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 A Decentralized Wastewater Management Plan for Nags Head: A Coastal Community’s Approach
Amy Macrellis, Mary Clark, Michael Winchell, Bruce Bortz, Todd Krafft, Dr. David Lindbo
Item Number: NRL2006AC-49
Shipping Weight: 0lbs. 0oz.
Price: $20.00
The Town of Nags Head is implementing a Decentralized Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) to protect public health, the environment, and future economic stability. The current Septic Health Initiative includes education and outreach; onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) inspections, pumpouts and loan fund; water quality monitoring; and development of the Plan. This paper includes summaries of inspection program, permits, and water quality monitoring program findings, the results of the GIS-based analyses, and the resulting elements of the town’s Plan. Over 85% of properties use OWTS of widely varying ages, and the majority are conventional systems serving residential properties. OWTS conditions throughout Nags Head were evaluated to identify town-wide trends and identify potential areas of concern. While OWTS are largely performing well and receiving appropriate maintenance, a significant number of systems need better management. A network of surface water points and groundwater monitoring wells has been sampled on a weekly basis since 2001. Water quality sampling program results were evaluated on a system-by-system basis to establish what characteristics of individual OWTS were impacting water quality. Impacts from individual OWTS on groundwater were confined to narrow regions directly downgradient of individual leachfields. Characteristics that caused water quality impacts included depth to groundwater < 3.0 feet, system age > 20 years, and excessive water use particularly in late summer for non-residential and seasonal properties. An environmental impact potential analysis was performed. Properties with highest impact potential due to OWTS conditions have shallow depth to groundwater and excessive water use; these properties are scattered throughout town. Properties with high impact potential due to water resource proximity are located along the ocean. The Plan includes expanding the current voluntary inspection and loan program, continuing the water quality monitoring, and increasing and targeting public education and outreach.