image of barnstable county courthouse

Free Money

Well not exactly.

Under a new initiative the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment (BCDHE) will offer the first 15 applicants who have a failed septic system and are willing to install a composting-type toilet, a twenty-year betterment loan at 0% interest.

Yes 0% Interest.

Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment endeavors to research the advantages of composting toilets. Composting toilets may not be for everyone, but if you would like to be part of this program, please contact:


Kendall T. Ayers
Program Administrator
Community Septic Management Program
Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment
Box 427 / 3195 Main Street
Barnstable, Massachusetts 02630


George Heufelder
Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment
Box 427 / 3195 Main Street
Barnstable, Massachusetts 02630

Summary of what you might be getting into:

If you have a failing septic system and were about to replace it with a new “Title 5”, consider installing a composting toilet for your bodily waste and a leaching system for graywater (shower, sinks, clothes washer). Composting toilets essentially compost feces and urine in a bin below the toilet (usually in the basement).

You may hear a lot of discussion regarding sewering in Barnstable County. Some folks have advanced the composting toilet as a possible substitute for sewering in some areas. It is obviously a water-conservation means (since it does not use water to flush the waste away), but we really don’t know what the composting toilet-graywater leachfield strategy will do for the nitrogen-loading issue in Barnstable County.

To answer this question, BCDHE is encouraging individuals who may be thinking of trying composting toilets to take that leap. If you do, the Department will monitor the graywater from your system for one year (with your permission of course) in order to answer the question of what impact composting toilets have on nitrogen in groundwater. The information is vitally important, and there is no other way to obtain a realistic projection of the impact that widespread use of this technology might have. So, if you’re up to it, give us a call.


You must obtain a Disposal System Construction Permit from your local Board of Health before you install a composting toilet. For homes or businesses that generate graywater (i.e. wastewater from sinks, showers and washing machines etc.), you will still need to install a disposal system consisting of an effluent filter and/or a septic tank and soil absorption system. (DEP Website

For Product information and a lot of pictures that speak a thousand words, check out some of these websites:

** Part of the monitoring efforts described above is supported by a Massachusetts DEP Section 319(b) grant. The mention of any product or reference to any webpage does not constitute an endorsement by Massachusetts DEP, EPA or Barnstable County.