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Tisbury Board of Health Stands Firm on Nitrogen Regulations

The Tisbury Board of Health has declined a request from the Cape Cod and Islands Realtors Association to reconsider its new nitrogen regulations. These regulations aim to improve water quality in Lake Tashmoo and Lagoon Pond by upgrading backyard septic systems.

Realtors Association Concerns

The Realtors Association expressed concerns that the new rules would target one of the few relatively affordable locations on the Island and ultimately make Tisbury more expensive. The average-priced home that sold in these areas over the last year was $1.5 million, well below the island’s average of $2.2 million.

New Regulations in 2024

The Tisbury Board of Health regulations, voted through in September, are scheduled to go into effect in the beginning of 2024 and would impact some 1,500 properties near Tashmoo and the Lagoon. Under the revised regulations, the buyer or seller of a home would be required to install nitrogen-removing technology, often called innovative alternative systems or I/A systems. This technology can be quite expensive, with some estimates as high as $50,000.

Request for Reconsideration

In their letter, the Realtors Association asked that the board not require the new technology when a property is transferred. They want the board to require the upgrade only when a system has failed. This requirement is already in Tisbury’s current nitrogen regulations. The letter stated, “As an Association, supporting clean water infrastructure is a significant priority of our advocacy work. We are writing to ask you to reconsider a portion of your new regulation, as your reconsideration will help with year-round home affordability and also maintain our common goals for clean water.”

Health Board’s Response

Health board members at a meeting on November 14th said that they would “politely decline” the Association’s request. Member Jeff Pratt said that their regulations do not supersede anything that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has considered. MassDEP recently set new sensitive watershed regulations for Cape Cod that will require towns with impaired coastal waterways to apply for 20-year, nitrogen mitigation permits. Plans would have to address the nitrogen pollution coming from backyard septic systems.

20-Year Plan for Nitrogen Removal

Pratt explained that the Tisbury health board’s regulations going into effect are essentially a 20-year plan to remove nitrogen from the Lagoon and Tashmoo watersheds. Homeowners will have to pay for the upgrade eventually, whether now or within 20 years. The board voted unanimously to send a letter to the realtors association suggesting it would pass on their recommendation.

Orginal article: Link To Article – provided by Kansas City Realtors