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Southold Town to host forum Thursday on advanced wastewater technologies

Suffolk County’s drinking water and the health of our coastal marine habitats are facing a crisis caused in large part by nitrogen seeping into our water supply from the hundreds of thousands of cesspools and septic systems in private use. In an effort to educate the public about alternative technologies now available to address the problem, Southold Town will hold an informational forum on wastewater treatment alternatives at Southold Town Hall on Thursday, Jan. 12.

In 2015 Suffolk County released its Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan and identified nitrogen pollution as “public water enemy number one.” They identified cesspools and septic systems in areas with high water tables as particularly problematic, noting that when these systems are flooded, pathogens are released into the groundwater and our coastal habitats, polluting our drinking water, causing algae blooms and decimating wetlands and sea life.

There are technologies approved by Suffolk County which reduce the amount of nitrogen that escapes into our water from poorly functioning cesspools and septic systems and the purpose of the forum is to explain these to the public.

Suffolk County Health Department representatives will be on hand to provide an overview of a pilot program and certification process and approved manufacturers of alternate onsite wastewater treatment systems will introduce their products. There will also be a question and answer session.

The forum begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Southold Town Hall.