Why should I upgrade my septic system?
In towns across Buzzards Bay, septic systems are the largest source of nitrogen pollution to our coastal waterways. Even properly functioning Title 5 septic systems cause pollution problems. That’s because they aren’t designed to remove nitrogen from wastewater.
A single home septic system may not seem like an issue. But when you add up all the septic systems around Buzzards Bay, they amount to a major source of pollution. In many rural and suburban communities, a majority of single-family homes use a septic system or cesspool to treat waste. That makes tackling nitrogen pollution a major challenge for town officials.
But there are solutions. The positive results of septic systems upgrades are already being shown in West Falmouth. There, 20 homeowners around West Falmouth Harbor upgraded their septic systems as part of a demonstration project we led with the town of Falmouth. These 20 upgraded systems are reducing nitrogen by at least 78% – making a difference to help speed up the harbor’s recovery. This project is now a model that we’ll be using in other neighborhoods across the region to upgrade septic systems and reduce nitrogen pollution.
How can I apply to upgrade my septic system?
The Coalition is now working with partners from Cape Cod and Rhode Island as part of another pilot project to test a new nitrogen-reducing septic system technology called a “layer cake.” This alternative technology may offer a solution that has a lower cost and requires less maintenance and energy than other nitrogen-reducing systems.
As part of this project, we want to test layer cake systems under all types of circumstances at both seasonal and year-round homes. By installing these systems at different sized homes and in a variety of soil types, we can learn how they work under various circumstances – and how much promise they hold for nitrogen reductions in Buzzards Bay.
We’re looking for 10 homeowners to be part of this project and upgrade their septic systems this fall and winter. Homeowners who qualify for the project will each receive a subsidy of up to $10,000 to offset the cost of the installation. They’ll also get an upgraded septic system that will reduce pollution and increase the value of their home.
Homeowners in Westport, Dartmouth, and Falmouth have already signed up. If you live in these towns or in Mattapoisett, Wareham, Carver, or Rochester, you can apply to participate by contacting Korrin Petersen at (508) 999-6363 x206.