Buzzards Bay ‘Decision Makers’ series focuses first on nitrogen pollution

Buzzards Bay ‘Decision Makers’ series focuses first on nitrogen pollution

Upper Westport River.

With the problems of nitrogen pollution becoming familiar for Westport and other communities across Southeastern Massachusetts, an upcoming workshop has been designed to help towns deal with the issue.

As nitrogen levels rise, waters become clogged with algae each summer, threatening tourism, fisheries, and the quality of life of the region’s residents. Communities are looking for practical, cost-effective solutions as they work to meet nitrogen reduction targets.

To help communities address the issue, Buzzards Bay Coalition is hosting a free workshop on Wednesday, March 6, in New Bedford. The workshop will provide solutions to the region’s main source of nitrogen pollution — wastewater. The session will highlight innovative solutions to wastewater for homes, towns and neighborhoods.

• For homeowners, George Heufelder, director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center, will discuss innovative septic system technology designed to minimize nitrogen flowing into groundwater and then to the Bay.

• For municipal sewer systems, Amy Lowell, wastewater operator from the town of Falmouth, will outline the performance of the town’s wastewater plant at reducing nitrogen concentrations. The facility was upgraded in 2005 leading to a greater than 75 percent reduction in the amount of nitrogen flowing into West Falmouth Harbor.

• A third solution – neighborhood-sized treatment plants – will be investigated by Jeffery Osuch from the town of Fairhaven who will profile the wastewater treatment plant that serves the West Island community.

The March 6 workshop is the first of three Decision Makers Workshops the Bay Coalition will host this spring.

A workshop on Wednesday, March 20, in East Wareham will outline solutions for reducing nitrogen from stormwater, agriculture, and landscaping.

The third workshop, on Wednesday, April 3 ,in Bourne, will provide solutions for planning and funding a cost-effective cleanup.

Decision Makers Workshops are appropriate for anybody looking for solutions to reduce nitrogen pollution, but are meant to be especially beneficial for town officials and staff, as well as community members and businesses with a concern for clean water. The March 6 workshop is approved for Training Contact Hours for wastewater treatment plant operators and septic system installers.

To register, contact Rob Hancock at [email protected] or 508.999.6363 x222.

For more information about the Decision Makers Workshop series, visit