Protecting Barnstable’s Water Resources
The Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP) is a townwide, state approved, science based plan to protect Barnstable’s coastal waters, ponds, and drinking water by managing nutrient pollution from wastewater. Learn more about Barnstable’s water quality and your role as a property owner in septic to sewer conversion.
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Preserving Our Quality of Life
The Town of Barnstable’s water resources are vitally important to how we, as a community, live, work and play. The Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan is the Town’s environmental initiative to connect properties currently on septic systems to the townwide wastewater collection and treatment system, thus improving the health of nearby waterways. Without the proactive measures implemented through the CWMP, there would be detrimental risk to our wellbeing, home, environment, and economy.
Surface and groundwater from our properties flow to our neighboring salt and fresh water environments; these flows are organized by watersheds. The CWMP addresses seven watersheds for our saltwater embayments – Barnstable Harbor Watershed, Centerville River System Watershed, Halls Creek Watershed, Lewis Bay Watershed, Popponesset Bay Watershed, Rushy Marsh Watershed, and Three Bays Watershed.
Town of Barnstable Watersheds
Approximate Nitrogen Generation
The 30-year Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP) is comprised of three, 10-year phases, predominantly focused on sewer expansion.
Three, 10-Year Phases
Each phase consists of multiple individual projects that will proceed through permitting. The plan is designed to reduce nutrient pollution in embayments to a level consistent with regulatory thresholds know as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
Currently, the Town is operating within Phase 1 of the CWMP. Phase 1 consists of 16 individual sewer expansion projects that will result in roughly 90 miles of new sewer infrastructure. Once complete, Phase 1 will remove approximately 44% of the nitrogen impacting our waters.
Mother’s Park: Request for Public Comment
As part of the Town of Barnstable’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP), the Town is seeking Legislative approval for proposed alterations to Mother’s Park, Centerville. Public comments will be accepted until close of business on Monday, May 15, 2023.
Sewer Expansion Transitions to Route 28
Starting Monday, April 3, 2023, through Friday, May 25, 2023, sewer construction will transition into the Route 28 roadway. Construction will occur during the hours of 8:30AM to 5:00PM, weather permitting. Posted detours will be in place, supported by onsite traffic control.
Update on Sewer Expansion in Centerville Village
On Tuesday, March 14, 2023, Town Engineer, Griffin Beaudoin, P.E., provided an overview of the Centerville Village Sewer Expansion Project, which effectively will follow the proposed Park City Wind project route from Craigville Beach Road to Shootflying Hill Road.
Water Quality is Everything
The primary source of nitrogen pollution is wastewater from septic systems. Septic systems allowed under current Title 5 regulations do little to remove the excess nitrogen chocking our coastal waters. Other nutrient and pollutants from septic systems also threaten our fresh water ponds.
By reducing nutrient pollution in embayments, the CWMP also protects water quality in ponds, and drinking water sources. In addition to meeting water quality thresholds, the plan is designed to provide the wastewater infrastructure needed to support community economic development and affordable housing needs.
Need Additional Assistance?
The Department of Public Works is here to educate, guide, and equip property owners throughout construction and the sewer connection process.
Is my property located on a sewer expansion route?
If you are unsure if your property is located along a planned sewer expansion route, use the Property Look-Up Tool on the Town Assessor’s searchable database to find out if your property is located on a sewer expansion route proposed under Phase 1 of the CWMP.
Click here to access the Property Look-Up Tool: https://townofbarnstable.us/Departments/Assessing/Property_Values/Property-Look-Up.asp
Will I be contacted by the Town prior to sewer construction?
Yes, prior to construction beginning in the roadway, the Department of Public Works will perform a series of outreach efforts such as public information meetings, mailers and in-person door-to-door canvasing. Once your property has been identified as part of an active construction project, you will be asked you to fill out a Sewer Connection Form. The purpose of this form is to provide DPW with relevant information about how your current plumbing works. You will be asked to provide a sketch plan identifying your building’s layout in relation to the street as well as the preferred location of a sewer service stub connection on your property. Detailed instruction will be provided.
Learn more about the Sewer Connection Form and related construction sequencing, here: https://barnstablewaterresources.com/sewer-service-connection-center/
What costs am I responsible for when connecting to municipal sewer?
