A Call to Action for State Leaders in 2022

Happy new year everyone! Here’s hoping 2022 is a milestone year for improving the quality of Shoestring Bay and all nitrogen-polluted waterways on the Cape.

We’ve been pretty tough on the Town of Barnstable as we work to raise awareness of the dangers facing Shoestring Bay and other affected bodies of water. But we’ve come to realize that the town can only do so much. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts needs to step up and take charge of solving the Cape’s wastewater pollution mess.

Here’s what we are asking Charlie Baker, the DEP, and the state legislature to do in 2022:

  1. Impose an immediate moratorium on new and replacement Title-5 septic system installations adjacent to “Nitrogen Sensitive” waterway. Title-5 septic system DO NOT stop nitrogen pollution and must be halted now, as mandated within the original Title 5 documentation. [read more about the CLF lawsuit to halt Title 5]

  2. Expedite the acceptance of High Performing Innovative Alternative (HPIA) septic systems by issuing an emergency use authorization that waives the state’s onerous 5-year, 50-system sample monitoring performance requirement, per the Dept. of Health (DOH) and Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP.)

3. Offer low interest loans for property owners willing install HPIA systems to reduce nitrogen contributions. I/A systems can cost $20 – $40K. More homeowners along the coastal bank would be willing to invest in the future of Cape waterways with more attractive financing.

4. Authorize grants to Cape Cod oyster farmers willing to take a risk on Shoestring/ Popponesset Bays. Oysters remove nitrogen from the water either by “directly pulling nitrogen from the system and/or enhancing natural processes to sequester and recycle nitrogen.” [Read “Can Oysters Solve the Nitrogen Problem?”] The science is promising but oyster farmers need financial support before jumping in to a remediation project.

We at Save Our Shoestring will be pushing hard for implementation of these 4 action steps in 2022 by:

  • Working with our State Senator Julian Cyr, who has given his strong support to wastewater remediation on the Cape
  • Lobbying the Mass. DOH and DEP to respond to the nitrogen pollution crisis with greater speed
  • Partnering with like-minded local organizations, like the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition, Mashpee Clean Waters, and Buzzards Bay Coalition, to raise residents’ awareness of the threat to the very thing that brought them to the Cape.

Please join the fight by calling your State Rep. and Senator to support our initiatives, or email us at info@saveourshoestring.com to voice your concerns.

One thought on “A Call to Action for State Leaders in 2022

  1. shoestring628

    A note of support from our Shoestring Bay neighbor:
    As a resident of Cotuit, I have grave concern over the general health of Barnstable’s waterways; and in particular, that of Shoestring Bay. I strongly support the four initiatives that prohibit title V septic systems, promote the installation and use of HPIA systems, and promote oyster farming on Shoestring as interim measures as we await sewer installation. Let me know what I can do to support/ promote these initiatives. Thank you.

    Don Salamack


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