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Public Participation and Nitrogen Pollution from Wastewater Treatment Systems

This project was conducted to discover how public participation can aid in the decisions surrounding nitrogen pollution from wastewater treatment systems. Nitrogen pollution is detrimental to the environment because it degrades water and causes overgrowth of algae in bodies of water. Content analysis was used to review town/city websites, scholarly articles, and news articles related to public participation and environmental challenges. Data was systematically collected based on variables such as master plan development, environmental issues, geographic areas, and public participation methods. After this was collected, it was organized and analyzed to determine application to public participation and wastewater treatment systems. This study found that public participation is crucial in determining environmental decisions. Activities such as informational meetings, public forums, and citizen working groups were found to be beneficial in the process of planning a change to the environment. Once the change is proposed to a community, public participation allowed for opinions and different point-of-views to be shared. Findings indicate that public participation methods such as public meetings and citizen working groups would be beneficial to utilize when decisions regarding nitrogen pollution from wastewater treatment systems are in the planning process and the public should be educated on the information relevant.

Kathleen Prescott '23
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