All across the country, people interested in water quality have been talking about nitrogen, where it’s coming from and how to control it. But there is another nutrient just as important but less often in the spotlight, and now it’s due for attention.

“Phosphorus has been one of those issues kind of sidelined by nitrogen,” says Brian Baumgaertel, director of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center. “There aren’t a whole lot of technologies looking to remove phosphorus.” 

On Cape Cod, where the center operates as a division of the Barnstable County Health Department, phosphorus is a problem along with nitrogen. “A lot of our ponds have some increased eutrophication issues in the last five to 10 years,” he says. 

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