Residents can still weigh in on proposed septic changes

Jan 30, 2023

Though the public comment period on the state’s proposed changes to its septic regulations has now closed, Dartmouth Public Health Agent Chris Michaud wants residents to know there are still ways to let their voices be heard.

At the Select Board’s Jan. 30 meeting, Michaud noted that residents can contact Gary Moran, the deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, via email at to weigh in on the ongoing septic issue.

Residents can also contact the governor’s constituency office by calling (617) 725-4005 or (888) 870-7770, or by visiting

The state is currently proposing residents living along estuaries feeding into Buzzards Bay replace their septic systems with ones containing nitrogen-filtering technology as part of its effort to reduce the amount of nitrogen in the region’s waterways.

According to MassDEP, there are around 2,700 homes in Dartmouth that would be affected by such changes. New nitrogen-filtering systems can cost up to $50,000 per installation with an annual maintenance fee of $1,000 to $2,000.

The other option, according to the proposal, is to have towns apply for a “watershed permit” which would allow municipalities to develop their own state-approved plans to reduce nitrogen by 75% over 20 years. At a Jan. 18 meeting at UMass Dartmouth, DEP officials said they preferred this option.

State and local officials are currently at odds over the effectiveness of either option. Dartmouth residents and elected officials have also expressed displeasure with the state’s process in drafting said regulations.