Comment Period on Proposed Title 5 Changes Closes Monday

An algae bloom like the kind that have become more and more common in recent years. Photo by Christian Fischer

HYANNIS – With the comment period for proposed changes to Title 5 septic regulations closing Monday at 5 pm, local clean water advocates are voicing their support for the potential tighter wastewater regulations. 

Association to Preserve Cape Cod Executive Director Andrew Gottlieb says the regulations are designed to force towns to take action and to get residents to engage with their local town officials on how to solve their wastewater issue. 

“To get them off the dime and to commit to a public solution to this problem over 20 years. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year, not next decade, sometime in the 2040s to solve a water quality problem that we’ve known has existed since the 1980s hardly seems rushed, hardly seems ill-thought out, and frankly is too long,” said Gottlieb.

“But if that’s what it’s going to take to get us there, then we’ll live with that.” 

Proposed changes would require towns to apply for a Watershed Permit confirming that they are implementing nitrogen-reducing solutions like sewer, or else their residents would have to foot the bill for costly on-site upgrades home-by-home. 

“The reason we have a water quality problem on Cape Cod and estuaries is because of excess nitrogen from septic systems. Existing Title 5 code, rather than being a protector of the environment, is actually the cause of the degradation of the environment,” said Gottlieb.

A recent report by the Association said that 2021 to 2022 continued to see water quality declines, with the percentage of embayments with unacceptable water quality on the Cape rising to 90%. 

MassDEP’s webpage on the proposed changes as well as ways to comment can be found here.

The full interview with Andrew Gottlieb can be found here

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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