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County Seeks to Expand Assistance to Homeowners for Sewer and Septic Upgrades

Commissioners Award $750,000 in Grants to Local Farmers and Fishermen 

February 28, 2024 (BARNSTABLE, MA) — Today, the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners voted to expand the County’s AquiFund Program which provides low interest loans to Cape Cod homeowners for septic system upgrades and sewer connections. The action taken by the Board today enables the County to move forward in applying for $13 million in new funding from the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust.

For the past 18 years the state’s Clean Water Trust has provided funding to Barnstable County to administer a community septic loan program.  Since its inception in 2006, the County’s “Aquifund” program has assisted 4,814 homeowners by providing $62.4 million in low interest loans for septic system upgrades.  In 2021, the program began offering $0-4% loans to Cape homeowners based upon income and expanded the program to include sewer hookups and alternative septic systems. 

“The AquiFund program is crucial for tackling our wastewater issues and the severe environmental challenges we face on the Cape,” Commissioner Mark Forest remarked. “A big thank you as well to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust for their unwavering support. They have been with us every step of the way, providing invaluable assistance.”

Brian Baumgaertel, Director at the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center (MASSTC) offered, “For almost two decades, Barnstable County has supported Cape Cod homeowners with septic system replacements through the AquiFund program. With recent Title 5 changes imposing stricter standards, the program’s role is crucial. It offers vital financial help, ensuring homeowners can meet new regulations efficiently, safeguarding Cape Cod’s waters for the future.”

In other business, the Commissioners awarded $750,000 in grants to 8 local organizations:  

Cape Abilities Farm

Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance

Chatham Harvesters Cooperative

Midnight Our Seafood

Canaan SDA Church

Health Ministry USA

Farming Falmouth

Tony Andrews Farm

Funding for this initiative was awarded to the County’s Cooperative Extension from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture.  The Land and Sea Grant supports Cape Cod’s unique food system by partnering with local farming and fishing communities.  Food and fish produced will be distributed to the Barnstable Public Schools, the Falmouth Service Center, and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.  Other key distribution partners include organizations serving veterans, homeless, seniors, and people with disabilities.

To watch the meeting in its entirety, please follow this link:

ABOUT BARNSTABLE COUNTY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF CAPE COD: Barnstable County provides exemplary government functions and services to keep our community healthy and safe, promote sustainable growth, and offer a proactive, open government that enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Barnstable County. Learn more at