Update: Barnstable’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan/Part 1

The Draft Plan (CWMP) is Out: Urgent Call to Action for Cotuit

The draft plan covers the entirety of the town’s plan for nitrogen mitigation as well as handling other “Contaminants of Concern.” It’s worth reading through the entire [227 pages!] document. But to save you a little time, we’ve whittled the findings down to how the draft plan applies to Popponesset and Shoestring Bays. Hint: it aint pretty.

Moving Ahead with the Inter Municipality Agreement (IMA)
The Towns of Mashpee, Barnstable, and Sandwich have agreed that “it was in their best interests to apply jointly for a Watershed Permit.”  This would allow the towns to work towards establishing a water treatment infrastructure over the span of 30 years.  The towns agreed that “each…would develop and implement its own MassDEP approved CWMP or Targeted Watershed Management Plan, and the capital projects undertaken by the Town as a result of those plans will be the sole responsibility of that Town.”

The IMA is part of the “Western Plan” for the waterways in our part of the Cape, including Popponesset Bay
The Towns would establish a Popponesset Bay Watershed Work Group, comprised of three members from each Town (Town Manager, Selectman/Town Councilor, and a technical representative). The Work Group will:

  • Administer this IMA and any amendments to it
  • Administer the application and implementation of a Watershed Permit
  • But The Work Group has no authority to bind one or more of the parties

In concert with the IMA, Barnstable has come up with a 30-year plan for sewering.

Phase 1: Years 1 – 10
Hyannis and Centerville, extending existing sewering capacity
Phase 2: Years 11 – 20
The rest of Centerville and Osterville [3 Bays area]
Phase 3: Years 21 – 30
Marstons Mills

Where’s Cotuit in this plan you might ask? We’re in “STAGE 1,” per the above map. According to Rob Steen, Asst. Director of Public Works for Barnstable, the fate of Popponesset and Shoestring Bays is contingent upon the town’s ability to negotiate with the U.S. Department of Defense and assume responsibility for the wastewater plant at Joint Base Cape Cod.  At which point, the “western” part of the plan [i.e. Cotuit] kicks in. Then “we can start planning sewering for your area.”  YIKES!
Why is the Popponesset Watershed such a low priority? Because Barnstable is responsible for just 16% of the pollutants in our Bays.  Mashpee and, to a lesser extent Sandwich, are responsible for the lion’s share.  And what’s Mashpee doing?  TBD.  How long can Shoestring Bay wait?  Not long: Shoestring Bay requires 100% nitrogen removal confirming that we are, in fact, the most polluted Bay in SE Massachusetts.

Next Post: 30 years isn’t going to cut it: how Can We Fight Back?



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