Lawsuit Seeks Suspension of Septic Installations and Inspections

Systems are polluting bays and ponds across the Cape

Photo: Scott Varisco via Shutterstock

September 17, 2020 (BOSTON, MA) – Septic systems across Cape Cod are pumping nitrogen and phosphorus pollution into the region’s waters, leading to toxic algae outbreaks in bays and ponds. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has notified the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the Towns of Mashpee and Barnstable, of its intent to sue to put an end to this harmful pollution.

“These three entities have utterly failed to protect Cape Cod’s waters,” said Christopher Kilian, Vice President of Strategic Litigation at CLF. “We’ve known for years that septic systems across the Cape are dumping waste into the bays and ponds the region depends on for tourism. Until they get this problem under control, the installation of new systems and the inspection of properties with existing septic must be halted.” 

CLF’s lawsuit demands a temporary suspension of any new septic systems and system inspections that support sales of properties that use septic on Cape Cod until this widespread problem can be fixed. The Cape’s septic and wastewater treatment systems contribute large amounts of nitrogen pollution to the area’s waterways. This type of pollution fuels toxic algae outbreaks that can sicken people and kill wildlife and pets. Algae outbreaks also force the closure of ponds and beaches each year, which harms the local economy and dampens tourism.

The notice letter can be found here

CLF experts are available for further comment.