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“The state and EPA have mandated that the Cape manage wastewater to prevent nutrient overload in our ponds, estuaries and embayments. Alternative septic systems and sewering are both expensive options. On The Point, we discuss another choice: urine diversion, or “no mix” toilets. They’re cheaper and provide free fertilizer. But will people go for them?”
“Communities have two years to opt into a permitting process. If they don’t, new septic systems in the watershed would be required to include enhanced nitrogen-reducing technology, and homeowners would be on the hook to upgrade existing systems within five years.
‘It’ll force those towns to move quicker on those plans than they may have originally thought,’ said Brian Baumgaertel, a senior environmental specialist at the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment….”
“The pilot program will be conducted by the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center, which outlined a proposal to the Water Quality Management Committee in May. The program must involve at least 50 Falmouth properties, which would provide data on urine volume, nitrogen and phosphorus content and gray water. Funds for the project would be appropriated by Town Meeting.”
CapeCod.com’s Sunday Journal: Barnstable County Highlights Water for April
County Senior Environmental Specialist Brian Baumgaertel joins Sunday Journal this week to discuss programs including the low-interest loan program “Aquifund” that can help replace aging systems, testing services, and combatting PFAS.
“We’re not looking to unnecessarily divert funding from sewering projects,” said Brian Baumgaertel, director of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center, a division of Barnstable County. “We are looking for the most economical and socially equitable solution to help fix what is a slow-moving environmental disaster.”
New York Times: A Toxic Stew on Cape Cod: Human Waste and Warming Water
“Septic systems work well where homes are too sparse to justify expensive sewers and water treatment plants. About 95 percent of the Cape’s properties use them. But they don’t filter out nitrogen or phosphorus, which seeps into the groundwater and, eventually, bodies of water. Enter Mr. Baumgaertel’s outdoor laboratory of sewage management.
Mashpee Enterprise: Septic System Test Center Makes Strides Toward Better Safeguarding Cape’s Water
“Outdated and environmentally unfriendly septic systems and cesspools are the norm on Cape Cod. Although most people would rather avoid the topic of where their waste goes after it has been flushed, the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center is not afraid to take on the issue directly.”
The Nature Conservancy: Experimental Solutions to Reduce Nitrogen Pollution on Cape Cod
“The New England way of life depends on our water quality. Everything from our drinking water and food to recreation and the economy depends on healthy, clean water flowing from streams to our coasts and into the ocean. Unfortunately, the impacts of climate change and development are threatening the places we love and rely on.”
“The Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center recently announced that testing conducted at the facility over the last three years has aided in the development of an award-winning sensor for measuring nitrogen discharges from innovative and alternative (I/A) septic systems.”
Provincetown Independent: Outer Cape Gets First Taste of Septic ‘Layer Cake’
“The Massachusetts Estuaries Project found that septic systems are responsible for 80 percent of the controllable nitrogen load on Cape Cod. The authors of a 2012 Barnstable County Dept. of Health and Environment report noted, ‘Cape Cod’s designation as a sole source aquifer means that all drinking water sources are part of a contiguous groundwater supply that hydraulically connects wastewater discharge sites to drinking water sources.”’
Want to help us keep MASSTC in the News? Schedule an interview! Contact Brian Baumgaertel by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 774-330-3019.