Sunday, September 20, 2020


Groundbreaking, but Not the First

The Aug. 13 article “Westbrook Digs in with Groundbreaking New Septic System,” contains a major inaccuracy about this passive nitrogen removing (PNR) system that as an environmental scientist I would like to address.

The article claims “With the installation of this pilot system, Westbrook has become a state leader…” and Westbrook Director of Health, Zachary Faiella, is quoted as saying, “No one else in Connecticut is doing this.” This is not true. Geomatrix, LLC, located in Old Saybrook, has been involved with passive nitrogen removing septic systems since the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center (MASSTC) first started testing the systems nearly a decade ago. We have also been involved in the field installation for many of the systems that have been installed in the Cape Cod region. We have also collaborated with multiple universities on PNR projects.

In 2016, using what we learned from collaborating with MASSTC and other leaders in passive nitrogen removal, Geomatrix worked closely with the Town of Old Saybrook to install a PNR system at the Town Garage. Just like the system in Westbrook, this system includes a layer of sand mixed with a wood blend. Geomatrix feels strongly about the need for PNR and we are interested in learning from pilot systems, so we supplied materials, all of the engineering expertise, and continue monitoring this project, saving Old Saybrook tens of thousands of dollars and further advancing our knowledge base.

We are pleased that PNR is gaining traction in Connecticut and agree that Westbrook is among region leaders, but with Old Saybrook, not before.

I’m hoping for a correction and looking forward to continuing to learn about this exciting technology through collaboration with others across the U.S. and now in Connecticut.

David Potts
Old Saybrook