January 2008, Vol. 20, No.1


Reducing Nutrient Loadings

Ron Trygar

I have been in the wastewater treatment field for nearly 25 years, and have always enjoyed the articles in your publications. The article by Kris Christen [“U.S. Coastal Nutrient Loading Continues; Future Outlook Dim,” November] was very interesting and well written!

In the article, it was said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in an effort to make trades between point sources and nonpoint sources of pollution more cost-effective. It also states that USDA will be working with Congress to, in effect, reduce nutrient and cropland runoff into rivers and estuaries.

So far, I haven’t seen or heard of any effort to monitor or reduce the amount of fertilizers that are used by residential users or moreover, the commercial lawn companies across the United States. I am also concerned that the authorities (EPA, USDA) are missing a very large contributor to estuary pollution: golf courses. I live in Florida, and have seen for myself the evolution of a wetland environment turned into a residential community, complete with thick, green lawns and a small, private golf course. Who monitors the nutrient loadings into and out of these areas?

A quick Google search of golf courses across the United States reveals from 18,000 to 23,000 courses and golf clubs. In my area, many of these courses take advantage of the fact that they are built right on the Gulf of Mexico or a tributary of the Gulf. The homes that are built along the courses are beautiful, with nice, green lawns.

Has anyone correlated the amount of eutrophication occurring in the Chesapeake Basin with the amount of residential and commercial fertilizers being used in the area? As the golf course industry has grown in Hampton Roads [Va.], has anyone investigated the effects of all these nutrients?

I see farmers, wastewater treatment plants, combined sewer flows, and other point sources being targeted (and for good reasons), but in reality, aren’t we all responsible?

Keep up the great journalism!

Ron Trygar President, Trygar Consulting Services Lynn Haven, Fla

Ron Trygar President, Trygar Consulting Services

Old Question, But No New Answers

Ralph Bernstein

Looking through past issues, I spotted an editorial [May 2005] by past editor [Laura Bridgewater], which I consider of very great interest. She speaks of whether water will be another “tragedy of the commons [in which water is ruined because everyone has access to it, doesn’t value it sufficiently, and so abuses it]” — which I consider a very insightful commentary on the human condition. Ms. Bridgewater posed two questions: Will this be another tragedy, or can we accept responsibility? I am very much afraid and convinced, based on history, that the positive answer goes to the first question.

What Do You Think?

WE&T welcomes your observations on topics that are covered in the magazine or are otherwise relevant to the wastewater treatment industry. Letters that are chosen for publication may be edited for factual accuracy, clarity, style, and length.

Please send your letters intended for publication via e-mail to mjackson@wef.org, or mail to Melissa H. Jackson, WE&T, c/o Water Environment Federation, 601 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1994 USA. Please include your full name, professional title, organization name, daytime phone number, and city, state, and country of residence.

Ralph Bernstein Montgomery County Engineering Group Dayton, Ohio Ralph Bernstein Montgomery County Engineering Group Dayton, Ohio

Ralph Bernstein Montgomery County Engineering Group Dayton, Ohio Ralph Bernstein Montgomery County Engineering Group