Mashpee Meets with State Experts on Wastewater

Town of Mashpee priority watershed areas potentially subject to regulatory changes to help cut nitrogen pollution. 

MASHPEE – Experts with the Department of Environmental Protection recently joined Mashpee town officials to discuss water quality issues as the region continues to battle stormwater runoff and older septic infrastructure. 

DEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg outlined some of the initiatives the department is undertaking to help the Cape Cod water quality, including new regulations to help combat the primary threat: nitrogen pollution.

“On Cape Cod, the predominant sources are on-site septic systems. Approximately 85% of the wastewater flow into Cape Cod’s embayments comes from on-site septic systems,” Suuberg told select board members. 

Under the new regulations proposed, a new Natural Resource Area designation would be expanded to require those living in much of Mashpee’s watersheds to upgrade their septic systems, which Suuberg and other DEP experts said would significantly cut nitrogen pollution.

Between loans for septic upgrades, and regulation cutting nitrogen pollution, and more flexible watershed permits, Suuberg said they have many tools to help deal with the issue.

He said that the department is also pushing for a $200 million supplemental budget proposal from Governor Charlie Baker that would make more money available for water quality initiatives on top of the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund.

“Your community may come up with a mix of approaches to reduce nitrogen. So if that’s including things like cesspool removals and addressing Title 5 we would work with you to support that,” said Suuberg. 

The new regulations proposed, including some potentially requiring residents in certain watershed areas get septic system upgrades, will be subject to more public input than usual before full approval, said officials. 

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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