More than $725,000 in grants will boost local solutions to Buzzards Bay’s biggest pollution problem

Nitrogen pollution is the greatest long-term threat to the health of Buzzards Bay. Over 20 years of data collected through the Coalition’s Baywatchers monitoring program show that more than half the Bay’s rivers, coves, and harbors suffer from nitrogen pollution, leading to cloudy, murky water and a loss of underwater life.

Now, a newly launched partnership among federal, state, and local organizations is working to solve the nitrogen pollution problem at the regional level. The Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program will protect and restore clean water through collaborate, innovative projects that embrace local solutions to pollution.

To start, the program has awarded more than $725,000 in grants for six projects that will result in clear, measurable pollution reductions to the Bay. The Coalition is leading three of these projects, which will reduce nitrogen pollution from septic systems and lead to better management of cranberry bogs.

  • In Bourne, the Coalition will work with local property owners around Red Brook Harbor to tie homes currently on septic systems into a new private wastewater treatment facility. This project will eliminate septic systems and cesspools that are now leading to pollution in the harbor.
  • In West Falmouth, the Coalition and the town of Falmouth will work together to encourage homeowners along West Falmouth Harbor to replace their septic systems with innovative alternative systems that reduce nitrogen to the harbor.
  • At the head of the Bay in Carver, Plymouth, and Wareham, the Coalition will continue working with the UMass Cranberry Station and the Marine Biological Laboratory to study nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from cranberry bogs. This data will provide a better understanding of how much nutrient pollution comes from cranberry bogs, which can be used to develop management plans to reduce pollution.

In addition, Fairhaven and Wareham received grants to reduce nitrogen pollution from their wastewater treatment plants. The Fairhaven wastewater treatment plant is the biggest single source of nitrogen pollution to New Bedford Harbor; with this grant, the town will conduct a pilot study to provide a framework for upgrading the plant’s nitrogen controls. The Wareham grant will further reduce nitrogen pollution to the Agawam River and the Wareham River by installing state-of-the-art technology to monitor and process nitrogen at the wastewater treatment plant.

Category: On the Bay

Current Issues

Nitrogen Pollution

Nitrogen pollution is the greatest long-term threat to the health of Buzzards Bay. We all contribute nitrogen pollution to our local waterways. Fortunately, we can all do our part to stop it.

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Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: