Grants for Advanced Septic Systems

Orient and much of Suffolk county households are reliant on septic/cesspool waste water systems, many of which are in environmentally fragile areas and pre-date the requirement for adequate septic systems. These systems push pollutants, especially nitrates, into the groundwater and Peconic Bay.

Suffolk County and New York State have recognized these threats and established a grant program to encourage homeowners to install what is known as Advanced/Innovative Septic Systems. These systems, based on proven technology, transform normal household waste water into nearly pure water before leaching into the ground and the bay.

Grants of up to $20,000, equally split between the state and the county through a single application, cover all or most of the costs of installation, with an additional $5,000 available for low and moderate income homeowners. Priority is given to homes in the most environmentally fragile areas, which includes much of Orient. Other than the low/moderate income extra amount, grants are not means tested.

Full information on the entire grant program and the application process is available online at

Quick Overview From Suffolk County

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Advanced/Innovative Septic System

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.

Why should I consider an Innovative/Advanced septic system?

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).

Is my home eligible?

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.

Which homes are given grant priority?

To see a map of Priority Areas, click here.

Applications will be received, scored, and ranked in the following order of priority:

A qualifying Residential Parcel located within the Priority Critical Areas (high and medium density residential parcels less than one acre located within the 0 – 2 year groundwater travel time to surface waters as defined in the Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan or high or medium density residential parcels within 1,000 feet of enclosed water bodies in Suffolk County);

A qualifying Residential Parcel located within Critical Areas (high and medium density residential parcels less than one acre located within the 2-25 year groundwater travel time to surface waters as defined in the Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan);

A qualifying Residential Parcel located outside of a Priority Critical Area or outside of a Critical Area.

What does it cost?

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 State 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.

Typical costs for a 4 bedroom home

Typical costs for a 5 bedroom home

Typical costs for a 6 bedroom home



Are there ongoing costs for operation and maintenance

Just like conventional septic and cesspool systems there are some small ongoing costs.

These are some typical costs for various systems and vendors.

How do I apply for a grant?

Start by registering with Suffolk County here.

Read up on understanding the complete grant process.

Start with the initial application form.


What are the different approved septic technologies eligible for grants?

Here are the approved technologies.

What does a typical installation look like?

Typical install for a 4 bedroom Fuji Clean CEN Series


Install main septic processing unit


Leaching system


Electrical control system


All Done!


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