NY Long Island awarded $2.25M for water quality improvements

septic systems to be replaced, nitrogen pollution reduced

New York State (NYS) officials have announced $2.25 million in federal funding to improve water quality on Long Island’s north shore, in addition to finalizing a Nassau County nitrogen pollution reduction plan to restore and protect drinking source water and bays.

The efforts come under the framework of the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan, in coordination with the Long Island Sound Study. The Long Island Sound Study is a cooperative effort involving researchers, regulators, user groups, and other stakeholders, and is led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), New York, and Connecticut.

"Long Island Sound and its neighboring waters are essential and critical resources for millions of people living along one of the most urbanized coastlines in the country,” says U.S. EPA Region 2 Administrator Lisa F. Garcia.

Controlling excess nitrogen is intended to reduce the probability of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, fish kills, and marshland deterioration.

Outdated Septic Systems

The first installment in a multi-year anticipated partnership with the Long Island Sound Study significantly increases resources to replace outdated septic systems in Suffolk and Nassau counties.

Programs via the Suffolk County Reclaim Our Water Initiative and Nassau County's Septic Environmental Program to Improve Cleanliness (S.E.P.T.I.C.) incentivize eligible property owners to replace cesspools and failing or inadequate septic systems and to install more environmentally effective systems that remove more nitrogen than a conventional septic system.

Over five years, an anticipated $8 million from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help state- and locally-driven projects that improve water quality.

Finalized nitrogen plan

New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently approved the Nassau County Nine Key Element 9E Plan, a science-driven plan to reduce nitrogen and advance both the restoration and protection the water quality of the groundwater and embayments around the County.

The plan identifies and quantifies nitrogen sources and uses tools to determine changes in nitrogen concentration depending on management practices. It recommends a variety of best management practices (BMPs) and actions to meet nitrogen reduction targets.

Suffolk County completed a similar "Nine Element Plan" in 2021.

Septic funding grant programs and the Nine Element Plan are part of the larger Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan (LINAP).

LINAP is a partnership between NYS DEC, the Long Island Regional Planning Council, and Suffolk and Nassau Counties to coordinate and make significant strides in better understanding the sources of and reduce nitrogen in the watershed. It was developed in response to documented water quality issues due to excess nitrogen entering the ground and surface waters.

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