School to Install New Wastewater Treatment System to Protect Long Island's Groundwater Aquifer
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $1.33 million in grant funding has been awarded to the Springs School in the town of East Hampton, Suffolk County, to install an innovative new wastewater treatment system to protect Long Island's surface and groundwater. This project is funded through the Governor's historic $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act and is part of the state's ongoing efforts to improve water quality on Long Island.
"Investing in water infrastructure is critical to protecting our resources and laying the foundation for future growth and prosperity," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding will help to continue this administration's commitment to rebuilding our infrastructure and creating a stronger New York for all."
With this funding, Springs School will replace its 46-year-old failing septic system with a new wastewater treatment system. These upgrades will help to decrease nitrogen and bacteria contributions to Pussy's Pond and Accabonac Harbor while also benefiting the overall health of Long Island's groundwater aquifer. This project will use advanced nitrogen treatment, and is expected to reduce nitrogen concentrations by up to 94 percent. Funding for this project will be provided through the Clean Water Infrastructure Act by the Environmental Facilities Corporation.
DEC Commissioner Seggos said, "Many New York communities are eager to upgrade and improve their wastewater infrastructure, but the costs of doing so can be a barrier. Governor Cuomo recognizes these fiscal challenges and is working to resolve them by providing creative financial solutions that will strengthen and safeguard water quality infrastructure across New York State. The State's investment in the Springs School wastewater treatment system will help safeguard Long Island's surface and groundwater resources."
Sabrina M. Ty, President and CEO of the State Environmental Facilities Corporation said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's historic investment in clean water infrastructure, communities across the State are able to complete critical projects like this one. This innovative project promises a much-needed upgrade to the Springs School's wastewater system, creating a more healthful environment not just for students, but for the entire Long Island ecosystem. EFC is proud to support New York State communities seeking to upgrade their water quality infrastructure."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's instrumental support and foresight in the creation of the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, Suffolk County continues to make significant strides in the battle to improve our regional water quality. I applaud Governor Cuomo for once again making historic investments in Suffolk County that will protect our water quality and environment for generations to come."
Springs School Superintendent Debra Winter said, "On behalf of the Board of Education and the entire Springs community, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Governor Cuomo for awarding Springs School $1.33 million from the Clean Water Infrastructure Act to greatly improve our septic system. I was thrilled to hear today's announcement and am so pleased that the concerns of Springs are also those of Albany. This project will not only enhance the ecosystem in our community, as well as on Long Island, but will also be financially beneficial to our taxpayers. Once again, we are extremely thankful to be awarded this grant to significantly improve our wastewater treatment system and are delighted that Springs will be one of the first schools to use a large-scale nitrogen-reducing septic system."
Nitrogen pollution is the leading cause of water quality deterioration in Long Island's estuaries, posing a threat to the coastal marshes that provide a natural line of defense against severe storms and flooding. Excess nitrogen also causes algal blooms that lead to low oxygen conditions, fish kills, as well as degraded wetlands and marine habitats. In addition, nitrogen can contaminate the groundwater used by the Island's sole source aquifer, threatening drinking water supply for 2.5 million New Yorkers.
The primary source of nitrogen in Long Island is wastewater and fertilizer. Ineffectively treated wastewater from onsite wastewater disposal systems, such as the aging one being replaced at the Springs School, can reach groundwater, bays and estuaries. In addition to nitrogen, this wastewater can contain bacteria that can contaminate drinking water and lead to beach and shellfishing closures.
In recognition of the significance of this contamination, New York and the Long Island Regional Planning Council, in collaboration with Nassau and Suffolk counties, are developing a multi-year, $5 million Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan to identify sources of and solutions to nitrogen pollution across the island.
The Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 is investing $2.5 billion in clean and drinking water infrastructure projects and water quality protection across New York. As part of the Act, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation is authorized to provide funding in support of municipal water quality infrastructure programs. For more information, please visit www.efc.ny.gov.
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