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Participate in Barnstable County’s New Phosphorous Removal Program

Although phosphorus is essential to life, when an excessive amount enters our freshwater lakes and water sources through discharges or groundwater, it can cause nuisance growth of algae and cyanobacteria (also known as “blue-green algae”), and in some cases, toxins that present an exposure risk for ingestion, inhalation and exposure. Human activity, including the placement of septic systems, fertilizer use and poor land management, is largely responsible for the increase in phosphorus and the resulting water quality problems.

Recently, the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment obtained a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to run a pilot project and determine the effectiveness of selected technologies and strategies to reduce phosphorus from septic systems in the watersheds of ponds.

In this demonstration project, participants will install one of seven different options to limit phosphorus from their septic systems for the protection of freshwater resources or to use upper soil-layer dispersal.

The technologies will be installed and then tested over a period of at least one year. Following this period, the owner will be responsible for maintaining the unit per the permit approval’s and the manufacturer’s requirements. The technology options are given below in no particular order of efficacy.


Want to Participate?

This project will provide a subsidy in the amount of $5,000 toward the design and/or installation of these systems. In addition, the equipment in most cases is donated to the homeowner through the project. If interested, call for details on this exciting demonstration project that is focused on limiting the inputs of phosphorus into our fragile ponds and lakes.

Call 508-375-6901 or e-mail

Visit the MASSTC website