Funding will support water quality projects in many Cape Cod towns

The Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund Management Board voted April 14, 2021 to award the first set of subsidies, totaling $71,307,259, to qualified and eligible water quality projects in several Cape Cod towns. Projects eligible for funding include innovative strategies and alternative septic system technologies, water quality and wastewater management planning, the construction of sewer collection systems and wastewater treatment plants, and the implementation of drainage improvements and water treatment programs to improve water quality in freshwater ponds and marine resources. Member communities must go through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, or SRF, program and be consistent with the Area Wide Water Quality Management Plan (208 Plan) to receive funds.

The Management Board voted to make final commitments to fund qualified projects listed on the 2018 and 2019 Clean Water State Revolving Fund Intended Use Plans, in the amount of $23,945,981.

Projects in Chatham, Harwich, Bourne, and Orleans will receive funding. The Management Board voted to make contingent commitments for 25% subsidies totaling an estimated $30,888,710 to fund qualified project listed on the 2020 and 2021 Clean Water State Revolving Fund Intended Use Plan which do not yet have executed Project Regulatory Agreements (PRAs). Final subsidy amounts and commitments to the towns of Falmouth, Mashpee, Barnstable, and Chatham will be determined upon execution of the PRA.

The Management Board also voted to award grants to qualified and eligible town projects for pre-existing debt in the towns of Barnstable, Chatham, Falmouth, and Provincetown, totaling $16,472,568. A full list of awards can be found at: protection-fund. “The Water Protection Fund is an extremely impressive public policy response to a very real problem,” Sandwich Town Manager and Board Chair George “Bud” Dunham said. “Many people other than all of us on the Board worked for a really long time to get us to this point, so it’s a nice reward to actually start appropriating some money.” “Through collaboration and a commitment to the environmental stewardship of this special peninsula, we’re finally seeing real dollars arrive on Cape Cod to solve the region’s $4 billion wastewater problem,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “I was proud to help author the law establishing the Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund, and I’m now heartened to see these first grants awarded. When I’m asked how I maintain a sense of optimism about the political process and community involvement, I will point to the Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund.” “It is so terrific to see this initial distribution from the Water Protection Fund!” said State Representative Sarah Peake (D-4th Barnstable). “It’s not often as a legislator that one sees positive results as quickly as was done here. All Cape Codders and the Cape Cod environment will be the true beneficiaries of this.” “The concept of a Cape-wide funding source to help drive implementation of critical water quality projects was embedded in the 208 Plan,” said Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Kristy Senatori. “We are pleased to see off-Cape resources shared among the region and these important projects moving ahead with the funding they need to succeed.” The Cape Cod Commission will now work with the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust on administration of subsidy awards and disbursement of funds to towns.

About the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund

The Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund (CCIWPF) was established by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2018 to help the Cape Cod and the Islands pay for necessary wastewater infrastructure and water quality remediation projects. Creation of the CCIWPF was the result of efforts by a diverse set of stakeholders, including the Cape and Islands Legislative Delegation, local officials, environmental groups, business leaders, and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, who recognized the need for new financial tools to address the region’s degrading water quality and lack of wastewater infrastructure. The CCIWPF is a dedicated fund within the state’s Clean Water Trust, set up solely to benefit communities in Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties. Its source of revenue is a 2.75% excise tax on traditional lodging and short-term rentals. The fund is administered by the existing Clean Water Trust and overseen by a management board comprised of representation from every member town from the region.