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Welcome to the Suffolk County Septic Improvement Program

Please Click Here for the SIP Grant Application Form.

For further information about the Septic Improvement Program, please contact us at the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Office of Ecology, 360 Yaphank Avenue, Suite 2B, Yaphank, NY 11980, via e-mail: SepticDemo@SuffolkCountyNY.gov or by phone: (631) 852-5811.

Update on IRS Ruling Regarding SIP Grants

On December 2, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service issued Announcement 2022-26 providing an update on the taxability of septic grants. The Announcement 2022-26 can be found at the following website: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/a-22-26.pdf. Taxpayers should be informed that pursuant to the Announcement, payments made by Suffolk County under the Septic Improvement Program are not to be included in the grant awardee’s gross income.

Any Grant Awardees who may have already reported the grant payments as gross income on their Federal income tax return may file an amended return with Form 1040 X for the year(s) in which they reported the income, and decrease their adjusted gross income by the appropriate amount, or consult your tax advisor. The Explanation of Changes on Form 1040-X should refer to "Announcement 2022-26." Form 1040 X can be found at the following website: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-1040x.

The IRS's announcement comes after the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided public notice that in response to a request filed by the Suffolk County Commissioner of Health, the Secretary of Agriculture issued a determination on November 16, 2022 that  payments under the SIP Program are primarily for the purpose of conserving soil and water resources and protecting or restoring the environment, therefore meeting the requirements of § 126(b)(1)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code to be excluded. See Determination of the Primary Purpose of the New York Suffolk County Septic Improvement Program (SIP), 87 FR 68669 (Nov. 16, 2022).

Septic Improvement Program Overview

Nitrogen pollution from cesspools and septic systems has been identified as the largest single cause of degraded water quality contributing to beach closures, restrictions on shellfishing, toxic algae blooms, and massive fish kills. When nitrogen reaches surface waters it contributes to degradation of our marshes, bays, and beaches. Thousands of parcels are currently served by polluting cesspools and septic systems, but will never connect to a sewer system due to funding constraints. Reversing degradation of water quality will depend on replacement of existing systems with new, individual Innovative and Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (I/A OWTS). Suffolk County has launched the Reclaim Our Water initiative to regulate the use of I/A OWTS to ensure these advanced wastewater treatment systems continue to reduce nitrogen as they are designed to do.

To make the cost of I/A systems more affordable for homeowners, Suffolk County has developed the Septic Improvement Program (SIP). Under the SIP, homeowners who decide to replace their cesspool or septic system with the new I/A OWTS technologies may be eligible for grants from New York State and Suffolk County toward the purchase and installation of a nitrogen removal septic system and leaching structure. This funding enables homeowners to replace aging and failing cesspools with state-of-the-art technologies that significantly improve treatment, extend system life, and enhance safety. All other costs, including, but not limited to, engineering costs, post-installation landscaping restoration, irrigation repairs, electrical improvements unrelated to system installation, costs above the authorized grant amount or other improvements are the responsibility of the property owner/applicant.

The average total cost for nitrogen-removing I/A systems is approximately $25,000.00, plus the cost of attendant engineering and design services. Costs will vary on a case-by-case basis. In addition to the grant(s), homeowners may qualify to finance the remaining cost of the systems with a loan administered by Community Development Corporation of Long Island Funding Corporation (CDCLI). Please review the documents under "Cost Information" on the right side panel, detailing the estimated vendor costs and costs associated with owning an I/A OWTS.

Grant Funding

  • Suffolk County Septic Improvement Program (SIP)
    • $10,000 Grant
    • $5,000 for Low to Moderate Income Applicants
    • $5,000 when a Pressurized Shallow Drainfield is required
  • New York State Septic System Replacement Program (SSRP)
    • Up to $10,000 Grant
    • 50% of eligible costs not including sales tax, pumping or decommissioning, internal plumbing or operation & maintenance costs
  • Funding may be available from local Town.
  • Preferential consideration will be given to properties with existing system failure and in environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Review the documents under "Grant Information" on the right side panel for additional information.

Grant Eligibility Criteria:

In order for an application to be considered for a grant(s) the following preliminary criteria must be met:

  • The residence must be served by a septic system or cesspool and not connected to a sewer system or located within a proposed sewer district.
  • New construction on vacant lots is not eligible.
  • Property does not have any outstanding or open real property tax liens.

Please note that in order to complete the application process, you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Copy of Property Deed
  • Proof of Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
  • Copy of most recent Property Tax Bill
  • Copy of Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or equivalent for the dwelling issued by the applicable town or village.
  • If property is owned by Trust, LLC, or Corporation, additional documentation is required.
  • If applying for the additional $5,000 Low to Moderate Income: the first two pages of property owner(s)’ most recent filed federal income tax return along with signature page. (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ). Please be sure to redact your social security number.
  • If applicable: proof of sanitary system failure (photos, service receipts, etc.)

Note that in order to utilize grant funding:

  • County SIP is not designed as a reimbursement program. Applicants must apply for a grant prior to installation of the I/A OWTS.
  • Grant Awardees must select a Vendor on the County’s Approved List, established through a SOQ Process.
  • Grant Awardees assign their grant payment directly to the Vendor. Payments are then made by Suffolk County to the Vendor.

Please note:

Submission of an application does not guarantee an award of a grant. The County reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the Septic Improvement Program at any time. This program is highly competitive and applications will be prioritized and will also be based upon the availability of funding. In addition:

  1. Grant Awardees will be required to execute a grant agreement with the County of Suffolk.
  2. Grant Awardees must permit the Suffolk County Department of Health Services the right to enter onto the property to perform any site assessments related to the processing of applications.
  3. Information and documentation that is submitted with the application may be subject to independent verification by the County.

Contact Information:

If you would like to speak to someone directly about the Septic Improvement Program and/or Grant Application, please visit the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Office of Ecology at 360 Yaphank Avenue, Suite 2B, Yaphank, NY 11980. You can also call at 631-852-5811 or send an e-mail to SepticDemo@SuffolkCountyNY.gov.

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901