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Easing Stress on the Environment, One Flush at a Time

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 12:47
Money from the Community Preservation Fund paid for the installation of an innovative alternative septic system at the public restroom in the Amagansett parking lot.
Christine Sampson

The first installation on East Hampton Town property of an innovative alternative septic system was completed on Friday at the public restroom at the rear of Amagansett’s municipal parking lot. I/A septic systems, as they are known for short, are designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen discharged into the environment.

Nitrogen that enters waterways degrades the water, and in excessive amounts promote harmful algal blooms, which can create unsafe conditions for humans and can kill marine life.

The Fuji Clean septic system installed in Amagansett is expected to reduce nitrogen emissions to 11.4 milligrams per liter, below the 19 milligram-per-liter standard for such systems. The new system is expected to result in an 80-percent reduction in nitrogen from what is emitted from a traditional septic system.

The town is also planning to install low-nitrogen systems at the West Lake comfort station in Montauk and at Havens Beach in Sag Harbor.

Money from the Community Preservation Fund paid for the Amagansett installation. The C.P.F. is funded by a 2-percent real estate transfer tax, and up to 20 percent of the fund may be used for water quality protection and restoration.

The town offers grants to property owners to replace traditional septic systems with low-nitrogen versions, using C.P.F. water quality funds. To date, 102 I/A septic systems have been installed in the town, with 27 more pending. Approximately $2.2 million in grants for low-nitrogen septic projects has been issued. Property owners can also apply for additional grants through Suffolk County and New York State programs.

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