Cape Cod Commission Section 208


For well over a decade Cape Cod towns have struggled to solve the nitrogen problem and restore the health of our estuaries. Many towns have developed plans to provide wastewater infrastructure to homes and businesses to restore water quality, but few of these plans have been implemented.

In January 2013, the Commonwealth directed the Cape Cod Commission to update the 1978 Section 208 Area-wide Water Quality Management Plan to address nitrogen pollution in Cape Cod embayments. The 208 Plan Update is a watershed-based approach and recommends strategies, regulatory reforms and a process for communities to reduce or eliminate excess nitrogen, the primary cause of degraded conditions.

The 208 Plan Update establishes an approach better suited to the largely non-urban and seasonal communities on Cape Cod and considers remediation and restoration approaches, in addition to source reduction. The plan identifies areas with suitable development density for collection systems and identifies land use characteristics appropriate for lower cost watershed and embayment technologies.