A property owner is responsible for essentially three primary costs. The first being a one-time Sewer Assessment, which is a charge that will be applied to the owners of properties that have one or more residential or commercial sewer units that are eligible to be newly connected to sewer service under the sewer expansion plan. Additionally, a property owner is responsible for the cost to connect their property to the municipal sewer system located in the street and to decommission the current on-site septic system, if needed. Connection costs will vary based on property characteristics. Lastly, once sewer service is connected, property owners will be charged a sewer service user fee based on their water usage. The current typical residential sewer usage bill averages around $435 annually and may vary based on water usage. If the property has irrigation, a property owner can install a deduct meter which will enable the property owner to realize a savings for water that does not enter the sanitary sewage system.
Review the Town Council Approved Sewer Assessment Ordinance, here: https://barnstablewaterresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/2021-07-01-Town-Council-Approved-Sewer-Assessment-Ordinance-letter-2021-139.pdf
How do I find a qualified contractor to connect my property to sewer service?
You can find a qualified contractor from the Town of Barnstable’s list of licensed sewer installers, which is updated regularly and posted to the the Town’s website. Your licensed sewer installer will do the actual construction at your home on your property and will be responsible for applying for the necessary permits.
In most cases, a qualified sewer installer is sufficient for both design and implementation; however, in a limited number of cases it is necessary to also secure the services of a licensed engineer with civil engineering experience to direct your sewer connection. The connection must comply with the Town of Barnstable’s sewer connection design specifications. Your contractor will assist you in determining the most cost-effective way to arrange pipes on your property.
Download the Town of Barnstable’s list of licensed sewer installers, here: https://www.townofbarnstable.us/Departments/PublicWorks/Sewers/Sewer-Installers.pdf
Do I have a choice whether or not to connect to new sewer service?
The Board of Health has the authority to require property owners to connect to the public system when it becomes live. The Board of Health also has the authority to allow property owners to delay connecting depending upon their unique circumstances. If you have a question or circumstance that you believe may necessitate a delay in connecting to sewer service, please call the Town of Barnstable Health Division at 508-862-4644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there any payment assistance or abatement of either the Sewer Assessment or connection costs?
A property owner can opt to pay the Sewer Assessment all at once when due, or may opt to finance the Sewer Assessment and pay quarterly installments on their property tax bill over thirty years. In accordance with current policy, the Sewer Assessment under the thirty-year payback option would be amortized at an interest rate equivalent to 2% above the rate of borrowing, unless otherwise determined by the Town Council. If the sewer assessment is added to future tax bills, a lien will be recorded on the property at the Registry of Deeds.
The Town is also exploring the possibility of allowing qualifying homeowners the option to defer their sewer assessment if they meet certain income and asset limits. This would carry an interest charge and the sewer assessment would be paid at the time of a transfer in ownership or refinancing of the property.
Additional financial support includes zero and low-interest betterment loans through Barnstable County’s Cape Cod AquiFund and Cape Cod 5’s Sewer or Water Connection Loan Program. We will continue to update and share additional financial resources as they become available.
My septic failed and I am not yet connected to sewer, what do I do?
Like the decomissioning of your system, the Board of Health is the governing authority on all things septic. If you are currently living at a property with a failed septic system or in the process of buying or selling a property with a failed septic, the best first step is to determine where your property falls within the adapative sewer expansion plan. You can obtain this information by contacting Kelly Collopy, Communications Manager, for the Department of Public Works at 508-790-6400 or via email at Kelly.Collopy@town.barnstable.ma.us
Once you confirm anticipated sewer availability at your property, you will then need to contact the Board of Health to determine the most appropriate course of action. If your property is not eligible for sewer connection within an approved timeframe, the Board of Health may require you to make necessary upgrades or request replacement. If you believe your property’s septic may be failing, please call the Town of Barnstable Health Division at 508-862-4644 or email email@example.com.
Will amendments to Title 5 septic system regulations impact me?
The Town of Barnstable staff, Board of Health and Town Council are closely monitoring proposed Title 5 Amendments and Watershed Permit Regulations. The Town has a Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP), which has been rigorously reviewed and approved by state and local environmental agencies. It is our belief that the CWMP can act as the basis for the necessary Watershed Permits if approved by the state under the proposed regulations. Such effort on the part of the Town in combination with satisfying other aspects of the proposed regulations may relieve the residents of the Town from the requirement to install Innovative/Alternative Septic Systems on their property. We will continue to advise our community as these proposed regulations advance through approval and into implementation.