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Friday, December 2, 2022
Home Government Hen Island - Photos of Dubious Septic Systems

Hen Island – Photos of Dubious Septic Systems

Septic_hen_island_dsc03328_2Hen Island captures the imagination. Just a short boat ride from Rye’s "mainland" it seems a world away. It seems like an idyllic place.

Then you see how most of the 34 homes on the island handle human sewage (they don’t). The septic systems (if you can call them that) are crude at best and in many cases just feet away from the Long Island Sound. One would be hard pressed to believe any of us land lubbers would get away with such creative plumbing anywhere else in the city of Rye.

Septic_hen_island_north_dsc03343View MyRye.com’s photo album of Hen Island’s problems. Maybe not, but perhaps Westchester County and Rye City should call for some basic testing as requested from the Long Island Soundkeeper Terry Backer and confirm these systems meet all code requirements.


  1. Shame on me……I should have waited for the other shoe to drop, before entering favorable comments on the photos shown previously….It’s obvious “myrye” was invited out to do more than take pictures of lovely sunsets and clean, well-maintained cottages; as were published several days ago….Let’s fess up Dear Editor and tell eveyone who invited you out and who accompanied you on the photo journey….I see shadows of two people in one of the photos..I see the hand of someone (obviously, not the photographer) in another……The results of Mr. Tartaglione’s lawsuit have been widely written about here as well as other venues….Testing HAS been done…The Health Dept. has been to Hen Island…..I believe it’s important to remember the community on Hen Island is a seasonal one…Most of the campsite owners are present on the island for weekends only..there are very few folks who spend the entire summer there…The demands placed on the septic systems are not great…It’s a CAMPGROUND …I’d be curious to know if there are homeowners in Rye, bordering Long Island Sound, with septic tanks..

  2. Mr. Johnson,
    Your response sounds the likes of Commissioner Meyerson’s. Only the Commissioner has never stated testing was conducted. He only stated that the island was “inspected” (if he said he walked around for a few minutes it would have been more appropriate). There is a big difference between testing and inspecting. I believe stating the island was inspected is the Commissioner’s way of continuing the cover-up on Hen Island. Although he has been to the island, testing was never conducted. Your statement that “these are campsites” is another jape. The homes on Hen Island contain all the amenities present in a home on the mainland inclusive of TV, stereo, gas stoves, heaters, electricity, air conditioning, bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms although it is true they were campsites at one time long before the sanitary code was established in 1959. Let me recite for you the dictionary definition of a campsite “a site where people on holiday can pitch a tent”. There are no tents on Hen Island. The picture of your home does not look like a tent. Is it your inference because most of the “campsite owners” are present on the island seasonally and for weekends only that it is acceptable to pollute and endanger the lives of residents and boaters during the season and on the weekend?

    In response to your final question regarding homeowners in Rye, bordering Long Island Sound with septic tanks. If septic tanks were present on Hen Island as they are in homes along the shores, we would have no sewage disposal problems. Mr. Johnson your comments and personal attacks are now being heard and seen in the court of public opinion and are loosing steam very quickly. I am also confident that the higher courts will soon allow my attorneys the opportunity to depose and expose all involved in covering-up a long neglected series of environmental injustices and building code avoidance on Hen Island.

  3. Ray, Ray, Ray……I know there is a vast difference between the condominium I own in Rye and the campsite cabin which occupies a spot on Hen Island…Amenities are few and far between on Hen Island..Electricity is provided by generator, for those who choose to employ that method..Personally, I have no TV..I have no stereo..I have no electricity..The cabin has very nice, functioning, gas lamps…..Fresh, drinking water is carried out to the island by the summer residents, on an as needed basis…There are no wells. There is no town water.. It’s unclear how I’m “endangering the lives of boaters”….Perhaps that’s an issue you should raise with the local police or city officials..It sounds very serious to me and needs to be addressed in a forum other than this one…To be honest, I have yet to be approached by any boaters suggesting I’ve placed them at risk….I’m not attacking you personally, Ray…..I’m just allowing the “court of public opinion” a point of view, other than yours….

