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Water-Related News

Organic carbon can reduce nitrates in wastewater produced by septic systems

SARASOTA COUNTY – Organic carbon, such as sawdust and wood chips, are the keys to improving the effectiveness of a septic system, says Steve Suau, one of three authors of the Community Playbook for Healthy Waterways and principal of Progressive Water Resources.

That extra filtration the organic carbon provides, known as a denitrification, significantly reduces the amount of nitrates in water.

“It’s all-natural biology, we’re not using any chemicals at all,” Suau said. “We're using biology to attract the natural bacteria that converts nitrate to nitrogen gas and puts it back in the atmosphere and finishes the nitrogen cycle.”

When he lived in South Venice, Suau envisioned a similar denitrification barrier between homes on well and septic systems there and Alligator Creek.

Something similar may be an option in North Port, where there are access roads between homes and the canals originally dug by GDC to make the land marketable.

Many modern septic systems include a denitrification layer. In northern Florida, the source of several freshwater springs, that is required through the 2016 Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act.