Water Quality, Wastewater & Nutrient Management Planning

The place we know as Falmouth is defined in many ways by our 15 distinct estuaries. These special places, where salt and fresh water mix, are home to a wide variety of fish, birds, and other wildlife. For those fortunate enough to call Falmouth home, or even just visit, estuaries provide a source of endless wonder!

All of Falmouth's estuaries should have clear water, abundant eelgrass and vibrant marine life.

Too Much Nitrogen


When you visit one of Falmouth's estuaries and notice cloudy water, carpets of algae, and the odor of decay, it is because there is too much nitrogen in the water. Most of the nitrogen comes from human waste, fertilizer and air pollution.

Nitrogen causes algae to grow. Carpets of algae block sunlight, and then it eventually dies. Decomposing algae and other dead matter smells terrible, and makes the water cloudy. And, decaying organic matter uses up much of the oxygen in the water and makes it difficult for eelgrass and fish to survive.