Septic tank

June 12, 2013

Report: Septic systems big contributor to Great Bay pollution

Source:, May 16, 2013
By: Aaron Sanborn

Sources of nonpoint nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay estuary is spread out almost equally between septic systems, fertilizers and atmospheric pollution, according to a new report.

The N.H. Department of Environmental Services unveiled its draft report, Great Bay Nitrogen Non-Point Source Study, during a two-hour presentation Thursday at its Portsmouth field office. Release of the report was highly anticipated given the long fight between local communities and the federal Environmental Protection Agency over more stringent regulation of area wastewater treatment plants.

Nonpoint sources have been identified as contributing to 68 percent of the bay’s nitrogen load with the remaining 32 percent from sewer plants along the Great Bay estuary that release nitrogen into the waterways during the treatment process

Until the release of Thursday’s report, no study had been done on the breakdown of these sources into the estuary. Ted Diers, watershed management bureau administrator for DES, described these sources as being hidden within a “black box” until now.

“We knew it was there, but we didn’t know what was inside,” he said. “My hope for the study is that it generates much discussion and planning for a future that includes a Great Bay with less nitrogen input.”

The report indicates 33 percent of nonpoint nitrogen pollution in the estuary comes from atmospheric deposition, while human waste from septic systems and chemical fertilizer each contributed 27 percent. Animal waste was cited for 13 percent.…

January 31, 2012

Environmental cleanup under way in Davenport

Source:, January 27, 2012
By: Mary Hurst

An environmental cleanup has started on the old Louis Matthews’ property. The late Matthews had operated a filling station and automotive repair business on the property.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection began the environmental clean-up this week with grant funds. The property is now owned by Bertha Matthews, his widow.

Mayor Peter Rust, 70, said Monday, during the City Commission’s regular meeting, the property used to be a Sinclair gas station when he was 11.

When the federal government’s Superfund funding was cut, the DEP put many of the Superfund sites on a list.

Now it’s Davenport’s turn to get a clean up, City Amy Arrington said.

Hank Harrison told commissioners the gas tanks would have to be removed and that surrounding soil decontaminated.

A series of wells are being installed not only to monitor the contamination but to treat and remove it as well.

Since the work has just begun, they didn’t know how long the process will take.

In other business, the commissioners learned that major repairs had to be done on each of the city’s two fire engines, costing about $15,000.

“If we didn’t do these repairs, we would have no operating fire engines,” Arrington said.…

February 9, 2011

Sewer district buys $3 million liability insurance

Source:, February 4, 2011
By: Gary Phillips

Key Largo wastewater commissioners are buying insurance to protect the sewer agency in case of a pollution spill that could be costly to clean up, or lawsuits over things like odor from the wastewater facility.

Debbie MacAfee of insurance company T.R. Jones and Co. told the commissioners that buying insurance policies is standard practice for public utilities.

“This is a policy of coverage you really need for so many reasons,” she said. “So many things can go wrong at a wastewater site.”

McAfee told the board a lawsuit had been filed against the City of Chattanooga, Tenn., in Nov. 2010 over odor from a sewage plant. She said an insurance policy would help pay for defending against lawsuits and more.…

September 20, 2010

Process Tank Malfunction

Acknowledgement to Great American

A process tank at a wastewater treatment plant malfunctioned, discharging a large volume of untreated wastewater into a nearby stream. This discharge caused a fish kill as well as damage to many aquatic plants. The local regulatory authority issued fines to the operator of the wastewater treatment plant for the unauthorized discharge. In addition several local residents as well an environmental group filed suits for loss of enjoyment of the creek.…