Solutions Exist

Scientists and engineers have identified the causes of nitrogen pollution and have developed proven solutions for managing wastewater and stormwater and reducing the impacts of fertilizer use.

Conventional septic systems were designed nearly a century ago to treat bacteria from human waste but they are not as effective at treating nitrogen. New onsite septic system technologies, capable of safely removing far more nitrogen from human waste exist, but they are not currently available for use in Connecticut. Just as we upgraded wastewater treatment facilities to reduce nitrogen before it is discharged to waterways, we can use 21st century technologies for septic systems to treat pollution before it enters groundwater and makes its way to harbors and bays. Additionally, we can do a better job of managing the way we use fertilizers by changing landscaping and agricultural practices to protect and restore healthy coastal waters.

Because nitrogen pollution sources and coastal water conditions differ between communities, not all solutions are appropriate for every situation. With a variety of options, water managers and communities can target nitrogen pollution sources with effective solutions.  Click on the different nitrogen reduction options below to compare the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of each option and learn more about these solutions.

Septic Install © C. Clapp, TNC

Upgrade Septic System Technology

Upgrading conventional septic systems to proven innovative and advanced (I/A) on-site septic systems decreases nitrogen contributions to groundwater.

Treatment Plant © Shutterstock, Purchased, Standard License

Increase Sewer Connections within Sewer Service Areas

Where infrastructure and capacity are available, homeowners within existing sewer service areas with conventional septic systems can connect to wastewater treatment facilities.

Trench PRB Diagram © Cape Cod Commission

Install Permeable Reactive Barriers

PRBs can be installed near the shoreline to intercept groundwater flow before it reaches a bay or cove, or at the edge of a septic system drain field to intercept and treat nitrogen-enriched septic effluent.

Fertilizing Lawn © iStock Purchased Standard License

Manage Fertilizers

Fertilizer management entails controlling the amount and timing of fertilizer application to lawns, golf courses, & athletic fields.

Bioswale, Edgewood School, New Haven, CT © Save The Sound

Capture Stormwater

We can reduce stormwater volume and the amount nitrogen that reaches waterways by installing grassed channels, vegetated swales, or bioswales sometimes known as Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI).