Health & Environment

Baykeeper officially files suit for subpar wastewater system

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Wildwood State Park in Wading River.
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Wildwood State Park in Wading River.

Peconic Baykeeper president Kevin McAllister has officially filed suit against the state parks department and the State University of New York for illegally discharging polluted wastewater from cesspools and septic systems at five state parks and a university campus.

Mr. McAllister filed the lawsuits in district court last week, identifying Wildwood State Park and Stony Brook University’s Southampton Campus as facilities polluting nearby estuaries and rivers with excess nitrogen and pollutants without being issued the proper permits which he said is in violation of three federal environmental laws – the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The parks and university campus hold six of the largest septic/cesspool systems in Suffolk County – together, having the capacity to discharge more than 279,000 gallons of septic waste daily, according to a release from Mr. McAllister.

By comparison, a septic system at a single-family home typically has a capacity of 350 gallons per day, with sanitary waste being diluted by gray water from washing machines, dishwashers and showers, according to the release.

The filing comes just two weeks after the state parks department notified residents of plans to update about 30 septic systems at the five state parks.

The actions the Peconic Baykeeper has filed against the state DEC and parks department are being undertaken in partnership with Long Island Soundkeeper, based in Connecticut.