A group of officials led by Congressman William Keating (MA-9) and State Senator Julian Cyr (Cape & Islands) met in Hyannis this morning at a groundbreaking event for the Strawberry Hill Road Sewer Expansion Project. The project is the first major sewer expansion project in the Town of Barnstable and a significant step forward in the Town’s efforts to protect coastal water quality.
Congressman Keating called nitrogen pollution a problem bigger than one town and congratulated Barnstable for being a “sterling example of how we can work together in government to solve complex problems.”
“Barnstable is a laboratory experiment of how to deal with a very complicated, serious issue that affects our quality of life, our economy and our environment,” Mr. Keating said. “You are pioneers with how to deal with the wastewater issue, and lessons learned here will help other communities in the country,” Mr. Keating said.
State Senator Julian Cyr added his congratulations noting that the project will help to address three of the biggest challenges facing the region: wastewater, housing and climate change. “This project will provide a significant expansion of infrastructure that is needed to remove nitrogen and steward our region’s pristine marine environment, and also to help the community realize more desperately needed housing,” Mr. Cyr said. By tying in with the construction of the Vineyard Wind project, Cyr noted that the project is also supporting greater community resilience to climate change.
Senator Cyr also remarked that the Town is receiving $8.8 million from the newly established Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund to construct wastewater infrastructure in Barnstable.
Also speaking at the event were State Rep. Kip Diggs, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Gary Moran, and Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Kristy Senatori.
Rep. Diggs congratulated the Town for being among the first to take on this major wastewater challenge. “Planning for this started decades ago and now the Town is executing the game plan,” Mr. Diggs said. “This is an awesome day and we should be thinking about what we can do next to keep progress moving forward,” Mr. Diggs said.
Mr. Moran conveyed the congratulations of the Baker-Polito administration and called the Strawberry Hill Road project “a concrete step forward in reducing nitrogen pollution and improving water quality, while also laying the groundwork for sewer service to even more properties in the future.” Mr. Moran also applauded the Town’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan as a comprehensive road map to protect the Town’s coastal waters, freshwater ponds and drinking water. “We are pleased that the Administration will be able to support the project through the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust,” Mr. Moran added.
Kristy Senatori, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission, noted the project’s significance to the regional economy. “Nitrogen pollution in our estuaries is a critical issue facing this region and projects like this one are necessary to keep our estuaries clean, support sustainable economic growth and help efforts to produce housing.”
Town Council President Matthew Levesque recalled the many town leaders who contributed to the development of the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan and this project over many years. “As local officials it is up to us to become informed and work alongside state and federal officials and town staff to make important projects like this happen,” Mr. Levesque said. “Thank you to everyone in our community who contributed to making this happen, for your passion for protecting water quality and our valued quality of life.”
Mark Ells, Barnstable Town Manager, spoke to the whole-town effort that led up to the groundbreaking and thanked the federal and state officials and Town Council for their leadership, the Department of Public Works staff for their dedication, and Town citizens for their commitment to clean water. “A collective effort is what it takes for a project of this magnitude to move from planning to implementation,” Ells said. Recalling his decades of work on wastewater Ells remarked that, “this is a call to action to our next generation of town staff and community leaders to commit to continued progress in implementing this 30-year plan.”
The Strawberry Hill Road sewer expansion project will provide sewer service to approximately 300 properties in the village of Centerville. Construction will begin in September 2021 and extend through the Spring of 2023 (Additional detail attached.)
The Town of Barnstable’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan calls for the expansion of sewer service to 11,800 properties in town over the next 30 years in order to remove nitrogen and meet federal water quality standards. Investments will also be made to enhance the efficiency and capacity of the Hyannis Wastewater Treatment Plant. More information about the plan and Strawberry Hill Road project is available at www.barnstablewaterresources.com.