Barnstable County is pleased to provide low-interest betterment loans to Cape Cod homeowners faced with the cost of repairing or replacing failed septic systems, upgrading to alternative septic system technologies, as well as connecting to municipal sewers. Cape Cod AquiFund provides equitable access to financial assistance to help Cape Cod homeowners meet clean water goals.

Cape Cod AquiFund currently offers 0%, 2%, 4%, and 5%* interest betterment loans.

Septic system repairs, replacements, upgrades and I/A system installations are ONLY eligible for 4% interest loans at this time. Septic system repairs, replacements, upgrades, and I/A system installations are NOT ELIGIBLE for 0% or 2% interest loans.

The following are provided as examples of projects which are currently eligible for 4% interest loans and are NOT eligible for 0% and 2% interest loans. This is a list of examples only and is non-exhaustive.

  • Title 5 septic system repair
  • Title 5 septic system upgrade
  • Installation of a new Title 5 septic system
  • I/A technologies installed to meet nitrogen loading limitations for public water supply well areas (Zone II’s and IWPA’s)
  • I/A technologies installed to meet groundwater separation restrictions
  • I/A technologies installed to reduce soil absorption area (leach field) size
  • I/A technologies prior to an ultraviolet disinfection unit which are installed to meet a pathogen reduction standard
  • Projects involving community or facility nitrogen aggregations plans (as in 310 CMR 15.216)

Cape Cod AquiFund also offers an income-based interest rate system for homeowners being mandated to connect to town sewers. At this time, ONLY new sewer connections are eligible for 0% and 2% interest loans.

To be eligible for 0% and 2% betterment loans, applicants must meet the following additional criteria1:

  • New program applications only.
  • Property must be a single-family, owner-occupied, year-round, primary residence.
  • Property is not used as a place of business other than a home office.

If above 0% and 2% additional criteria are met:

  • Eligible homeowners with a household income of less than 120% of Barnstable County’s median household income can qualify for a 0%1 interest betterment loan.
  • Eligible homeowners with a household income of between 120% and 180% of Barnstable County’s median household income can qualify for a 2%1 interest rate betterment loan.
  • Eligible homeowners with a household income of greater than 180% of Barnstable County’s median household income can qualify for a 4%1 betterment loan.

Please note: Rental and/or seasonal properties do NOT qualify for 0% or 2% betterment loans at this time, even if the property is being mandated to connect to town sewer. Rental and/or seasonal properties qualify for 4% betterment loans.

*Properties on the market qualify for a 5% interest rate. Properties on the market are NOT eligible for 0%, 2%, or 4% betterment loans.

1 – Interest rates and eligibility criteria are subject to change without notice.

All AquiFund betterment loans are subject to the following terms and conditions:

  • Available to residential properties only.
  • Maximum 20-year repayment term
  • 14% interest rate for accounts in arrears (behind on payments)
  • Early repayment fees may apply.

If you have questions about interest rates or eligibility criteria, please contact Cape Cod AquiFund at (774) 330-3010.

Contact Information

AquiFund General Contact

Alice Ryan, Program Manager

Angela Do Carmo, Loan Manager

Pilar Ahmann, Loan Specialist

Cinthia Madden, Billing Specialist

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Frequently Asked Questions

Currently, there is no minimum income requirement to apply for this program. However, applicants will be required to submit most recent proof of income with their application.

All residential properties are eligible for our program. Primary, as well as secondary residences, condominiums, and apartment buildings are some of the types of properties covered.

Septic system repairs, septic system upgrades, Title 5 system installations, I/A system installations, and town sewer connections.

Frequent pumping, liquid at the surface, gurgling sounds or slow drainage of sinks, shower, or toilets and especially liquid flowing back into your basement are symptoms indicative of a failed septic system.

The loan covers all work directly relating to the repair, upgrade, or installation of a residential septic system, I/A system installation, or town sewer connection. This includes engineering and installation. Also, incidental work associated with the project (e.g., loaming and seeding after work completion, repair to a driveway damaged during construction, required plumbing changes, well relocation, etc.) is generally covered.

