(estimated completion time - 5 minutes)

Virtually every home, business, farm and facility generates wastewater. The ways we handle and dispose of that wastewater has a profound effect on the water we drink, our health and the health of the natural environment, especially our waterways.

Over 70% of Suffolk County buildings use individual, onsite systems. Single onsite systems and clustered, community systems are considered "decentralized" wastewater treatment, in contrast to central sewers. Excess nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphates) as well as pollutants from onsite systems can contaminate the groundwater (aquifer), degrading drinking water quality and ultimately sensitive marine environments. As a result, toxic algal blooms impact shellfish, fish, marine habitats, and even human health. There are a number of approaches to manage and reduce the negative impact of wastewater.

This survey is being conducted to gather information about current handling of wastewater and to assess public reaction to various alternative approaches. We will use this data to help determine next steps, with the goal of better protecting the aquifers, creeks, bays and Long Island Sound.

This project is sponsored by the Long Island Sound Study/National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Long Island Community Foundation, and Suffolk County Fund 477 in cooperation with local associations. The survey will take about five minutes to complete.

The information requested in this survey will not be shared with anyone outside the scope of this project. Also, we expect that you may not know all of the information – this in itself will help us assess issues and needs. For more background information on decentralized wastewater treatment, a four page explanatory summary is viewable at www.peconicgreengrowth.org.

Please submit the survey, even if you do not answer all the questions. At the end of the survey, we do ask for personal contact information. Please include at least a zip code, to help us narrow sites for projects. All information is optional, but greatly appreciated. Contact information will help us select and work with communities wishing to explore solutions to issues, as well as assess public views and general conditions.
Cesspool: a single or double pit system with open joints or openings that allow collected wastewater to flow to the surrounding soils

Leaching field: a series of buried perforated pipes laid above porous material. The pipes distribute effluent to the soil close to the ground surface. Part of a septic system (used instead of leaching pits)

Leaching pit: a pit with openings that only receives liquid effluent (not solids). The pit distributes the effluent to the surrounding soils. Part of a septic system

Septic tank: enclosed tank that receives wastewater. Solids settle to the bottom and are treated anaerobically. Part of a septic system

Septic system: an on-site wastewater treatment system, where wastewater flows to an enclosed tank. The solids settle out and the liquid effluent flows to separate leaching pits or a leaching field, which allow the effluent to flow into the surrounding soils.