What is Nitrogen and Why Should We Worry About It?

Nitrogen is a naturally-occurring element. It is:

  • The largest component of the earth's atmosphere (nitrogen gas is 80% of the air we breathe)
  • An important component of commercial fertilizer (it is the "N" in "NPK")
  • Present in human waste as ammonia and organic nitrogen
  • Present in rainfall as a result of power plant discharges in the Midwest (oxides of nitrogen are air pollutants)

Coastal waters have the ability to naturally assimilate some nitrogen load. When that capacity is exceeded, harmful algal blooms result that impairs eelgrass and bottom organisms and makes swimming and boating less desirable.

Show All Answers

1. Why Do Orleans Residents Need to Change the Way They Dispose of Wastewater?
2. What is Nitrogen and Why Should We Worry About It?
3. How Does Nitrogen from Septic Systems and Lawn Fertilization Get into Our Coastal Waters?
4. How Many Septic Systems Must Be Eliminated?
5. If We Eliminate Septic Systems By Providing A Public Sewer System, Where Does The Nitrogen Go?
6. Doesn't Orleans Already Share A Wastewater Treatment Plant At The Tri-Town Site Near Rt. 6 & 6A?
7. If We Build A New Wastewater Treatment Plant, What Would Happen To The Existing Tri-Town Facility?
8. Is There A Single Best Way To Collect And Treat Orleans' Wastewater?
9. How Will The WMSC Determine Which Plan Is "Best"?
10. How Long Will It Take To Clean Up The Nitrogen Problem?
11. What Happens If We Do Nothing About The Nitrogen Problem?
12. Is There Money To Be Saved By Finding Regional Solutions?
13. How much will the CWMP cost me?