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EPA Launches Second Phase of Technology Challenge for an Advanced Septic System Nitrogen Sensor

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Emily Bender (

BOSTON - Today, the U.S. EPA and its partners announced the second phase of a technology challenge for an advanced septic system nitrogen sensor. The goal of this challenge is to inspire innovators to develop a sensor to monitor nitrogen discharged from advanced septic systems.

In Phase II, sensor developers will apply to have their sensor prototype screened and field tested. The Challenge opens on December 18 with an informational webinar, and submissions are due by the end of January 2018.

Preliminary screening will take place at the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center (MASSTC) Exit in March 2018. Sensors that meet or exceed the performance goals will then undergo six months of field testing at MASSTC. EPA will award International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) Exit Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) 14034 reports for up to three sensors.

In Phase I of the Advanced Septic System Nitrogen Sensor Challenge, launched in January 2017, EPA partnered with The Nature Conservancy, USGS, and others to challenge entrants to design a nitrogen sensor for use in advanced onsite wastewater treatment systems, also known as advanced septic systems, to monitor their long-term performance.

Conventional septic systems are not designed to remove nitrogen, which can lead to problems like nitrogen loading to waterways. This issue is especially important to coastal communities, where excess nitrogen causes toxic algal blooms leading to beach closures and degrades water resources. EPA estimates that over 2.6 million existing systems could be good candidates for advanced septic systems that treat the nitrogen due to their location in nitrogen-sensitive watersheds. Adding nitrogen sensors to these advanced septic systems will help manufacturers, homeowners, and local and state governments ensure that these systems are performing as intended and protecting valuable coastal resources.

For more information about the Challenge, visit:

To register for the webinar, visit:

To sign-up for updates or request an application, email: