Skip to Navigation Skip to Content


As part of its goal to protect Cape Cod’s water resources, Cape Cod Commission staff members have been involved in efforts to better understand the extent of groundwater contamination and advise pollutant plume clean-up efforts across the Cape. Many of these efforts have centered around Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC) (formerly known as the Massachusetts Military Reservation), a 22,000 acre military installation surrounded by the Upper Cape towns of Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich.

A number of environmental concerns at JBCC stem from its historical usage as a military training area, including the presence of spent munitions, firefighting activities, chemical/fuel spills, legacy landfills and sewage treatment facilities. Over 80 contaminant source areas have been identified during assessment activities at JBCC, and seventy-seven have been cleaned up or required no further treatment as of 2015. Several environmental clean-up programs are continuing to address the remaining contaminant plumes and their sources.

Despite the ongoing environmental cleanup actions, JBCC is a valuable regional resource for environmental and water resource planning. Of the Base’s 22,000 acres, 15,000 have been designated as the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve. This is the largest contiguous undeveloped area on Cape Cod, and it provides valuable wildlife habitat and a source of drinking water to the Base and the four neighboring towns through the Upper Cape Water Supply Cooperative. Commission staff members sit on the Environmental Management Commission, which ensures the continued protection of the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve.

Commission staff continue to participate on the Joint Base Cape Cod Clean-up Team, which meets on a quarterly basis to review and provide input on all clean-up programs and projects occurring at the Base. The Commission also took part in the committees that reviewed the initial groundwater contamination assessment, the investigation and subsequent cleanup of an oil pipeline leak in Forestdale, the development of a Plume Containment Strategy to prevent groundwater pollution from migrating off-base, and the establishment of the Upper Cape Water Supply Cooperative.

Project Resources

156K pdf
Jun 27, 2019
Potential Future Demand for Wastewater Treatment at Joint Base Cape Cod … Data Source: Shared Wastewater Management Study, Towns of Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, Sandwich and Joint Base …
Search Circle Icon Search Icon Document Icon Video Icon PDF Icon CSV/XLS Icon