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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

Study: Great Bay Towns Could Benefit from Cooperation on Runoff


A new study from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy says towns in the Great Bay watershed stand to save a lot of money if they can coordinate their efforts at reducing the amount of nitrogen entering the bay.

Communities in the Great Bay watershed have been tasked with lowering the amount of nitrogen entering the bay by federal and state regulators for years now.

One way to do that is to upgrade sewage treatment plants. Another is to treat storm water runoff that comes from paved surfaces and roofs.

The research from UNH looked at the towns of Exeter, Stratham, and Newfields, and found that if they incorporate both approaches and coordinate their actions with each other, they can reduce the nitrogen flow faster and save 100 million dollars over the next 50 years. Alison Watts authored the study.

“What we did is some fairly detailed analysis of the cost of treating storm water. And being able to put a number on what it costs to get x tons of nitrogen out the storm water in different locations is really helpful.”

A new round of permits from the EPA that will require more towns to reduce nitrogen from their storm water runoff are expected soon.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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