There is hardly a starker image for the harm caused by aging septic systems than when hundreds of dead turtles and thousands of fish carcasses float to the water’s surface, which is exactly what happened in Spring of 2015 in Riverhead, New York. Statewide, aging septic systems have caused significant water problems, particularly nutrient loading that has led to widespread harmful algal blooms. In Riverhead, the extreme nutrient loading of the Peconic River lead to low levels of oxygen that lead to the deaths of thousands of bunker fish.
The 2017-18 State Budget included the creation of a new Septic System Replacement Fund to incentivize replacement of failing septic systems. As currently written, the program would reimburse eligible homeowners; however, the out-of-pocket expenses could be difficult for many to accomplish, especially low-income homeowners.
This bill quickens the rate of septic system replacement by granting reimbursements directly to septic systems installers, instead of requiring homeowners to first pay out-of-pocket.
The language changes this bill makes to this program are critical for maximizing participation, which is sorely needed to begin addressing the nutrient pollution that plagues waters from the Great Lakes, to the shores of Long Island.
This bill amends the public authorities law to authorize septic system installers direct reimbursement from the Septic System Replacement Fund.