Watershed Nitrogen Management Plan

Mashpee is the fastest-growing town on Cape Cod.  At the same time, it is located almost entirely within the watersheds of two shallow nitrogen-sensitive embayments, Popponesset Bay and Waquoit Bay.  The estuarine systems of both bays have shown significant signs of degradation attributable to excessive inputs of nitrogen.  The Town of Mashpee currently has no municipal sewer system.  It does have a Sewer Commission with full authority, given funding, to implement such a system.

In May 1999 Town Meeting voted $405,000, subject to a zero interest loan from the State Revolving Fund (SRF), to develop a Watershed Nitrogen Management Plan.  The Plan is intended to determine the most appropriate, cost-effective and “politically” feasible means, probably including municipal wastewater facilities, along with other appropriate facilities and management structures, required to address the nitrogen overload problem.  The Engineering firm of Stearns & Wheler and the School of Marine Science & Technology at UMass Dartmouth have been contracted to develop the plan.  Additional work has been contracted with Lombardo Associates .

The plan will recommend both facilities and management options, which may include development of a municipal sewer system, possibly based on existing private systems, cluster and innovative / alternative on-site facilities and facility management approaches, along with stormwater facilities and other traditional or innovative approaches to nitrogen reduction or removal.  The Plan is expected to include conceptual facilities designs, estimated costs, financing mechanisms, pricing / charges, regulatory changes and other items relevant to the establishment of a municipal sewer system and management of nitrogen loading to the watersheds.

To date, Stearns & Wheler has completed two major portions of the study, a Needs Assessment Report (April 2007) and a Technology Screening Report (November 2007).  Work is currently under way on the development of five alternative scenarios for development of wastewater facilities to meet nitrogen loading targets for Popponesset and Waquoit Bays that have been established by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection and US EPA.

Nitrogen Management Plan Website