To find out what costs of your project can be covered, email or call (774) 330-3010 to speak directly with program staff.

An original completed application, signed and dated, along with a signed and dated copy of your most recent 1040 Federal Tax Return and your most recent mortgage statement is required at a minimum. If you do not file a Federal Tax Return, evidence of sources of income (e.g. Social Security benefits, pension benefits, etc.) should be submitted along with your application.

Once we are in receipt of all required information, your application can be accepted in as little as 48 hours. Applications requiring additional review may take longer.

This pertains to a reference for where your deed was recorded at the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds. If your property is recorded land, your deed reference will be a book and page number. If your property is registered land/land court, your deed reference will be a document number. If you do not have this information available, we will obtain it once the application is submitted.

This is the parcel identification information obtained from your local property tax bill. If you can not find this number, we will obtain it for you once the application is submitted.

It is the homeowner’s responsibility to obtain estimates from contractors. The homeowner must solicit bids for their project from registered professional engineers or licensed installation contractors.

This decision is up to the homeowner. We recommend 3 bids, however this is not a requirement. You should obtain as many bids as you feel are necessary in order to obtain a competitive bid. Once you receive bids, you should forward copies of them to AquiFund for review.

Homeowners must sign the chosen bid and forward the bid to AquiFund. Once received, AquiFund will prepare a Betterment Agreement for the homeowner to have signed in the presence of a notary public. The original and complete betterment agreement must be returned to AquiFund via mail.

Original invoices indicating a balance due should be sent directly to AquiFund for processing. Contractors get paid directly through the Cape Cod AquiFund program. The homeowner should not pay for any work.

You will be billed directly by Cape Cod AquiFund, and you will make payments on a monthly basis directly to Cape Cod AquiFund.

Monthly payments may be made online via our website or by check.

The maximum term is 20 years.

By law, the interest rate will increase from 14% per annum. Your account will return to it’s original interest rate if past due principal and interest payments become current.

You can pay more than the minimum payment due, and this amount will be credited to your outstanding principal thereby reducing the term of your loan and lowering your total interest payment.

If you pay your loan off within one year of receipt of your first payment, you will be charged a $400* early repayment fee.

*Subject to change without notice.

There is a tax credit available for primary residence property owners. You should contact the state Department of Revenue with questions and to obtain Schedule SC necessary in order to obtain the credit.

Cape Cod AquiFund records a Notice of Betterment Assessment at the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds for the amount borrowed.

A Certificate of Dissolving Betterments will be prepared once the loan has been paid in full. The Certificate will be recorded by Cape Cod AquiFund on behalf of the homeowner at the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds. Cost of recordation is the responsibility of the homeowner.

No. If the owner sells or transfers the property, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, the unpaid balance of principal and interest shall become due and payable to the County.

No. Betterment loans are considered a tax, and as such cannot be subordinated to new or existing mortgages.

There is no anticipated shortage of funding for this program.


About AquiFund

Cape Cod AquiFund (formerly Community Septic Management Loan Program), is a financial assistance program aimed at upgrading failed residential septic systems to Title 5 standards made possible by the enactment of the Open Space Bond Bill of 1996. This law appropriated $30 million to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to assist qualified homeowners in defraying the cost of complying with Title 5 regulations. In turn, MassDEP used this appropriation to fund loans through the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (MCWT).

For over 15 years, the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment has administered program on behalf of all 15 Cape Cod towns. As a way of streamlining the program, Barnstable County secured special legislation in 2006 allowing AquiFund to borrow money directly from the MCWT. To date, AquiFund has provided over $52.5 million in loans for over 4,550 septic system repairs, including sewer hook-ups. Program funds from the state remain available into the foreseeable future, allowing the program to continue providing an effective and efficient means of assisting area residents with often cost-prohibitive yet essential septic system requirements.