Septic and Sewer Systems
The Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers are on the Clean Water Act’s list of impaired waters due in large part to pollution from excess nitrogen and phosphorus. Nitrogen and phosphorous nutrient pollution can lead to algae blooms and cause dead zones—areas in the Bay that have low oxygen levels and cannot support a healthy ecosystem. Other than agriculture, sewer and septic systems are the largest source of added nutrients and pollution to the Bay. A public sewer system includes a municipal water facility that cleans the water to a certain standard and then discharges it back into the Bay watershed. Septic systems are used for individual homes or businesses. Upgrading the technology for both municipal sewer systems and septic can help meet clean water goals.