The coastal impact of ground water discharge : an assesment of anthropogenic nitrogen loading in Town Cove, Orleans, Massachusetts
Teal, John M.
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The shores of Town Cove have been settled for three centuries. As for most of Cape Cod, small, sparsely populated farming and fishing villages of the eighteenth century have given way to a substantial population of permanent residents today, with influxes of summer vacation residents and visitors that can increase the population several fold. Increasing numbers of our senior citizens retire to life-long vacation homes here or build new ones. Most people are attracted to the area because of its natural resources---the clean seaside environment, low wooded hills and the sheltered embayments, such as Town Cove, with clean shellfish, safe recreation and peaceful vistas. Along with growth have come many of the problems of increased population pressure, such as disposal of wastes. Although this problem has several aspects, the one we are addressing has to do .with sewage, or more specifically, with the nitrogen compounds associated with sewage that enter the groundwater and find their way to lakes, ponds, swamps and to the shores of Town Cove. This report contains our findings and assessment of the impact and potential impact of nitrogen from human sources on the Town Cove ecosystem, as well as advice to the Town on the potential impact of diverting sewage nitrogen destined for Town Cove to a nearby saltmarsh. The decision on whether or not to spend substantial amounts of money to install sewers or a septage treatment plant depends on many kinds of technical, regulatory and economic information and projections into the future. In the end, it also depends significantly on individual perceptions of how things should be done and what is valuable. Our study is intended to fill an existing gap by providing expert technical information on how Town Cove works and what nitrogen has to do with it; we cannot provide the other information and are not able to make the Town's decision on whether to install sewers.
Final Report (W.H.O.I. Proposal No. 2778) Prepared for the Board of Selectmen Town of Orleans, Massachusetts November 14, 1983