Nantucket has a Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP), approved by the state, to guide how we handle wastewater for the next 20 years. The major goal of the plan is to ensure that our waters are clean and to develop solutions to address water quality island-wide. We can measure the health of our harbors, ponds, creeks and estuaries by the creatures and flora that live in them. One example, in Nantucket and Polpis Harbors, are the scallops that depend on healthy eel grass to survive. If the eel grass is dying off because of pollution in the water then the scallops cannot survive. Compromised water resources impact us all. Nantucket depends upon our water resources for drinking water, public health, tourism, fishing, boating, swimming, recreation and livlihoods.
A major cause of water pollution on Nantucket is nitrogen. Nitrogen is in our septic systems, fertilizers and storm water, all of which drain into our groundwater, which then flows into our harbors, ponds, creeks and estuaries carrying the pollution with it. One effect of too much nitrogen is that it causes excessive algae blooms which limit sunlight through the water and kills off eel grass. The Nantucket Select Board and Town Administration are committed to preserving and protecting Nantucket’s water resources. The CWMP update outlines plans to extend town sewer, manage/reduce fertilizer use and contain stormwater where possible in order to stop the flow of harmful nutrients. For more information please check out the CWMP, available at www.nantucket-ma.gov/259/Wastewater-Action-Plan.