Lawmakers Highlight Importance of Wastewater Infrastructure

Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro)

BARNSTABLE – State lawmakers recently highlighted the importance of effective wastewater infrastructure with the groundbreaking of the Town of Barnstable’s Strawberry Hill Road Sewer Expansion Project.

Congressman William Keating, Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr, and 2nd and 5th Barnstable District State Representatives Kip Diggs and Steven Xiarhos attended the groundbreaking event, part of the first phase of the town’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.

“This is critical to Cape Cod with its single-source aquifer, with its topology, the sand that’s there, the nitrogen issue and lawsuits, we can go on and on,” said Keating.

“If you live on the Cape, it’s part of our lives. And not always the most pleasant part.”

Failures of inadequate wastewater treatment infrastructure have been cited by town officials across Cape Cod as leading to issues such as an increase in toxic algae blooms and impacted quality of drinking water sources.

Officials including Keating have also said that inadequate wastewater infrastructure is partially responsible for the housing crisis in the region, as housing cannot be built or expanded upon without adequate wastewater service.

“We also know that important housing issues are affected by these nitrogen issues and groundwater issues and how as we move forward to deal with those issues, we couldn’t do it without dealing with this ahead of time,” said Keating.

Cyr also said that the project and other efforts meant to protect natural resources will help build stability for the coastal Cape community that is on the front lines of climate change.

The Strawberry Hill project specifically will expand sewer service to 300 properties in Centerville, cutting down on nitrogen pollution that threatens the health of water resources. The entire plan eventually calls for over 11,000 properties to receive sewer service.

The project is moving forward with coordination with Vineyard Wind, saving about $3 million for the town as the offshore wind developer pays for paving, surveying and designing. 

As part of the agreement, Vineyard Wind will land submarine cables on the shore of Covell’s beach and use town roads to lay upland cables. 

The 30-year CWMP plan consists of three 10-year phases, the Strawberry Hill project being part of the first.

Other individual projects that aim to reduce nutrient pollution in local water sources are also planned by the town or are in the permitting phase.


About Grady Culhane

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