  4. Posted in the minutes of the January 14, Rye City council meeting was Mayor Otis’s response to my question as to why the city had no plans to enforce the health, safety and environmental codes on Hen Island in 2009. Mayor Otis said “The sanitary issues relating to Hen Island are handled by the Westchester County Department of Health and the building code issues raised have been looked at by the cities building inspector and fire inspector”.

    The mayor’s comment on the sewage issues: When Deputy Health Commissioner Lenny S. Meyerson was informed that a home owner on Hen Island installed a new sewage pit and lied on his request letter to the health department this past summer, Commissioner Meyerson stated, “until the local building department advises DOH that the information was incorrect, there is no basis to revisit this office’s letter of no objection.” The complete letter can be view at: http://healtheharbor.com/correspondence/Meyerson_response_051308.pdf
    Simply stated, the health department will not open an investigation without the City of Rye’s complaint. Why has the City of Rye not informed the health department of the inconsistencies in the correspondence, and the installation of a new unapproved wastewater pit dug in the ground on Hen Island?
    In regards to Mayor Otis’s comment on building codes: When Westchester County Environmental Inspector Ron Gatto, along with the City of Rye Building Inspector Vincent Tamburro, inspected Hen Island in July of 2007, their report read; “The investigation/inspection clearly showed makeshift septic systems on many of the homes throughout the island. These systems were not approved by county health or the City of Rye Building Department. Some of the septic systems were at ground level or above with no with no fields or proper tanks. There were some pipes that entered the ground and discharged into an unknown area of the island.” The entire six page investigation report goes on to report on unhealthy conditions with regard to mosquito infestations and improper unsanitary drinking water conditions. The complete county report can be viewed at the below link.
    Why is the Mayor not being truthful about inspections on Hen Island?
    In regards to the Fire inspector: Jim Dianani the City of Rye’s fire inspector was on Hen Island in 2001. At that time he suggested the installation of dry fire hydrants on Hen Island. To this date, there are still no fire hydrants on Hen Island. That report can be viewed below.
    It appears to me that Mayor Otis’s is trying to cover up some very disturbing environmental, health and safety code violations. My statement to the mayor is as follows: If you are not going to enforce the laws that you have taken an oath to uphold, please step down so someone else will. The City of Rye deserves better.

  5. This seems to be an interesting article penned by Jay Sears. Jay was concerned and interested enough about his community to tour Hen Island in July of 2008. It is too bad that the Mayor or any of the council members took the time to do the same. Could it be they were afraid of what they might find in their own backyards? Keep up the great work Mayor. I hope everyone remembers this come November!!!

  6. I think the new Floatiemobile unit “# 2” should have a real toilet bowl mounted on the roof. In addition I heard this picture of the Mayor will be decaled on both sides.
    I think everyone that votes for him this coming election season should know what he represents and stands for. Is anyone aware of the location of his campaign headquarters? We are always looking for good parking spots.

    Jack A. (Mr. Floatie’s ass-istant)

  7. Wrong again Quincy; we don’t need expensive anything. What we need is to be safe and non-polluting and there are many way that can be accomplished it doesn’t have to be expensive. It just needs to be done and done correctly with permits and approvals and according to code even if that is a special code establish for Hen Island. However it is done, you must protect the people and the environment. Health and safety has nothing to do with how my neighbors feel. The Hen Island community has avoided all the laws of Rye since it was purchased in 1952. Remember the City said there were no problems for two years. All of a sudden the cover-up was uncovered and presto there were the violations. Now they are singing the same song about the sewage and potable water. This is 2009 and people should be a little smarter with public safety and the environment. As you can see the entire BS they have been selling you is not true.
    Ray Tartaglione

    PS why don’t you stay on thread? Could it be you don’t want everyone reading or seeing pictures about the Dubious Septic Systems

  8. Hen Island Quincy,
    You mean feasibility of a sewer line. There is a trunk line along the shore of Greenhaven less than 450 feet from the Island. By the way that line is already in the water. I believe that would be the best alternative and so does the city engineer George Moterlla in my conversations with him about it. He was the one that told me of the County trunk line was located along Greenhaven shoreline. Hen Island also has an easement for utilities that they don’t want the public to know about and that is also located in Greenhaven. As long as they stop the sewage from entering the sound I don’t really care how they solve the problem. They just need to solve it. It’s nice to see that you do understand that they are polluting the waters but sad to see that you are unwilling to make them stop.

