Barnstable Submits Joint Proposal for Base Water Treatment Facility

BARNSTABLE – A proposal has been submitted jointly by the Town of Barnstable and Converge Partners, LLC to take over the operation of a wastewater treatment facility on Joint Base Cape Cod.

The move could pave the way for a regional treatment facility that would service the towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth, Mashpee and Barnstable.

Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells announced the proposal to town council earlier this month.

“Being able to look east and west of our community gives us more options to be able to manage these issues as we move forward,” Ells said.

Ells said the town responded to a statement of need from the Air National Guard issued in May with a proposal to acquire the existing treatment plant at the base.

The Air National Guard is seeking to get out of the wastewater and water business on the base.

Barnstable has been in discussions with the four Upper Cape communities of Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth and Mashpee relative to efforts by those towns to explore a regional wastewater treatment and disposal facility on Joint Base Cape Cod.

Those communities were presented with the results of a regional study that seeks a solution for wastewater management in August.

The study proposes local capital projects totaling $155 million by connecting the towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Mashpee and Falmouth to a larger wastewater treatment facility on the base.

The current treatment facility on the base can treat up to 100,000 gallons of effluent.

Edward Leonard, the senior project manager for Wright-Pierce, the engineering firm handling the study, said a brand new treatment plant would be needed to accommodate the regional needs.

The current facilities on Joint Base Cape Cod are owned by the Air Force and operated by the 102nd Intelligence Wing. There are 36 miles of sewers and the installation was built prior to World War II to support up to 70,000 troops.

Now there are only a few thousand staff who work on the base.

Through the plan, the towns would need to also fund the construction of pipeline connecting their wastewater infrastructure to base treatment facility.

The towns would also pay for the additional piping for disposal and expanding the plant’s disposal facility.

“The thought was by acquiring those assets in the short-term we would secure our position for long-term property ownership or long-term lease options to site future expanded wastewater treatment and disposal facilities,” Ells said.

Air National Guard recommended Barnstable officials discuss combining proposals with Converge Partners, which was also seeking to acquire the plant.

Ells said the short-term goals of Converge complimented the long-term goals of the town to secure future capacity.

Ells said Converge is not opposed to a regional option for the plant, but that the proposal does leave open an option for the towns to seek a regional facility without the company.

There would still be several regulatory hurdles if the proposal were to be accepted.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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