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Commissioners Support Denial of Holtec International’s Wastewater Discharge Permit 

Commissioners Engage in Discussions about Replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges

August 17, 2023 (BARNSTABLE COUNTY, MA) Yesterday, the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners unanimously voiced their support for MassDEP’s denial of Holtec International’s wastewater permit. Additionally, they engaged in discussions concerning the replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.

Response to MassDEP’s Decision on Holtec International’s Wastewater Discharge Permit

The Commissioners authorized sending a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) in response to their draft decision to deny Holtec International’s wastewater discharge permit. The letter supports MassDEP’s decision, as it aligns with the Ocean Sanctuaries Act, which prohibits new industrial discharges in ocean sanctuaries. In the letter, the Commissioners urge MassDEP to finalize its draft decision in compliance with state law requirements, protecting the Cape Cod Bay Ocean Sanctuary by preventing the release of Pilgrim’s wastewater.

Commissioner Ron Bergstrom stated, “There are two issues at play here: the actual pollution from discharging water into Cape Cod Bay and the public perception. Given our tourist economy, the perception of discharging water is problematic.”

Support for MassDOT’s Funding Application

The Commissioners also voted unanimously to endorse a letter of support for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) funding application through the Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant Program’s National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) and Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Program (INFRA). The funding will aid in the replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, reinforcing the Commissioners’ commitment to addressing local infrastructure needs.

Input on Bourne and Sagamore Bridges Replacement

The Commissioners also acknowledged a letter from Senator Warren, which invites input from local officials about the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges’ replacement and its impact on Cape Cod’s transportation system. The Commissioners discussed potential consequences of the replacement, emphasizing the importance of ongoing dialogue to fully understand its effects. Commissioner Sheila Lyons highlighted the bridges’ significance for the Cape and its workforce, addressing broader concerns and discussing the need for support to monitor traffic patterns and develop public information strategies. Chairman Mark Forest highlighted the historical value of having an economist on the county’s team, suggesting its reconsideration. The Commissioners unanimously voted to provide a response offering valuable feedback to contribute to ongoing discussions.

Update on Storm Damage at Barnstable County Campus

During the meeting, Don Reynolds, Director of Facilities, and Paul Ruszala, Assets and Infrastructure Manager, provided an update on the aftermath of the August 8, 2023 storm at the Barnstable County Campus. The storm caused extensive damage to various structures and facilities, impacting approximately 15,000 square feet of building space. The First and Second District Courts, the Old Jail building housing Health and Environment staff, and the former Sheriff’s House, used for AmeriCorps offices, were affected. The Courts and Old Jail were operational the next day, while the former Sheriff’s House experienced lower-level flooding. Recovery efforts prioritize thorough damage assessment and a plan for immediate and long-term resilience. The Commissioners expressed gratitude for response efforts and emphasized preparedness for future events.

IT Policies and Procedures Approval

The Commissioners voted to approve the newly presented IT policies and procedures by Bill Traverse, Director of the Information Technology Department. The draft was reviewed with a focus on safeguarding against ransomware and preserving the privacy of essential records. The Commissioners formally adopted these policies and procedures to bolster the county’s cybersecurity practices and data protection protocols.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO WATCH OR JOIN A FUTURE COMMISSIONERS’ MEETING Stay updated on Barnstable County meetings at Access the Commissioners’ calendar, agendas, and participation resources. Tune in to live-stream meetings on YOUTUBE. For accessible accommodation, contact Justyna Marczak, Barnstable County ADA/Non-Discrimination Coordinator, at or call 508-375-6646.


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