Wastewater Management Plan

Message From the Prez

Wastewater Management Plan

Yesterday the Cape Cod Times reported that the CLF (Conservation Law Foundation) has initiated a lawsuit against the Town of Barnstable Waste Control Facility contending:

“the levels of nitrogen discharged into groundwater by the plant are too high, and that the nitrogen and other nutrients travel underground to nearby Lewis Bay, where the discharge has elevated nutrient levels that feed large algal blooms. The blooms degrade water quality, lower oxygen levels and harm plant and marine animal life.”

This lawsuit comes on the heels of the town’s successful completion of the state’s environmental review of its Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.  This important (albeit expensive $1.4B) infrastructure plan proposes to both upgrade the wastewater treatment facility and extend the town sewer system to reach more than 12,000 additional homes. 

Aside from the CLF lawsuit, there are still many hurdles to cross ($1.4B is a lot of $) before the wastewater plan will be implemented, nevertheless there is no doubt that the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan will be critical for sustaining clean drinking water and healthy harbors and embayments across the Town of Barnstable.

Back in Barnstable Harbor…  

Barnstable Village already has a sewer system that covers many homes and businesses along 6A including the Cobb Village/Blish Point neighborhood.  How did we get a sewer system ahead of other more densely populated neighborhoods located closer to the Hyannis water treatment facility?  Is it a case of ‘climate injustice’? 


However, one factor was the Barnstable County Complex (BCC), the former “county jail” located on the hill behind the fire station. 

Prior to 1979, the BCC discharged its sewage into the two retention ponds (still) located behind the Barnstable Tavern/Tuscan Grill complex.  Due to the high water table and the clay composition of the surrounding soil, these retention ponds facilitated bacterial contamination of the harbor. 

As a result of the standards set by Barnstable’s 201 Wastewater Facility Plan in late 1970, the BCCCobb’s Hill/Blish Point, and a few other neighborhoods were connected to the sewer system.  This system runs through a forced main that follows Phinney’s Lane to the Hyannis wastewater treatment plant.

I believe that it is imperative to support the town’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan.  And although the dollar cost for this wastewater plan is high, a lack of clean drinking water and/or polluted and oxygen-starved harbors and embayments anywhere in the town is guaranteed to have an insurmountable economic and lifestyle impact on all of us.

Town Manager Mark Ells is planning public forums to discuss the funding and implementation of the plan. 

A review of the history of the Barnstable Village sewer project will enable us to contribute valuable insight into this larger scale plan. 

– Do you have more information/history/memories of this 1978 project?

– What were the costs to BV homeowners to be connected to the sewer?

 – What was the overall cost of the project and how was it paid for?

Reply to this email to share your stories and knowledge about the Barnstable Village sewer system.

Thanks so much!
Avery Revere, President FBH