A recent editorial in the Newsletter contained this line.
“Septic systems can be a significant source of nutrients and bacterial pollution when not properly maintained.”
The editorial was a short one concerning the Great Bay, that body of water that has some of us wringing our hands.
Maybe not all of us, maybe. I want to be careful here and not get everyone upset. You might be a very conscientious septic system owner. I just have wondered how septic systems seem to get a pass in the discussion. I think we as a society have over utilized these systems in place of doing the right thing. I have never understood how a whole Town can be on septic and the groundwater somehow escapes the taint.
Every State seems to be wrestling with this issue. I don’t think NH has such a focus.
I have had people say “Oh we are on sand, our system is perfect”.
I read recently a tiny news article about a soil survey in NH. That some money had been let for this purpose. In fact I have seen articles about similar work in other States. It would seem that we really don’t know all that much about our soils. Perhaps we assess the location of the proposed septic system but the contiguous geology is not surveyed. We only have general ideas about our soil. I swear I saw a map of NH and it was all red. Red delineating not a great location for septic. Was I dreaming? Is that possible?.
I found the map
I have been asking some questions this week, before the editorial appeared. I have been asking the same questions for years. I just can’t get my head around an entire Town on septic.
I also have never missed an opportunity to inform my readers of Combined Sewer Overflows into the Squamscott River. Overflows from our terrific system here in Town.
We have to address the issue of wastewater treatment and everyone is going to be involved and pay.
Here is some information gathered this week concerning septic systems.
System maintenance- Pump at least once very 3 years. NH is a net exporter of septage . If other States stop accepting the waste from haulers you/ we are in trouble.
The waste that is pumped has to be dumped in a Town with a treatment plant. Do you know where your hauler dumps your septage?. I think you should know. They are supposed to keep records of how much they pump and dump.
If you have a dishwasher you are supposed to pump your tank every year. In my view the once every 3 years is bogus.
You will pay huge sums of money to replace your system should it fail. We should have in place a loan program to address failed and failing systems. Most States suggest drawing a map of your system (tank cover) location. This says to me that the pumping is infrequent and most people have no clue about their waste system.
I watch House Hunters, I know the focus of today’s home buyer.
“Oh I love these wood floors!”
They never ask about sewers, water, schools, emergency services, nearest hospital, flight paths……
Those floors will need sanding .
A map will insure you don’t build a gazebo, deck ,or bocce court over your system.
Shouldn’t I be seeing lots of pump trucks out around the Seacoast? Why is this a Mom & Pop business, low volume?
Location of systems — putting lots of systems right next to a river or stream sets up the situation where failures are worse for the environment. Also given all the flooding lately, putting more septic systems in flood plains seems like a bad idea.
Now the kicker, we are talking about nitrogen correct? UNH should replace the porous asphalt news release with this one and run this press release instead every month.
Nutrient Issue- The Great Bay and many tributaries are encountering more nitrogen than can be healthful for their ecology. Much of this is coming from septic systems. The unfortunate thing is that a well functioning septic system is the perfect delivery vehicle of nitrogen to shallow groundwater. The dissolved nitrogen flows right through the system. UNH researchers are finding that the ground water system is loaded with nitrogen.
I want to be sure that decisions involving wastewater treatment involve all citizens of the Seacoast.