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 Alternative 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.

MASSTC in the News

Do Not Drink Order Lifted in the Town of Harwich Following Inadvertent Release of Firefighting Foam

Lab results show that no firefighting foam was detected in the water system after thorough flushing! The Do Not Drink Order in North Harwich has been lifted. From the Harwich […]

Read More

Barnstable County’s Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center (MASSTC) Celebrates 25th Anniversary with a Year of Public Outreach 

Test Center Staff will orchestrate a ‘Waste No Water’ library series to engage the public in discussions about wastewater.  April 2, 2024 (Barnstable, MA) – In honor of its 25th […]

Read More
Image of manholes for innovative/alternative septic systems at MASSTC.

WCAI: Environmental advocates plan to sue EPA, could lead to “Sludgement Day” on Cape Cod

CAI | By Brian Engles Environmental advocates are planning to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not regulating sludge. Sludge is the solid material that’s left over at the end of the […]

Read More

The Wall Street Journal: Why Your Septic System Will Not be Ignored

By Kris Frieswick | The Wall Street Journal Your septic system will not be ignored. You may want to ignore it. It’s designed to be ignored—buried somewhere in your backyard, like […]

Read More

The Alternative: It’s MASSTC’s 25th Birthday!

Interested in joining the discussion about wastewater challenges on Cape Cod? Check out “The Alternative”, a new weekly newsletter from Barnstable County’s Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center! Happy 25th […]

Read More

March 22nd is World Water Day!

Happy World Water Day! World Water Day is observed globally each year on March 22 to promote the responsible use of water and access to safe water for everyone. While […]

Read More