image of barnstable county courthouse

Commissioners Endorse Plans to Expand Septic System Test Center

March 14, 2024 (BARNSTABLE, MA) – At yesterday’s meeting, the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners unanimously approved Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center’s (MASSTC) proposal for expansion. MASSTC, a division of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, will apply for a grant through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to enhance its research capabilities and infrastructure in wastewater technology.

MASSTC has proposed expanding its facilities and capabilities to address urgent environmental challenges, including virus detection, contaminant removal (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus, PFAS, and other emerging chemicals of concern), eco-sanitation, and urine diversion. The proposed expansion includes establishing a county Clean Water Center, upgrading testing facilities, enhancing training resources, and adding wet labs and prototyping workshops, significantly bolstering MASSTC’s capacity to develop innovative solutions and advance scientific understanding in wastewater technology.

Securing $1.7M for Expansion

To realize its expansion plans, MASSTC has applied for a $1.7 million grant through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. This funding will enable MASSTC to enhance its research capabilities, upgrade infrastructure, and expand outreach initiatives. During the meeting, MASSTC’s proposal received unanimous approval from the Commissioners, highlighting the importance of addressing environmental challenges and investing in cutting-edge research and infrastructure.

Commissioner Mark Forest commented, “Expanding the Test Center will not only enable us to attract more companies and universities to Cape Cod to help us develop new innovative wastewater technologies, it will put Cape Cod on the map as a center for jobs and opportunities in the emerging ‘clean water’ technology sector.”

Update on Economic Development Council’s Strategic Plan

The Commissioners also received an update from Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Kristy Senatori on the ongoing efforts of the Barnstable County Economic Development Council (EDC) to shape a new economic plan. The EDC has a Strategy Committee in place and a draft plan anticipated for review and adoption by May.  Ms. Senatori highlighted how the EDC’s timing in developing a plan closely aligns with the state’s release in December 2023, presenting opportunities for collaboration and inclusion of resilience, workforce, and equity initiatives.

Following a successful 2024 Economic Summit on Cape Cod, where key stakeholders were brought together, the momentum for strategic economic development efforts continues to build. Additionally, the License Plate Fund, an initiative stemming from the Economic Development Council, is utilized each year to support community grants and drive sustainable economic growth initiatives in the region. This year, License Plate Funds will be available in the fall.

Vice Chair Sheila Lyons praised the efforts of Ms. Senatori and her team in supporting the Economic Development Council and noted the EDC’s significant contributions to the region’s development.

Chairman Ron Bergstrom echoed these sentiments, highlighting the Cape Cod Commission’s vital role in tackling issues such as seasonal employment availability and housing. He expressed gratitude for their dedication and contributions to the community.

Arts Foundation of Cape Cod Reaffirmed as Barnstable County’s Official Arts Agency

From left to right: Chairman Ronald Bergstrom, Executive Director of Arts Foundation of Cape Cod Julie Wake, Commissioner Mark Forest.

For the second consecutive year, the Commissioners unanimously voted to designate the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (AFCC) as the official arts agency of Barnstable County, reaffirming the County’s commitment to enriching the region’s cultural landscape. Julie Wake, Executive Director of the AFCC, said that this designation empowers the Foundation to expand its grant distribution efforts and pursue additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Prior to this designation,” Ms. Wake explained, “back in 2015 when I started, we were allocating around $15K to 17 organizations. Since then, our granting process has grown significantly. For instance, last year alone, we distributed $130K in grants across 61 organizations, all made possible by the County’s designation.”

Yesterday Ms. Wake also announced the launch of a grant for individual artists, with $60K allocated to those promoting access to art and fostering community connections. Ms. Wake encouraged artists to visit for more details about grant opportunities.

Commissioners Approve Amendment for Youth & Young Adult Homelessness Grant

The County Commissioners also approved an amendment yesterday for the Youth & Young Adult Homelessness (YYA) grant, adding $150,000 to FY2024 funding and a further $822,000 for FY2025, for a total of $972,000 in additional funding. This grant supplements funding for the COC/YYA Program Manager position and enables the County to award sub-grants to regional organizations serving homeless youth and young adults.   

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 

MEDIA CONTACT Sonja Sheasley, Communications Coordinator (508) 375-6896 |