Coalition Releases Upper Bay Regional Wastewater Feasibility Assessment

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Supported by over five years of research, engineering and technical assessments, the report finds that a highly effective regional wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) in Wareham discharging to the Cape Cod Canal is a promising alternative for improving water quality for the region. The summary report details the critical information each community needs in order to evaluate whether a regional wastewater project is preferred over an individual community’s investment in, and long term management of, its own individual wastewater solutions.

Currently, Wareham, Bourne, Marion, Plymouth, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy face several critical issues relating to wastewater management: severe nitrogen pollution in their coastal waters from septic systems, limited system treatment capacity, and the ability to discharge treated wastewater responsibly.

The report finds that an expanded Wareham treatment facility which reduces nitrogen by more than 90%, can meet the sewer needs of all the communities and reduce nitrogen pollution to their sensitive coastal waters and restore habitats, eliminate cost and maintenance redundancies, and benefit from economies of scale in construction and design. The report finds that the discharge to the Cape Cod Canal will ensure that highly treated wastewater will flow through the well-flushed canal rather than into nearby shallow coastal waters that are sensitive coastal habitats.

The project would eliminate an estimated 100,000 lbs. of nitrogen per year from the most sensitive waters in Buzzards Bay. While the cost is significant, an estimated $150 million, local communities would likely share those costs with state and federal funding. Local communities will also face significant costs associated by “going it alone.”

“Massachusetts may see up to $1 billion through the 2021 federal infrastructure bill for wastewater projects. We increase our chances of receiving substantial federal dollars to offset the costs of wastewater projects if the region can work together to reduce pollution and meet wastewater needs.” said Mark Rasmussen of the Buzzards Bay Coalition. “It’s about looking at the whole picture and knowing that the investment we make today will save us time, money, and yield positive environmental results in the future. The Buzzards Bay Coalition has never seen a project with greater potential to reduce pollution and cleanup water quality in the entire in the entire Upper Bay region.”

The Coalition has worked in coordination with each of the towns and Mass Maritime Academy in the evaluation of this project and will continue to engage in robust conversations with residents and town officials to discuss the science behind, the environmental benefits of, and the cost benefits of an Upper Bay Project.

To learn more about the Upper Bay project, visit

Categories: On the Bay, On the Land

Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: