Water Quality Dominates Barnstable County ARPA Spending

Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr.

HYANNIS – The Cape’s declining water quality dominated Barnstable County’s recently-approved ARPA allocations of $12.8 million. 

The largest allocations were $4 million for PFAS remediation, about $1.4 million for alternative septic system research with the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Technology Center, and almost $1.3 million in upgrades to the county’s laboratory for water testing. 

The move is in line with recommendations by Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr and Plymouth/Barnstable State Representative Susan Moran, who recently met with the Assembly of Delegates to follow up on their meeting in April when ARPA funds first arrived.

“I really echo the initiatives that can make big changes over a long period of time are better than just one-off grants to this housing project or that housing project. Things that really change the dynamics are important,” said Cyr.

The move towards improving water is part of ongoing efforts to modernize the region’s wastewater infrastructure, including the new county septic loan program—AQUI Fund—launching on February 15.

Cyr said more local investment in the fund could also translate to more funds from the state.

“I think having the county show a little skin in the game in bolstering the fund will help us make the argument on Beacon Hill to say ‘hey let’s put a little more money in there too.’ So if the county can appropriate say 5 million to bolster the fund—keeping into account the expanded programming you’ll have—maybe we can go get several more millions to bolster the fund,” said Cyr.

“So through that, we wouldn’t be talking about 200 to 230 loans a year. We’d be talking about 700, 800 or 900 loans per year.”

Other investments made with the ARPA grants include assessing broadband accessibility, boosting affordable housing efforts, and stabilizing the county’s struggling dredge program. 

The full list of approved funds 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 CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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