Diagram of Cape Cod's Sole Source AquiferQuick Facts

  • 85% of the wastewater flow into Cape Cod's embayments comes from on-site septic systems.
  • More than 123,000 septic systems are installed on Cape Cod.
  • Nitrogen is released from even the newest Title 5 on-site system.
  • Nitrogen causes deterioration of groundwater, lakes, ponds, bays, and coastal water quality.
  • Lack of adequate wastewater infrastructure constrains growth and economic development.
  • The 1972 Federal Clean Water Act requires identification of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits for nitrogen in order to clean up contaminated waters.
  • The Massachusetts Estuaries Project is providing the scientific studies and research to identify TMDLs for Cape Cod's coastal watersheds.
  • Regional wastewater planning on Cape Cod involves the cooperation of all Cape Cod towns and Barnstable County.
  • County agencies engaged in this effort include the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, Barnstable County Commissioners, the Assembly of Delegates, the Cape Cod Commission, and the Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative.

Comprehensive Wastewater Management Planning

All 15 Cape Cod towns are engaged in various stages of completing their Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plans (CWMPs; see the document "Status of Local Planning" in the Regional Wastewater Management Plan).

Besides providing technical assistance to these efforts, the Commission also reviews all CWMPs as Developments of Regional Impact.


Water Quality and Wastewater Management REPORTS

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