Nutrient Mitigation Technologies & Policies

Cape Codders are closely connected to the water. Whether salt or fresh, water defines Cape Cod and each person’s experience with the environment. In the search for solutions to water quality problems, alternative technologies, tools, policies and approaches that may restore water quality in affected water bodies more quickly and cost effectively than traditional methods have been identified. Techniques that may be applied directly within the water body have raised questions about their potential effectiveness, reliability and speed to results. The Section 208 planning process has provided the opportunity to take an in-depth look at a broad range of techniques for managing nutrients.

This website provides an interactive portal for examining the myriad of potential nutrient reduction, remediation and restoration technologies and approaches. This work is embodied in the Water Quality Technologies Matrix (Technologies Matrix) and then simplified based on the point of intervention, the scale of the technology or approach (site, neighborhood, or watershed) and whether it requires a collection system to remove waste from the property for disposal in another location. The Technologies Matrix includes the breadth of traditional approaches, from on-site (Title 5) systems to centralized treatment facilities, and a diverse array of non-traditional or alternative approaches, ranging from coastal habitat restoration to source-reducing toilets.

The Technologies Matrix is the result of nearly two years of research by Cape Cod Commission staff and consultants, review by a panel of experts, followed by vetting by state, federal, and other stakeholders. The Technologies Matrix is conceived as a living compendium of data on nutrient management technologies. The technologies in the Matrix have all shown some promise for being used for nitrogen management; however, many are yet untested on Cape Cod or have been deployed at scales smaller than might be necessary in a watershed plan. It became clear through the research, as well as in questions raised during the many discussions among planning staff, stakeholders, academia and government and private experts, that the Technologies Matrix needs continual refinement as new or more accurate information becomes available through research or from pilot projects on Cape Cod. The actions needed to implement water quality improvements across the Cape will contribute to the body of knowledge about non-traditional nutrient management technologies, allowing us to refine the list of best practices that have proven to be effective in solving water quality problems. It is recommended that the Cape Cod Commission develop a process for annual updates to the Technologies Matrix.

How to use this site:

Click on the Explore link, to peruse a list of Technologies. These strategies can be filtered by different categories or can be clicked on to find out more in-depth information about each.

About the Plan:

The 208 Plan Update focuses on nutrient impacts to the Cape’s estuaries, primarily caused by nitrogen in wastewater. The 208 Plan Update reflects a watershed-based approach, as watersheds, not town boundaries, define the jurisdiction of the problem. The approach developed through the Section 208 Plan Update looks at targeting specific watersheds with known water quality problems.

The Plan Update is the culmination 14 months of intensive work on the plan by Commission staff, consultants and 170 stakeholders from across the Cape. It’s also a continuation of years of Commission effort to address excessive nitrogen entering Cape Cod embayments, mainly from residential septic systems.