About 20 residents gathered on Saturday, January 20th at the home of RBLPOA president Ina Cholst to learn about advanced technology septic systems. The discussion leaders were Debbie Mayers, the owner of Tri-State Pump & Septic Supply, and Mike Taub, from Ecoflo, a manufacturer of advanced septic systems. Cholst selected them to speak based on a recommendation by our lake manager, Fred Lubnow and on their extensive experience with lake communities.
Participants generally attended because of concerns about the quality of the lake water and the recognition that many septic systems around the lake were installed 40 to 50 years ago and are no longer functioning properly. There was agreement in the room that it is important for the community to learn about new septic approaches that offer more long-lasting ecological protection while still being cost-effective.
Town Supervisor Sam Oliverio attended the meeting and said that the Putnam County Health Department has not generally been open to new technology, preferring instead to see systems installed with which they have greater familiarity. With more education and a demonstration of interest by lake residents, however, he was hopeful their outlook could change. “They want to see a need, and the health of the lake is a paramount need,” said Oliverio.
There were two general options presented by Taub and Mayers. Owners whose septic tanks and leach fields are not yet failing, could purchase an Ecoflo coconut husk-based filter that is inserted between the tank and the septic fields. Adding an Ecoflow filter to an existing tank removes 99% of pollutants and significantly reduces the environmental burden on the lake. They said the filter costs about $6,000, with another $1,000 to $2,000 required for installation, depending on ground conditions. Oliverio thought there would be much less objection from county regulators to this more limited approach, which adds to, but leaves in place, the traditional elements of a septic system.
Owners whose septic tanks need replacement could consider purchasing an entire Ecoflo septic system “in a box.” This all-in-one unit includes both the tank and the filter. It measures about 8 feet by 12 feet and can be installed (if field conditions are normal) in a day.
There was an acknowledgement in the room that a clean, healthy lake would give all RBL homes greater market value. In addition, homes with updated septic systems would likely have greater market value than those whose systems are failing. A comparison was made to houses with oil tanks buried in the ground.
The meeting concluded with Taub promising to meet with local county regulators, with the assistance of Sam Oliverio and the RBLPOA. If regulatory obstacles are resolved, RBLPOA will spread the word and will help arrange for interested residents who would like to explore installing advanced technology systems to meet with Mayers. Group discounts would be available if there are enough homeowners interested in the systems.