Representatives for New York State Parks said this week that the department has entered into a consent order with the State Department of Environmental Conservation to address septic systems at five Long Island state parks that are not in compliance with water pollution control permits — including Wildwood in Wading River.
“State Parks takes its stewardship of parks and their environment seriously and handles all non-compliance with top priority,” Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “Upon discovering a potential issue with the septic systems at our parks, we took aggressive steps to investigate and are developing solutions that will comply with environmental standards while maintaining crucial services for millions of visitors to these parks.”
Results of an engineering review have indicated that 30 septic systems at Wildwood State Park, Belmont Lake, Heckscher, Robert Moses and Sunken Meadow, and Wildwood State that were installed decades ago are not in compliance with current septic treatment standards.
The outdated systems pose no current threat to the public's health, officials said.
In total, the five parks contain about 100 septic system; the remaining 70 are in compliance with applicable standards.
Design and installation of replacement systems will begin immediately, to ensure all septic systems comply with current standards within three years. The cost of installing replacement systems is not yet known, but is expected to be in excess of $5 million.
As part of the settlement, the agency will pay a $25,000 fine, will be assessed an additional $25,000 if the terms are not met in three years, and will undertake a $250,000 environmental benefit project.
In addition, the project aims to improve groundwater quality in Suffolk County, through installation of a nitrogen reduction demonstration technology.