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A simpler, cheaper septic system

A simpler, less-expensive, advanced on-site wastewater treatment system will soon be undergoing field tests in Rhode Island.

In the coming weeks, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is expected to approve a pilot project to test an experimental nitrogen-removing septic system known as “layered soil treatment area” — or LSTA for short.

Proposed by a consortium of the town of Charlestown and the University of Rhode Island’s Laboratory of Soil Ecology and Microbiology and New England On-Site Wastewater Training Program, the non-proprietary septic system would put nitrogen-removing technology within reach for more coastal homeowners.

Professor José Amador, of URI’s Laboratory of Soil Ecology and Microbiology, said it was time to begin testing LSTA systems here in Rhode Island.

“It’s going to be a while before we know everything we need to know about it, and that’s why the project that the town of Charlestown wants to carry out and fund is really important,” he said. “Because it’s a non-proprietary technology, nobody’s going to make any money selling these things and so what’s the incentive, other than universities and towns interested finding out how well they perform.”

Read the entire article by Cynthia Drummond at

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