Our wastewater. Most of it goes into antiquated, deteriorating single home cesspools or septic tanks. Some of it then gets into our drinking water and into our waterways, causing potential problems - algae blooms, loss of marine life, contamination with pharmaceuticals, and possibly even health issues. Although many of us have good drinking water now, even this is threatened by the worsening wastewater situation.
Our cesspools are dying. We will have to repair and replace them, as well as maintain their replacements for decades to come. And despite our investment in them, they will not significantly alleviate the problems that currently exist, or the problems that are getting worse.
What’s the solution?
We may be able to go on patching and using existing technology for a while, but that will do nothing to solve the current problem or head off the worsening quality of our ground water and surface waters.
There are advanced wastewater treatment systems designed for single homes and for community clusters of homes that do significantly reduce the problematic output (mostly very high nitrate levels). These replace existing cesspools and septic tanks.
We have received grants to help identify the best types of systems for our area and to figure out how to create a better overall wastewater treatment plan for the community. We also have the opportunity to try out pilot wastewater districts (called “Decentralized Sewer Districts”) in which the local community would have more direct control over how they manage their wastewater.
How much does it cost?
That is what we are figuring out. We have grants to set up a pilot project using advanced systems. The overall and long range costs will depend on which homes participate and the number of homes involved. That’s why we first need to do this survey, to see who might fit the model and who is willing to be considered. Obviously, costs will be a major factor in everyone’s decision to be involved.
No one will be brought into this project until they know exactly what will be involved, including real numbers about costs, and unless they volunteer to participate after they get all the facts. Peconic Green Growth will also help the community seek further subsidy if any future projects result from this study.
Once again, we have money to help run these pilots and to subsidize the initial engineering report for advanced wastewater systems for some homes in the community.