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JLC • NEW ENGLAND UPDATE • FEBRUARY 1996 Growth vs. Groundwater: Region Grapples With Septic Issues by Ted Cushman Septic rules have always been a tug of war in New England. State environmental officials increasingly concerned about groundwater pollution caused by residential septic systems are squared off against builders pulling to get new methods of on-site wastewater treatment approved. The stakes are higher where bad soil conditions or high water tables make conventional systems expensive or impossible to build. But reforms and improving technologies are opening the door for changes. The outcome may be a new compromise in the region: tougher inspection and permitting requirements for conventional systems in sensitive areas, balanced by a greater acceptance of newer, more effective technologies. Politics heats up. Massachusetts' tough new septic rules have created an