How do the Provisionally Approved Technologies Reduce Nitrogen?

All four of the Provisionally Approved Technologies in Suffolk County rely on biological processes to treat wastewater and remove nitrogen. These systems use various methods to provide aerobic bacteria to convert organic nitrogen to nitrite and nitrate and then use an anaerobic (without oxygen) environment to denitrify by stripping the oxygen molecule off of the nitrate nitrogen, resulting in the release of gaseous nitrogen into our atmosphere. The nitrogen cycle is one of Earth’s most important biological process, second to only photosynthesis.

Happy with results of new septic system.

“Since the installation more than two years ago, it has operated trouble-free. Testing of the wastewater from the system shows a remarkable reduction of nitrogen.”

Click here to learn more about the provisionally approved technologies.

Septic Improvement Program Grant and Loan Program

Nitrogen pollution from cesspools and septic systems has been identified as the largest single cause of degraded water quality contributing to beach closures, restrictions on shell fishing, toxic algae blooms, and massive fish kills. Thousands of parcels are currently served by polluting cesspools and septic systems, but will never connect to a sewer system. Reversing degradation of water quality will depend on replacement of existing systems with new, individual Innovative and Alternative Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (I/A OWTS).

Over the past several years, Suffolk County has assertively set the stage for the transition to the use of these new systems. To make the cost of I/A systems — with an average total cost of $19,200, contingent on system requirements and site constraints — more affordable for homeowners, Suffolk County has developed the Septic Improvement Program. Under the Reclaim Our Water Septic Improvement Program, homeowners who decide to replace their cesspool or septic system with the new technologies will be eligible for a grant of up to $30,000 from Suffolk County and New York Stake to offset the cost of one of the new systems.

In addition to the grant, homeowners can qualify to finance the remaining cost of the systems via a loan, payable over 15 years at a low 3% fixed interest rate. The purpose of the loan is to provide “gap” funds to finance the difference between the grant to be provided by Suffolk County and the contract amount needed to install the replacement septic system. Financing up to $10,000 is available.

Grant Eligibility:

  • The residence cannot be connected to a sewer system or located within a proposed sewer district
  • Documents such as copies of the property deed, the most recent homeowner’s insurance policy statement, most recent property tax bill, and Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Income verification for applicants wishing to apply for the LMI grant (Federal Adjusted Gross Income based on most recent tax return)

Click here for full eligibility criteria.

Learn more about the Septic Improvement Program, application requirements, and I/A OWTS installation costs.

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Contact Information:

If you have any questions about the Septic Improvement Program or application process, please e-mail us at or call Suffolk County Department of Health Services at (631) 852-5811