This section conveys the range of possible technological approaches and solutions to restoring Cape Cod’s coastal water quality. The optimal solutions for Cape Cod include those that (1) are effective in reducing nutrients, (2) require fewer resources, (3) provide results sooner, and (4) are less expensive to implement. Options include:
Working with a consultant through EPA’s 2012 Green Infrastructure Community Partners Project, the Cape Cod Commission developed a screening process to identify site opportunities for green infrastructure (GI) and low impact development (LID) techniques. The screening process began with a desktop investigation of potential sites by utilizing a siting criteria matrix developed by the Commission, assessing both positive siting criteria and potential constraints. The siting criteria matrix consists of multiple GIS-based data layers (termed “siting criteria”) and a collection of potential GI and LID technologies. This matrix has been used to identify pilot project sites within the Lewis Bay and Parkers River watersheds with a goal of generating a design for one GI and one LID project. A number of technologies and approaches were considered based on their high nitrogen-removal efficiencies and representative of a range of GI and LID techniques that are applicable in a wide variety of conditions. (SEE ALSO THE FINAL REPORT)
As Cape towns develop Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plans (CWMPs) to meet Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and other environmental and socio-economic objectives, the amount and pattern of existing land use and that of future development will be a major driver of the costs to provide adequate wastewater infrastructure. The amount and pattern of development affect the volume of wastewater to be treated, the amount of land necessary for effluent disposal, and the extent of associated infrastructure. On Cape Cod the large influx of seasonal home owners and visitors means that wastewater systems also need to be sized to handle the increase in population during the summer months.
This section explores ways to coordinate land use planning with wastewater infrastructure planning and identify local and regional tools for managing future growth.
Cape Cod towns are facing a number of common issues as they engage in municipal wastewater planning, including the high cost of conventionally engineered solutions, lack of existing wastewater infrastructure, and public disapproval of plan implementation. Many of the issues common to municipal wastewater planning initiatives are further complicated by the fact that 32 of the 57 watersheds to coastal embayments are shared by two or more towns.
Due to the shared nature of our water resources, the lack of existing wastewater infrastructure, and the cost of constructing significant new infrastructure, the conventional approach is not working for Cape Cod. Moving forward, the region needs a new approach—one that is based on watersheds and not town lines—that effectively engages community members and more closely considers the needs specific to watershed communities. This targeted watershed approach should consider all technology options and approaches, as well as all cost-saving strategies.
This section outlines the process for moving forward with a targeted watershed approach, including plans for community engagement and the tools and resources necessary to help identify solutions.