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Jun 23

Understanding the Need for Sewers

Posted on June 23, 2019 at 12:44 PM by spio spio

Sewer systems are designed to treat wastewater to meet stringent discharge standards put in place by the State. These standards are to protect public health and the environment, pursuant to authority granted to the State by the Federal government under the Clean Water Act.  

What Happens When Sewers Are Not Available:

In the absence of sewers, projects must comply with Suffolk County Sanitary Code Article 6 density requirements for unsewered areas.  These rules were established by the Board of Health to ensure that groundwater and drinking water standards are not violated, and they severely limit the volume of sanitary design flow/untreated wastewater that can be discharged to groundwater in areas without sewers, especially in areas with relatively small lots.   This means that many parcels cannot accommodate various uses, such as restaurants and accessory apartments.


In some downtown areas, restaurants are severely limited by the number of tables and seats they are permitted to have. Some actually serve their customers on paper plates with disposable utensils to avoid the need to wash dishes in order to reduce wastewater. This practice adds to the solid waste problem, as disposable products end up in the waste stream. Sewering solves this problem by adequately treating wastewater, allowing businesses to expand.