East Hampton Village adopts Low-Nitrogen Septic Requirements


For information:  Sara Davison 631-324-9034

Wainscott, New York—February 7, 2019.  The Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation (FOGP) commended the Village of East Hampton for unanimously adopted new legislation to require low nitrogen,  on-site septic systems throughout the Village. The new legislation was adopted to protect the Village’s potable water supply and preserve nearshore environments such as Georgica Pond where nitrogen is linked to harmful algal blooms, reduced oxygen levels and fish kills.

 FOGP President Priscilla Rattazzi commented, “As a Village resident, I am very proud of the board for taking this critical step. With close to 70% of Georgica Pond’s shoreline in the Village, this new legislation will make a significant difference to the water quality of the pond, especially for future generations.”

The new law applies to all new residential construction and substantial increases in gross floor area of 25% or more. The law applies throughout the Village except for the core commercial district where alternative waste treatments such as sewers are being evaluated. Mayor Paul Rickenbach stated “The Village of East Hampton is pleased to be able to join the likes of our surrounding municipal neighbors in codifying legislation that will help improve water quality.  Advancements in technology are now making this a reality in that residents can install systems that are providing tangible reductions in nitrogen.  The Village will be leading by example by installing an I/A (low nitrogen) system in our newest museum, the Dominy Clockshop, and we look forward to support and cooperation from our residents as well.  I would like to thank organizations like the Friends of Georgica Pond who were early supporters of this legislation and who have continued to work on behalf of our community for cleaner water.”

Wastewater has been identified as one of the chief sources of nitrogen entering groundwater and surface water. A study by Dr. Christopher Gobler of Stony Brook University funded by the FOGP found that wastewater from septic systems was responsible for 50%  of the nitrogen entering Georgica Pond. 

In addition to FOGP, strong support for the new law came from the environmental community including The Nature Conservancy, The Group for the East End, the Village Preservation Society of East Hampton and Defend H20. Village Trustee Rose Brown commented, “I am deeply committed to preserving and restoring the water quality and integrity of our precious aquifers and waterways. In addition to this effort, the village board will be studying and developing a plan for sewage treatment in the commercial district as well as pursuing other important water quality initiatives. This legislation is an important first step in our overall goal towards restoring and preserving our water quality.”

East Hampton is the first Village in Suffolk County to adopt mandated low-nitrogen systems. They follow the lead of the Towns of East Hampton, Southampton and Brookhaven.

Grants from both the East Hampton Community Preservation Fund (CPF) and Suffolk County are available to assist with the cost of the new systems. The amount of grant funding a homeowner can receive ranges from $10,000 to $26,000 depending on income, location and whether the homeowner is year-round or seasonal.

The mission of the Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation is to preserve the Georgica Pond ecosystem for future generations through science-based, watershed-wide policy and restoration.