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

The Inspiring Partnership of MASSTC and Southeastern New England Fibershed 

The Massachusetts Alternative Septic Test Center (MASSTC), a division of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, is dedicated to promoting sustainable and innovative septic system technologies. Recently, they partnered with the Southeastern […]

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Barnstable County Water Quality Lab Director Joins Sunday Journal for Interview about County Lab’s Role in Protecting the Region’s Water Resources

April was National County Government Awareness month and Barnstable County officials are using the opportunity to highlight local services that are protecting regional water resources. County Water Quality Laboratory Director […]

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Wastewater Division Director Discusses County Wastewater Initiatives on Sunday Journal

April is National County Government Month, and Barnstable County is using it to highlight local efforts to protect the region’s water resources. County Senior Environmental Specialist Brian Baumgaertel joins Sunday […]

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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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