner beaches and bays.”


“This is a great first step in addressing the problem of too much nitrogen from sewage pollution in our  groundwater and surface waters," said Kevin McDonald, conservation finance and policy director for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island. "We applaud the health department and Commissioner Tomarken for his leadership to address needed technology changes in Suffolk County. We trust the county will continue to approve more systems as the technology advances and is actually a driver of innovative technology.”


A new sanitary system study is currently in the planning to evaluate technologies that may remove nitrogen more cost-effectively for single-family residences, to a level of 25 milligrams or less of nitrogen per liter of wastewater discharge.  The study is being funded by the one-quarter percent sales-tax funded Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program (WQPRP). The study will also evaluate the impacts of various management scenarios on groundwater and surface waters for all major estuary systems, as well as for selected small-scale sub-regions.  


The county’s wastewater studies are an outgrowth of recommendations from the Peconic Estuary Program.  They also implement recommendations of the county’s draft Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan, which has found that pollution control and management programs have generally been effective in protecting public water supplies, but that significant additional nitrogen reductions were necessary to protect coastal waters.

Categories: Health

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