By Emily Toy
Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera's Septic Rebate Incentive Program has had a good turn out with support and interest coming from residents.
The program also got a boost from the allotted $50,000 that has helped 16 homeowners voluntarily upgrade their current system. The last rebate was distributed at the beginning of the month and the program has been exhausted of its current funding.
"We were able to help homeowners upgrade their current system to one that will further enhance water quality, which is key to maintaining the integrity of the Town's coastal areas and aquifers," said Scalera last Thursday. "The fact that the funding depleted after only three weeks proves that homeowners are willing to upgrade, by providing this incentive to our residents."
Homeowners in East Quogue, Flanders, Hampton Bays, North Sea, Noyac, Sag Harbor, and Westhampton were the recipients of the first round of funding. The money was distributed on a first come first serve basis, according to Chief Building Inspector Mike Benincasa. Those who applied but did not receive a rebate will be the first eligible when further funding is secured.
The initiative was completed as part of the Water Quality Protection Fund Scalera sponsored in the late party of 2012, according to a press release from town hall. The septic rebate legislation allowed for residents to receive up to 50 percent of the cost of the upgrade, and up to 60 percent for residents who reside in critical watershed areas within 200 feet of a body of water.
"While ultimately, I believe a regional approach is what is going to be needed to address this critical issue, I believe this is a good first step and I will continue to seek out other funding sources and grants to replenish the program," said Scalera.