Barnstable County Receives $1.15M to Boost Septic Infrastructure

Barnstable County Commissioners Mark Forest, Ronald Bergstrom and Chair Sheila Lyons.

HYANNIS – Barnstable County has received over $1 million from the Environmental Protection Agency and $100,000 from The Nature Conservancy to develop tools for communities expanding their wastewater infrastructure. 

Brian Baumgaertel with the Department of Health and Environment told county commissioners during their most recent meeting that the money will jumpstart a Responsible Management Entity program.

The program will provide homeowners not attached to sewer with septic system upgrade and installation assistance as well as long-term maintenance services. 

“The concept here is it’s a pooled risk program much like insurance in some ways where everybody pays into the program and everybody get something out of it when they need it,” said Baumgaertel.

Baumgaertel added that the program can also use remote sensors to better measure the state of nutrient pollution in different communities so staff can make plans accordingly for repairs or further development. 

It is a decentralized approach to wastewater, said Baumgaertel, rather than centralized like traditional sewering.

“These are septic systems, that’s quite simply what’s going on here. So rather than piping wastewater around to different locations, what we’re doing is we’re moving data and people from location to location.” 

The program would become self-sustaining through user fees similar to sewer fees, though exact details of funding—including using municipal or other funding—has not yet been decided by county officials.

Senator Ed Markey also voiced his support for the program in a statement from Barnstable County. 

“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Barnstable County officials have secured key funding to improve the region’s wastewater management systems. This investment will help ensure that Cape Cod and Buzzards Bay waterways are protected for marine species and all those who live in and enjoy the Cape’s iconic beaches and waterways.” 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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