Is your septic system or cesspool failing?
Do you want to help improve water quality on Long Island?


You might be eligible for thousands of dollars in grants from New York State, Nassau or Suffolk County, and even the town or city where you live, if you replace your old-style septic system or cesspool with a new clean-water system. (In some cases, these grants can completely cover all costs.)

The North Shore Land Alliance, a nonprofit land trust, can help you find out if you qualify. If you do, we can guide you through the process of replacing your septic system—from choosing a septic replacement contractor all the way through installation of the new system—at no cost to you.

It’s easy to start. Request a consultation and we’ll get in touch to discuss your options.

You can help protect and restore Long Island’s water

Want to find out more about why and how replacing your current septic system or cesspool with a clean-water system
can help protect Long Island’s rivers, bays, and harbors? These videos are a great place to start.

Frequently Asked Questions

Water Quality Improvement Program _Conventional Septic System

Conventional Septic System

What is the Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP)?

The North Shore Land Alliance’s Water Quality Improvement Program is designed to help jumpstart the transition to clean-water septic technology by removing roadblocks that many homeowners and small business owners face in trying to pay for and install these systems. To do this, the Land Alliance’s water quality improvement coordinator helps homeowners and small business owners through the clean-water septic system grant application and permitting process in both Suffolk and Nassau Counties.

How do clean-water septic systems work?

To understand this, you first have to know how conventional systems work. A conventional system drains raw sewage from a residence into a septic tank. As the solids settle out, the nitrogen-rich liquids flow into a leaching pool or into cesspool rings that distribute liquids into the ground. Clean-water add an extra step. Special bacteria convert the harmful nitrogen in our wastewater into problem-free nitrogen gas that is released, harmlessly, into the air.

What are the advantages of clean-water septic systems?

Nitrogen-reducing, clean water septic systems have benefits for all Long Islanders and for individual home and business owners, too. To understand these benefits, you first have to understand the problems caused by conventional septic systems and cesspools. Conventional, polluting systems release nitrogen into our groundwater, which then flows into our drinking water and into our rivers, lakes, bays, and harbors. Nitrogen pollution from wastewater is the number one cause of the harmful algal blooms (HABs) and fishkills that are becoming more and more common in and around Long Island each year. HABs are also endangering our shellfish populations. By replacing polluting septic systems with clean water models that can remove as much as 90% of nitrogen from wastewater, we can protect and restore our water and our coastal ecosystems. That, in turn, can improve Long Island’s economy and increase the value of individual homes.

In fact, new research shows that, every year, the Long Island Sound basin alone provides between $17 billion to $37 billion in what are called ecosystem services—the benefits that natural systems offer to us humans. Clean-water septic systems help to protect those ecosystem services. For homeowners and business owners, clean water septic systems have many economic benefits. The first one is durability. Conventional systems are usually made out of steel and, because steel can rust, they generally fail after 10 to 20 years.  Clean-water systems are built out of long-lasting fiberglass. This helps them resist rust. They can last for 40 years or more. Conventional septic systems are also more likely to fail and usually need more pumping and maintenance, meaning their long-term costs are higher. Clean-water septic systems can even increase the value of a home. One recent study showed homes in the northeastern United States that used clean water septic systems sold for 13% to 19% more than similar homes that used conventional septic systems.

Water Quality Improvement Program Clean-Water Septic System

Clean-water Septic System

How does nitrogen affect the North Shore of Long Island?

For the last few decades, nitrogen pollution from wastewater has threatened native species and increased the number and size of harmful algal blooms in and around Long Island. In fact, nitrogen pollution from septic systems and cesspools contributes more than half of all nitrogen pollution found in Long Island’s waters. It is the number one cause of harmful algae blooms, fish kills, thick mats of seaweed, and the decline of a once-thriving shellfish industry. By switching to a clean-water septic system, you can help protect and restore our water, our economy, and our Long Island way of life.


Click here for more Frequently Asked Questions about the Water Quality Improvement Program.

LEARN MORE! Contact the North Shore Land Alliance today for your no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

More Water Quality Improvement Resources

Listed below are additional state, county, or local government programs that can help
homeowners reduce the cost of replacing their septic system or cesspool?

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