Considering that we all flush at least three times a day, it’s surprising how little we know about where our waste goes. Into a white bowl and then down a pipe— never to be seen, smelled, or thought of again.
But as many Cape Codders are beginning to realize, that’s not really the case. The by-products of our waste are seeping out of underground septic systems and into the groundwater, flowing finally into coastal ponds. The nutrients are harmless by themselves, but in concentrated form, throw off the ecological balance of sensitive estuarine systems.
Though there are many nutrients and “contaminants of concern” to be worried about, nitrogen is known as the culprit for changing pristine harbors into algae-filled swamps, devoid of marine life. Or so we fear. (more…)