The recent article in the Gazette describing the newly proposed Massachusetts septic and sewage regulations has particular relevance to controversies on Martha’s Vineyard. These regulations are a result of deterioration of the pond ecosystems on Cape Cod and the Islands — due to increased nitrogen loads from housing.

The Edgartown Great Pond is one of many ponds at risk. The court decision regarding the massive Meeting House Way development has not been handed down and a major issue is its impact on this adjacent pond. There is every reason to suppose that despite claims to the contrary, the pond will suffer. These homes are close to or within the pond watershed. Increased nitrogen in the pond has already been documented. The sewage treatment plant currently discharges effluent into the pond and there are scant assurances that it can handle the increased waste of 30 or more homes and maintain the pond in a pristine condition. Individual septic systems, while more modern and improved, do not contain waste perfectly within property boundaries.

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission is to be commended for attempting to protect an environment that can be irretrievably lost.

Saul Greenfield