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.
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).
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.
In order for an application to be considered for a grant(s) the following preliminary criteria must be met:
Please note that in order to complete the application process, you will be required to submit the following documents:
Note that in order to utilize grant funding:
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:
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.