Real Estate: Pay Attention to New Septic System Law

This probably will not be one of the cleanest articles you’ll read today, but it is one of importance if you own a home in Suffolk County. 

On July 1, 2019, Suffolk County Department of Health Services implemented a change in the way homeowners are now permitted to replace their old cesspools.  Prior to this new legislation, homeowners could replace a failing cesspool with a like-kind cesspool system.  The new law now states that a failing cesspool must be replaced with a new system. 

The functioning difference between a septic system and a cesspool system is that a septic tank system processes and treats the waste water before releasing it back into the environment.  A cesspool system does not treat the waste water before releasing back it into the environment. This is the reason for the change in the law.  According to Reclaim Our Water (ROW), nitrogen pollution from cesspools and low-tech septic systems have been responsible for the largest “single cause of degraded water quality contributing to beach closures, restrictions on shell fishing, toxic algae blooms and massive fish kills.” 

This is the upside to the new law. 

The downside is the costs.  These new high-tech septic systems will cost about $17,000 — double that of the old cesspools. To offset these costs, Suffolk County is offering grant and loan programs.  Unfortunately, the IRS has ruled that residents taking advantage of these grants may be taxed on the grant money awarded to them.  Government representation is currently working to overturn this IRS decision.

Let’s keep our sights set on cleaner waters for all of Long Island.  

Lynn Gambarelli
Real Estate Salesperson
Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty
77 Main St. Northport, NY 11768
c: 631.889.0027  o: 631.754.3400

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