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Accelerating Adoption of Advanced Onsite Wastewater Treatment Technologies for Estuarine Recovery
Watershed studies of unsewered suburban regions across the northeastern US estimate that cesspools and septic systems contribute approximately 30-80 percent of locally controllable nitrogen to coastal embayments and groundwater. To address eutrophication and related impacts driven by nitrogen pollution in waterbodies along the eastern seaboard - including harmful algal blooms, degraded marine habitats and low oxygen dead zones - several northeastern states have established robust programs to test and permit innovative advanced (I/A) onsite wastewater system treatment (OWST) technologies capable of removing 50-90 percent of nitrogen. Despite technological improvements, nutrient pollution from septic systems remains a leading threat to marine biodiversity, recreation, local fisheries, and coastal economies across the region that depend upon tourism. This session explores the social, financial and policy approaches underway to reduce barriers and incentivize the rapid, widespread adoption of appropriate technologies at a scale sufficient to restore and protect the ecological health of estuaries in New England and New York.
Coastal Water Resources