MASSTC: A Premier Onsite Wastewater Treatment Research Facility

In the early 1990s, Barnstable County officials set out to tackle an undeniable environmental challenge to Cape Cod’s sensitive coastal ecosystems; it was clear that nitrogen from faulty and/or ill-placed septic systems was dramatically affecting our marine and fresh water environments, causing accelerated eutrophication and nuisance algae blooms.

In 1999, Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment officially established the Massachusetts Alterative Septic System Test Center (MASSTC) in conjunction with Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management’s Buzzards Bay Project. Since its inception, MASSTC has performed dozens of rigorous industry-standard certifications for new innovative/alterative septic system technologies. The self-sustaining facility, which is located near Otis Airforce Base in Falmouth, rents out space for research and development of promising new onsite wastewater treatment technologies by private companies. Further, Barnstable County staff who operate MASSTC have pursued and won several grants for groundbreaking original research on important topics ranging from constructed wetlands to nutrient and virus removal.

Following over two decades of successful operation, the MASSTC is known today to be a premier onsite wastewater treatment research facility.

To learn more about the important work being completed at the MASSTC, please visit The Project Hub | MASSTC. You can also access publications written by MASSTC staff regarding ongoing and completed research projects at Publications | MASSTC.

Meet the MASSTC team!


MASSTC in the News

Barnstable County Launches ‘AquiFund’ to Help Homeowners Afford Septic System Replacements, Upgrades, and New Sewer Connections

The County’s Community Residential Septic Loan Program Expansion Will Help Improve Cape Cod’s Water Quality March 1, 2023 (Barnstable, MA) — After 16 years and over $56 million in low-interest […]

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PFAS on Cape Cod: What’s the Big Deal?

An article from the fall edition of our quarterly 2022 Community Health Newsletter. PFAS on Cape Cod: What’s the Big Deal?  Lately there’s been a lot of buzz about a […]

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Barnstable County Receives EPA Grant to Develop a Low-Cost Wastewater Utility for Advanced Onsite Septic Systems 

September 26, 2022 (Barnstable, MA) | Utilizing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grant funds of $1.15M from the US EPA’s Southeastern New England Program (SNEP) and $100K from The Nature Conservancy, the County is in the process of implementing a regional Responsible Management Entity (RME) Program over a 5-year period. The […]

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September 19-23rd is Septic Smart Week!

EPA’s SepticSmart program is a nation-wide initiative to share information on the proper care and maintenance of septic systems and encourage public stewardship in caring for these wastewater treatment systems. […]

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Barnstable County Commissioner’s Adopt a Proclamation for SepticSmart Week: September 19-23rd

The proclamation, signed by Barnstable County Commissioners on September 21, reads as follows: WHEREAS, proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health and preserving our […]

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The New Republic: Vacation Towns Have a Controversial Poop Problem

In the following excerpt, The New Republic author Keely Larson interviews Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment’s Brian Baumgaertel, Director of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center (MASSTC). […]

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