A23 – MA DEP Nitrogen Regulations

Project Title:  MA DEP Nitrogen Regulations – site to be updated by ~9/12

Project overview

This project focuses on addressing the critical issue of nitrogen pollution in Massachusetts, specifically Cape Cod, from wastewater which poses significant risks to public health, ecosystems, and the local economy. In response, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has introduced regulatory amendments, including updates to Title5 governing septic systems and the introduction of watershed permits, with the goal of limiting nitrogen influx into designated Nitrogen Sensitive Areas (NSAs) through Best Available Nitrogen Reducing Technology (BARNT). Despite these amendments becoming effective on July 7th, 2023, the implementation process is just commencing, requiring careful planning, resources, and stakeholder involvement. This Interactive Qualifying Project aims to discover concerns and obstacles with implementing new nitrogen-reduction regulations from stakeholders and municipalities. Then, report those concerns and create recommendations to MassDEP.

About our team
Our team consists of four WPI juniors- Josephine Fazio, Ashley Hutchings, Chad Ngyuen, and David (Dave) Buitrago. Josephine is an environmental engineering major, Ashley is a chemical engineering major, Chad is a robotics major, and Dave is an aerospace engineering major. We are all thoroughly engaged and excited to be conducting this project and are passionate about combating pollution in MA.

About our sponsor
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, commonly referred to as MassDEP, is one of many organizations overseen by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. MassDEP’s mission is “to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water, and land – to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of all people of Massachusetts; and to ensure a clean and safe environment for future generations” (Mass.gov, 2021). They are a part of six departments overseen by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, who was appointed commissioner.

Expected outcomes
Because implementation has just begun, we expect many mixed views and emotions to these new regulations. Through surveys and interviews, we will gather feedback from non government organizations, municipalities, boards of health, and the general public. We expect time, money, and assistance will be the primary concerns from stakeholders. We then will consolidate feedback in order to provide recommendations to MassDEP to better the implementation process of these new regulations.