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Cape Cod’s Area Wide Water Quality Management Plan Update (208 Plan Update), developed pursuant to Section 208 of the Clean Water Act, was certified by Governor Charlie Baker in June 2015 and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on September 15, 2015.  

The plan represents more than 24 months of work by the Commission, towns, hundreds of stakeholders, and state and federal partners. The process to update the 208 Plan was initiated in January 2013, when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts directed the Commission to update the 1978 Area Wide Water Quality Management Plan with a focus on resolving nitrogen impacts on coastal water quality. On Cape Cod, septic systems are the primary source of nitrogen to coastal waters.  

The 208 Plan Update is a framework to restore embayment water quality on Cape Cod. It provides for a watershed-based approach and recommends strategies, regulatory reforms, and a process for communities to reduce or eliminate excess nitrogen.  

As required under the Clean Water Act, the Commonwealth designated Waste Treatment Management Agencies (WMAs), responsible for planning for and implementing wastewater infrastructure and water quality improvement projects. Per the recommendations in the 208 Plan Update, the 15 Cape Cod municipalities are the designated WMAs. Along with regional organizations and agencies, the WMAs are working to implement the recommendations of the plan 

208 Plan Update


Section 208 Plan Guidance Documents

Section 208 Plan Implementation Report, 2017

Section 208 Plan Compliance Reports

Cape Cod 208 Plan Implementation: June 2021 Report to the US EPA


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