Sand Filter

A sand filter is considered an alternative secondary treatment system requiring authorization by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

A sand filter can be used when soil is “clayey” or otherwise impervious, or there is little depth of soil on site for effluent treatment. Sand grain size must be in the range 0.5 to 1.00 mm. Effluent from the filter layer must be collected and disposed of; New York State prohibits the discharge of sand-filtered effluent to the ground surface and also prohibits the discharge of sand-filtered effluent to surface water from new construction. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation may allow the discharge from an existing residence to surface waters providing it is a hardship case. The homeowner would apply for a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit and provide final construction plans to meet the appropriate limits of the SPDES permit. The applicant must first have attempted an alternative subsurface system constructed accord- ing to applicable criteria. Engineered plans would be required for any sand filter with a discharge to the ground surface or any body of water.

Sand Filter

This system also requires layers of crushed stone, a layer of geotextile or other material to keep fine silt and particles from enter- ing the filter, and 6-12” topsoil. A SPDES permit from NYS DEC is required for any discharge directly into surface water.


A biofilter uses a substrate with high surface area to facilitate growth of microbiological communities that break down waste in effluent. A biofilter is also an alternative system, requiring special authorization by New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation.

About Us

Founded in 1978, Save The River is a non-profit, member-supported environmental organization whose mission is to restore, preserve and protect the ecological integrity of the Upper St. Lawrence River through advocacy, education and research. Since 2004 Save The River has been a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance as the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper.

Learn more »

The River

The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest Rivers in the world and a magnificent place to live, work and play. Save The River has been working for more than 35 years to protect the River for current and future generations.

Learn more »

Join or Give

Over half of Save The River's budget comes from individual memberships and contributions. Supporting us with an annual membership donation will keep our River advocacy, education and research programs going strong.

Learn more »

Save The River was designated the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. The Waterkeeper Alliance is the world’s fastest growing environmental movement, with more than 200 local Waterkeepers patrolling rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on 6 continents.

Photos from around the River

Off to the races by Pam Quimby  Resting by Pam Quimby  On the Rocks by Nick Apel  Classic Sunset by Barb Hupp  TI Park Library by Meg Kerr  Fall by Carrie Kerr  Girls by Juliane Bauer  Winter Navigation by Sherman Ward  Off on the River by Jenni Werndorf  A Seaway View by Devon Colby 
 Pictures from our Flickr photostream

409 Riverside Drive
Clayton, NY 13624

(315) 686-2010


© Save The River 2014