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Oct 13, 2017 1:29 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Board May Require Top Of The Line Septic Systems For New Homes

Southampton Village Board members are looking into requiring new nitrogen-reducing septic systems near waterways in the village. GREG WEHNER
Oct 18, 2017 11:08 AM

The Southampton Village Board proposed new legislation last week that would mandate state-of-the-art septic systems for all new construction and for some home renovations in key areas of the watershed.

The legislation proposes that any new residential construction or an increase in the number of bedrooms at properties near waterways in the village will require the property owner to install an alternative on-site water treatment system approved by the Suffolk County Department of Health. The same systems will be mandated if a property owner plans any substantial changes to an existing septic system.

The goal, said Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving, is to address the quality of groundwater and surface water resources in and around the village, focusing on properties closest to bodies of water most affected.

“I thought for areas near waterways, we should take a proactive stance,” he said at the Village Board’s meeting on Thursday, October 12.

The legislation suggests that the new alternative water treatment systems “discharge significantly less nitrogen from sanitary waste into the groundwater” than aging conventional on-site septic systems.

The village is prioritizing properties based on a map created by Southampton Town, as part of the new effort to identify the best places to allocate revenues from the town’s Community Preservation Fund that can be used for water quality improvement projects. Last fall, voters agreed to allow 20 percent of CPF revenue to be used for such projects.

The town identified “high” and “medium” priority areas throughout the town, including in the village. The portion of the map that includes Southampton Village shows the entire oceanfront, all around Lake Agawam, and encompassing the various other ponds and water bodies as high-priority areas. That includes Halsey Neck Pond, Old Town Pond and Taylor Creek. Only residential properties are targeted by the proposed new law.

Southampton Village Attorney Wayne Bruyn told board members that the new law would not require current homeowners to upgrade their septic systems, unless they plan to install a new system, or will tackle a renovation that increases the number of bedrooms. The reasoning, he said, is that an increase in the number of bedrooms indicates there will be an increase in the amount of waste entering the septic system.

If approved, Mr. Bruyn said, the new law would not apply to applications until January, nor would it apply to applications that have already been approved by the Village Zoning Board of Appeals. Those with applications with ZBA for a special wetlands permit that have not received approval from the Suffolk County Department of Health would fall under the mandate, he said.

Mr. Bruyn said the cost difference between a standard septic system and a new system designed to limit the discharge of nitrogen is between $10,000 and $15,000, and noted with the values of the properties and the need to protect water bodies, it is worth the cost.

“We honestly, in this village, have a problem with this water supply,” Mr. Irving said.

Village Trustee Richard Yastrzemski said many of the homes located in the areas in question are in the most vital areas of the village and are some of the most valuable homes. He added that because these homes contribute so much to the pollution, the homeowners can, and should, bear the brunt of the cost.

Mr. Irving said he would rather start with homes near the water than with homes where the owners would be burdened by the high costs affiliated with the task.

“I honestly expect people in the priority areas to take the responsibility and go ahead and upgrade their systems themselves,” Mr. Irving said.

A public hearing on the matter will be held on Thursday, November 9 at 6 p.m. at Village Hall.

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Quite the opposite of Quogue Village. In Quogue homeowners add or replace septic systems without permits and the Village officials turn a blind eye. Good for SHV to take a more progressive stance on pollution from septic systems!! Shame on Quogue though I doubt they even care.
By G (342), Southampton on Oct 13, 17 9:30 PM
The Suffolk County Department of Health is the agency charged with regulating sanitary waste disposal. Anything the towns or villages do is simply grandstanding.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Oct 13, 17 10:01 PM
The Suffolk County Health Department is part of the problem.
It is very difficult to deal with them.
By Avatar (15), Westhampton Beach on Oct 19, 17 6:58 PM
Of course it's grandstanding. Like any other local government the board is made up of people that know nothing and usually failures in life
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 14, 17 9:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
People always look so happy in the Hamptons!
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Oct 14, 17 9:44 AM
Are there other systems out there for places not in the flood plains? Good idea near ponds, lakes and other bodies of water. Don't think it is warranted at higher elevations...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Oct 14, 17 10:52 AM
Gee. I’m going to build a home with 1 bedroom and 12 baths.

That way, I can put in the smallest septic system...

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Oct 14, 17 9:21 PM
And, in the next breath, they want affordable housing. Criminal. Someone has to be on the take
By The Real World (368), southampton on Oct 16, 17 7:53 AM