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New septic system technology aimed at cleaning up Cape waters

As Jennifer Loughran led a tour of Barnstable Clean Water Coalition’s Shubael Pond Project, she called a newly installed NitROE wastewater treatment septic system a “living laboratory.”

“Maybe watching a septic installation isn’t always exciting,” said Loughran, project manager at the coalition. “But just thinking about the possibilities that these systems entail is mind-blowing.”

Zenas Crocker, coalition executive director, noted that all over Cape Cod, “the water problems have 80 to 85% to do with septic-related issues. We believe this system will be one of the key solutions to cleaning up area waters.”

The coalition, formerly Three Bays Preservation Inc., is working to provide 15 NitROE systems to the Shubael Pond neighborhood of Marstons Mills in a collaborative project with the town of Barnstable and others that include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Geological Survey and The Nature Conservancy.

The project is part of a two-year pilot program designed to test and monitor the system’s ability to reduce nutrients in the area’s groundwater. The project will also identify stormwater-related issues.