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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8a390002"A national treasure in our backyard"It spans more than 13,000 acres. Nearly a quarter of the state’s population lives within its watershed. In a 2010 series, Amy Quinton looked at the trouble pollution poses to the health of this critical estuary, and some proposed solutions for returning the Seacoast’s Great Bay to health.Now, NHPR's Environment Reporter Sam Evans-Brown brings you continuing coverage of the efforts being made in the Great Bay.Coverage supported by Penn State Public Media.Great Bay Watershed Map | More Great Bay Images

Towns Sue E.P.A. Over Nitrogen Emissions In The Great Bay

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Amy Quinton
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NHPR

Top municipal officials of three Seacoast region communities are continuing their fight against tough new environmental regulations for their wastewater treatment plants.

The Mayors of Dover, Rochester and Portsmouth are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  They say the agency has allowed the state to severely restrict nitrogen emissions from their treatment plants.  The towns say the restrictions cost their communities millions of dollars, ultimately paid by the users of their systems.  Last March, the towns sued the state Department of Environmental Services.  Attorney Tupper Kinder:

"These communities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars over the coming years to make sure their plants are running efficiently and controlling the nitrogen to the extent that the science indicates it needs to be controlled."
An environmental consultant pointed out that nitrogen levels are already down, and the endangered eel-grass population in the Great and Little Bays is dramatically rebounding, possibly through a natural process.  The officials also pointed out that they sought a meeting about the situation with the state’s top D.E.S. official, but were rebuffed.

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