Our Water Quality: Curbing Pollution

It's important to understand that Nantucket has significant amounts of glacially deposited coarse, sandy soils that are subject to rapid water infiltration, percolation, and leaching of nutrients. What this means, simply, is that what we put on our lawns or leave unremoved from septic leaching fields and septic tanks eventually ends up in the harbors.

Curbing water pollution

Septic Tanks

  • Have them emptied regularly, or
  • When applicable, tie in to existing sewer or planned sewer systems
  • Septic tanks need to be maintained and brought to code where applicable

Use of Fertilizer
Although fertilizer is not the greatest contributor of nitrates into our waters, it is the one that we can most easily control.

  • Apply no more than 3.0 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn per growing season.
  • Do not apply fertilizer immediately before or during heavy rainfall or when the soil is saturated due to intense or extended rainfall.
  • Do not apply more than every two weeks.
  • Do not apply fertilizer between October 16th and April 14. The reason is because temperatures within those dates are too cool for turf growth and applied fertilizer will go directly into our waters.
  • Do not apply, spill, or deposit fertilizer on any impervious surface. If you do remove the fertilizer immediately as it is prone to run off and make it's way to the harbor or inland ponds.
  • Do not allow fertilizer to enter into storm drains or other man-made storm flowage receptacles and/or channels.
  • Do not  apply fertilizer closer than 100 feet to any water-body - inland pond or harbor - unless a permit is obtained from the Nantucket Conservation Commission.
  • Do not deposit grass clippings, leaves, or any other vegetative debris into or within 25 feet of water-bodies, retention and detention areas, drainage ditches or storm water drains, or onto impervious  surfaces such as roadways and sidewalks, except during scheduled clean-up programs.
  • Consider using Nantucket friendly and native species that, on the whole, require less fertilization.

Click here to learn what NCA is doing to help curb water pollution on Nantucket.