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Nitrogen loads will continue to increase and water quality problems will grow worse. Eventually, our coastal waters will be largely unfit for shellfishing and undesirable for swimming and boating. The tourist industry will suffer and property values will decline. If we do not meet the standards that are being set for nitrogen removal, we will be subject to state and federal regulatory enforcement actions, which would include mandated compliance schedules and fines.
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Nitrogen is a naturally-occurring element. It is:
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.
State-of-the-art scientific studies, developed by the Mass Estuaries Project, have determined that septic systems must be eliminated, as follows, to protect or restore coastal water quality:
No. That facility receives and treats "septage", the liquid sludge that accumulates in septic tanks.
The Wastewater Management Steering Committee has identified three promising wastewater plans:
The WMSC is conducting a detailed comparison of these three plans and invites your input on which is "best".
A large number of "evaluative factors" are being considered, including:
The WMSC seeks your input on which of these factors are most important.
Yes. For small towns like Orleans and its neighbors, it is usually cheaper for two or more towns to get together, provided that transport distances are not too great and suitable sites exist. The WMSC has received a grant from the Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative to look into the savings that could accrue to all towns. We are evaluating each of the candidate plans to see if they can be expanded to handle wastewater from Eastham and Brewster.
Preliminary estimates indicate that the 3 plans under consideration will cost the following:
How the facilities will be funded has not yet been determined. Capital facilities is expected to be through a combination of taxes and betterments. Access to the State Revolving Fund will help to reduce the cost to taxpayers.
Operational costs will be paid through user fees to those connected to the sewer.