[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
[Adopted 4-8-1980 by L.L. No. 12-1980 (Ch. 241 of the 1985 Code)]
The water resources of Suffolk County occur and are developed in a unique manner. The population of the County is served with potable drinking water obtained solely from groundwater sources. Groundwater is replenished entirely by precipitation. A major portion of this precipitation infiltrates into the soil and eventually recharges the groundwater reservoir. The groundwater reservoir is the only source of water supply at the present time and from an economic standpoint for the foreseeable future. Because of the lack of public sewerage facilities, the continuing population growth, the occurrence of the water table within relatively shallow depths, the practice of maximizing recharge of stormwater and the very slow movements of groundwater, this resource is especially vulnerable to contamination. In the central portion of the island, infiltration of water through the glacial formation travels virtually vertically downward into the Magothy formation. This water has a residence time within the aquifers which may be measured in terms of hundreds of years and must serve as the source of drinking water for future generations. Chemical contaminants dissolved in these waters generally will also be transported into the deeper aquifers.
Since the groundwaters of Suffolk County are unique, they have received one of the few designations in the country as sole-source aquifers, highlighting the need that particular care must be exercised to maintain the quality of both present and future needs.
Within the past few years, contamination by certain organic chemical compounds has been detected. Many of these compounds are degreasers commonly used for the cleaning or unclogging of sewer lines and individual sewage disposal facilities (cesspools).
Since organic solvents used for this purpose are deliberately introduced directly into the cesspool leaching facilities and since they exhibit a density greater than the density of water, they may reasonably be expected to travel through the unsaturated subsoil formation, arrive at the water table surface and penetrate the groundwater aquifer to some depths. The potential for this penetration is presently under investigation by several governmental agencies, including Suffolk County. The appearance of organic solvents in groundwater in residential areas far from industrial waste sources indicates that the likelihood of this mode of contamination is great.
The Nassau-Suffolk Regional Planning Board, in Section 5.1.2b of its recently completed study entitled the "Long Island Comprehensive Waste Treatment Management Plan," includes the areawide recommendation for the bicounty area that the use of certain chemical cleaners in on-lot sewage disposal systems be prohibited. The New York State Department of Health has established guidelines concerning allowable concentrations of certain organic compounds in drinking water, recommending a limit of 50 micrograms per liter for any single contaminant and 100 micrograms per liter for the sum of any group of these organic contaminants.
The detection of even these minute amounts of Suffolk County groundwaters has caused the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to adopt a conservative posture for the protection of the public health by requesting that the use of wells containing these organic contaminants above the guideline be restricted to nonpotable uses.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CESSPOOL ADDITIVE
- Any organic chemical(s) or compound(s) used for cleaning or unclogging sewer lines or individual sewage disposal systems.
- The Suffolk County Commissioner of the Department of Health Services.
- Includes any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, company or organization of any kind.
No person shall sell, exchange, give or dispose of to another, or offer or agree to do the same, any organic chemical(s) or compound(s) for the purposes of cleaning or unclogging sewer lines and/or individual sewage disposal systems unless approval is first obtained from the Commissioner.
Before any cesspool additive is offered for sale in Suffolk County, approval must first be obtained from the Commissioner by submitting scientific data which is considered satisfactory to the Commissioner, demonstrating that the organic chemical or compound which is to be sold for the purposes of cleaning or unclogging sewer lines and/or individual sewage disposal systems will not adversely affect the groundwaters.
Any person violating any provision of § 374-3 or 374-4 of this article shall be deemed guilty of a violation as defined in § 10.00 of the Penal Law of the State of New York and subject to a fine of not more than $250 or to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 days, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
For the violation of any of the provisions of this article by any person, Suffolk County may impose a civil penalty in the amount of $50 for each offense.
Suffolk County may maintain an action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with or restrain any violation of this article.
[Adopted 4-12-2016 by L.L. No. 12-2016]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that the County of Suffolk is a wonderful place to pursue outdoor recreation, both on land and on the water. This Legislature further finds and determines that many County residents use recreational vehicles to camp and boat to enjoy the vast water resources of Long Island. This Legislature finds that some boats and recreational vehicles use sanitary waste holding tanks which provide their owners with greater freedom of movement while protecting groundwater from contamination. This Legislature determines that persons owning boats or recreational vehicles often put additives into their sanitary waste holding tanks when the tanks are not ready to be emptied. This Legislature also finds that some sanitary waste holding tank additives contain formaldehyde, a chemical that is harmful to the environment and which eliminates "good" bacteria that are an important element in the sewage treatment process. This Legislature further finds that formaldehyde additives, when introduced into municipal sewage treatment plants, eliminate needed bacteria; this problem then has to be remedied at taxpayer expense. This Legislature determines that formaldehyde derivatives and other chemicals can also cause harm to the environment and the bacteria used in the sewage treatment process. This Legislature also determines that many alternative holding tank additives are readily available which do not contain formaldehyde, its derivatives or similar chemicals. This Legislature further determines that Suffolk County should ban the sale of holding tank additives that contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde derivatives and other bacteria-damaging chemicals to protect the environment from this harmful chemical.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to prohibit the sale of sanitary waste holding tank additives which contain formaldehyde and similar chemicals.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- 1-(3-chlorallyl)-3,4,7-triaza-1-azoniaadamantane chloride.
- Any natural person, individual, corporation, unincorporated association, proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint-stock association or any other entity or business organization of any kind.
- SANITARY WASTE HOLDING TANK
- A container on recreational vehicles or boats that is designed to hold wastewater until the container can be safely emptied via pumps.
- SANITARY WASTE HOLDING TANK ADDITIVE
- Any product intended to be added to a sanitary waste holding tank as a treatment, cleaner or deodorizer.
No person shall sell or offer for sale any sanitary waste holding tank additive containing formaldehyde, paraformaldehyde, bronopol, dowicil, glutaraldehyde, or para-dichlorobenzene in the County of Suffolk.
Violation of this article shall be punishable by a fine of up to $500 for an initial violation, with subsequent violations punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
A civil fine shall only be assessed by the Commissioner of the Department of Health Services following a hearing at which an alleged violator has the opportunity to be heard.
This article shall be enforced by the County Department of Health Services.
The Commissioner of the Department of Health Services is hereby authorized and empowered to promulgate such rules and regulations as he or she deems necessary to implement this article.
This article shall apply to all actions occurring on or after the effective date of this article.
This article shall take effect 90 days immediately subsequent to filing in the office of the Secretary of State.