  9. Voice of Reason,
    I keep telling you your name should be “irrational”

    “Some governmental agency (State, County, City) should condemn the whole damn Island”.
    Instead of fixing the problems and stopping the polluters from polluting, the government should take the island.

    “Financial and human costs mean nothing to him”.
    Instead of fixing the problems we should wait till someone get sick or another house blows up before we address the issues on Hen Island. Below is a picture from the last time a propane tank blew up on Hen Island two years ago. The flames were so high in the air the New York City Marine Fire unit responded to the near disaster. Who is the dangerous one here me or you? I put my name on this where is yours Mr. “irrational”

  10. I’d be curious to know where and how Mr. Tartaglione put a septic field on Hen Island’s “common ground”….From what I’ve heard, the island is “owned” by Kuder Island Colony and the land itself is owned by all the shareholders…Mr. Tartaglione would have to have received authorization from the shareholders as well as the City of Rye as well as Westchester County to dig in this enviornment…Ray, please post copies of said permits..then, maybe someone will give you some credibility…High and Dry in Rye

  11. Ted C,
    They can’t link up to any stories about how well the Islanders treat the environment. So they link up to anything they can. Maybe they can link to this one Photos of Dubious Septic Systems:
    or this one calling for testing by the Long Island Soundkeeper;
    Or maybe this one where it lays out why the city of Rye and Mr. Plunkett avoided enforcement from the begining;

    It must be a conspiracy against the Hen Islanders and according to these articles, Jay Sears and The Soundkeeper are also part of the conspiracy . That’s not to mention hundreds of others that have witnessed the Hen Island disasters first hand. Anyone interested in seeing it firsthand please give me a call or drop me an e-mail Ray@HEALtheHARBOR.com and I would be happy to take you on a little tour around the Island before they try to throw me off for exposing the pollution and the lawlessness.

    Ray Tartaglione

  12. Once again, you have not answered the question.

    Either you illegally expanded your septic system and your attorney is a liar.


    You illegally installed a “self contained system” and you are a liar.


    You still have the same outdated system and both you and your attorney are liars.

    Which is it?

    Answer the question…….

  13. Quincy,
    Right, Ray wants to chase everyone off the Island (including his friends and the others that support him) buy the Island and then partner up with Trump to build a couple of skyscrapers. The Planning board and the residents of Rye might allow that in 2095. Maybe you can come up with something a little more palatable for people to believe.

    Jack A. (Mr. Floatie’s ass-istant)

  14. Can you find Mr. Floatie in this picture?


    First one to answer the question correctly gets to fall into this sewage pit located on Hen Island;


    FYI; The City of Rye was put on notice in June by the Westchester County Department Of Health that this open sewage pit existed and needed to be addressed.

    Will the Hen Island community take the proper steps and get the proper permits required to close a sewage pit? Will they just fill it with dirt? Or will they just ignore it as Mayor Otis has allowed them to do for the past three years?

  15. Ray isnt that a picture of your 70+ next store neighbors house who you pretend to be a friend too? Did you offer him any help instead of taking cheap shots online?

    Can you discuss your strategy regarding mosquito control from a few years ago. I am not talking about removing the leaves.. I would like you to focus on the spraying of bug spray (i assume they had to be poison, but you know what happens when you assume) in the wetlands?

    Not sure a true environmetalist would have done that. Oh i am sorry your just an oppurtunist

  16. Plus you should speak to your neighbor and ask him if that is even a sewer pit as you say here. My understanding is that its not. I wonder if this is a possible slander lawsuit??

    Too bad you have him tricked that you care about him