I thought Title 5 septic systems solved the issue of increased nutrient loading from wastewater on groundwater?
  1. Why don't they?

    Typically over 85% of the controllable nitrogen comes from water leaching from fully compliant Title 5 septic systems down to the groundwater table, which ultimately surfaces in our streams and estuaries. This type of system was designed to remove solids and bacteria. Title 5 systems only remove about 10 to 15% of the nitrogen in waste discharged to them. It is important to understand that effluent leaving a Title 5 septic system on a lot 300 feet or 3 miles from an estuary can still affect the water quality of the receiving estuary. The septic system effluent infiltrates down to the groundwater table where the groundwater then conveys it as it flows toward an estuary before daylighting in the open water body.
  2. My septic works fine. Why should I have to pay for another solution?

    All septic systems contribute to nitrogen loading in some capacity. It is in the town's interest to retain local control of this future large capital project. The state and federal environmental regulatory authorities are under pressure from a lawsuit to enforce the water quality standards of the federal Clean Water Act. If the town does not initiate this project on its own terms, there is a real possibility that the project will be forced upon us by an outside agency in which case local residents will have less say on important issues regarding cost, traffic disruption, the timeline and economic redevelopment.
  3. Why don't septic systems impact our drinking water?

    Septic systems are designed such that they are located at an appropriate distance from drinking water sources and convey wastewater away from drinking water sources. Dennis' drinking water supply is well protected through a combination of maximizing land ownership and control within the Zone IIs (the area of an aquifer that contributes water to a well under the most severe pumping conditions) to its wells, maintaining a town Wellhead Protection District, and conducting annual household hazardous waste collection days. Historically, the Dennis Water District has been very proactive by purchasing land to protect the town's drinking water areas. Additionally, as stated above, drinking water threshold values are higher than those values which may impact a healthy estuarine ecosystem.
  4. Does keeping my septic system pumped help?

    What if I don't have it pumped? Performing regular maintenance on your septic system, such as pumping out the solids, is recommended to allow the system to function as intended and help prevent back-ups or solids overflow into the leaching field. Portions of the town are likely to always utilize Title 5 or related on-site systems.
  5. I just installed a new septic system-if everyone knew there was a problem, why didn't I have a better alternative?

    The town is actively working to develop a town wide plan to combat the nitrogen contamination issue. It is likely that homeowners that newly installed Title 5 septic systems will be given a grace period to comply with the selected implementation scenario. The town wide plan is also likely to take 30 plus years to fully implement.

Show All Answers

1. Why all the talk about wastewater?
2. I thought Title 5 septic systems solved the issue of increased nutrient loading from wastewater on groundwater?
3. What are the nitrogen levels?
4. What solutions to wastewater contamination are being considered for Dennis?
5. Do septic systems impair our fresh water bodies?
6. What is the Cape Cod Commission 208 plan?
7. What are funding impacts?
8. How many phases will there be in the 40 year sewer project?