Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2022


There are a multitude of lessons learned from the last 3 years of the Covid-19 pandemic. But one truly stands out ...the total lack of understanding of the basic chemistry associated with the nitrogen cycle, which in Suffolk County, NY, continues to be declared as the “evil-nitrogen”. The major source of nitrogen into the water body comes from the atmosphere which is the predominate constituent of the air we breathe79% nitrogen. Nitrogen compounds contribution to eutrophication in freshwater (ponds & lakes) systems is legendary and, the concentration of nitrogen in marine waters has always been known as a limiting agent which are absolutely required elements in small amounts. No nitrogen, no primary productivity. So, historically, at least up to the 1970’s and the Clean Water Act, nitrogen contributions to any water system has been attributable to human “sanitary” waste. Large populations require for adequate treatment, sewage systems that involve primary, secondary, and sometimes tertiary treatment along with the use of chlorine to make sure, as best as is chemically possible, the elimination of pathogenic organisms that cause disease. Thus, in the US, there is no concern with cholera, typhoid, and typhus; all significant bacterial diseases that converge in wastewater treatment systems and arise primarily where wastewaters are left untreated!

Related Pillar(s)

Study, Community



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