How to Determine if Your Home is a Good Candidate for a Nitrogen-Reducing Septic System

If you’re a homeowner in New York State, particularly in Suffolk County, you may be considering upgrading your cesspool or traditional septic system to a new IA/OWTS nitrogen-reducing septic system. These systems are designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen in wastewater, which can have a number of environmental benefits, including improving water quality in local bodies of water and reducing the risk of algal blooms.

Red Tide under bridge

But before you make the decision to upgrade, it’s important to determine if your home is a good candidate for a nitrogen-reducing septic system. Here are a few factors to consider:

1. Age and condition of your current system

If your current cesspool or septic system is old and in disrepair, it may be a good candidate for replacement with a newer, more efficient system. On the other hand, if your current system is relatively new and in good working order, it may not be necessary to upgrade at this time.

Split drainage pipe caused by ingress of tree roots

It’s worth noting that traditional septic systems, which use a tank and a drain field to treat and disperse wastewater, have a lifespan of around 20-30 years. Cesspools, which are essentially pits that collect and store wastewater, have an even shorter lifespan, typically around 15-20 years. If your system is approaching the end of its lifespan, or if you’ve experienced problems with it in the past, upgrading to a nitrogen-reducing system may be a good idea.

2. Size of your property

Nitrogen-reducing septic systems typically require more space than traditional systems, as they include additional features such as treatment cells and infiltration galleries. If you have a larger property, you may have more space available for a nitrogen-reducing system.

However, even if you have a smaller property, it may still be possible to install a nitrogen-reducing septic system. There are several different types of these systems and each one has different space requirements. It’s important to work with a qualified professional to determine which type of system would be the best fit for your property.

3. Local regulations

In New York State, particularly in Suffolk County, there are specific regulations governing the installation and use of nitrogen-reducing septic systems. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these regulations to ensure that your proposed system meets all necessary requirements.

In Suffolk County, the Department of Health Services oversees the installation and operation of septic systems, including nitrogen-reducing systems. According to the department’s guidelines, nitrogen-reducing systems must be designed, installed, and maintained in accordance with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) standards.

Fuji Wastewater Tank Installation

The DEC has established a number of performance standards for nitrogen-reducing septic systems, including minimum reduction levels for nitrogen and other pollutants, as well as requirements for site evaluation, system design, installation, and operation and maintenance. These standards are in place to ensure that nitrogen-reducing systems are effective at reducing nitrogen levels in wastewater and protecting the environment.

Overall, upgrading to a nitrogen-reducing septic system can be a worthwhile investment for homeowners looking to reduce their environmental impact and potentially save on maintenance and repair costs in the long run. By considering factors such as the age and condition of your current system, the size of your property, and local regulations, you can determine if your home is a good candidate for this type of upgrade.

If you decide that upgrading to a nitrogen-reducing septic system is the right choice for your home, the next step is to work with a qualified professional to design and install the system. This process typically involves several steps, including:

  1. Site evaluation: The first step in the process is to conduct a site evaluation to determine the suitability of your property for a nitrogen-reducing septic system. This evaluation typically involves examining factors such as the size and slope of your property, the type and condition of the soil, the proximity of your property to bodies of water, and any other relevant factors.
  2. System design: Based on the results of the site evaluation, the professional will design a nitrogen-reducing septic system that meets your needs and complies with local regulations. This design will include detailed plans and specifications for the system, as well as estimates of the cost and timeline for installation.
  3. Installation: Once the design is complete, the professional will begin the process of installing the nitrogen-reducing septic system. This typically involves excavating the site to create the necessary treatment cells and infiltration galleries, installing the system components, and connecting the system to your home.
  4. Operation and maintenance: After the nitrogen-reducing septic system is installed, it’s important to follow the recommended operation and maintenance guidelines to ensure that it continues to function effectively. This may include regular inspections and maintenance, as well as monitoring and adjusting the system as needed.

By working with a qualified professional and following all necessary guidelines, you can ensure that your nitrogen-reducing septic system is installed and operated correctly, helping to protect the environment and improve the quality of water in your community.

Peconic River

Perhaps most importantly to New York State homeowners, the process should also include a funding evaluation to secure as much money in available grants and rebates as possible. At Bridgewater Environmental, we are often able to fully fund these projects at no cost to the homeowner.

Overall, upgrading to a nitrogen-reducing septic system can be a smart choice for homeowners in New York State, particularly in Suffolk County, who are looking to reduce their environmental impact and potentially save on maintenance and repair costs in the long run. By considering factors such as the age and condition of your current system, the size of your property, and local regulations, you can determine if your home is a good candidate for this type of upgrade.

In some cases the upgrade may even be mandatory so it’s important to work with a qualified professional to determine what regulations you may be subject to. Bridgewater offers a free consultation to help determine all of these factors and help secure the maximum project funding available for you.