A Comprehensive Wastewater & Nitrogen Management Plan for Oyster Pond
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A Comprehensive Wastewater & Nitrogen Management Plan for Oyster Pond . How Did We Get Here? …. It was 25 years in the making. In the mid 1980’s alert Falmouth residents noticed a profound change in our estuaries.

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A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

How Did We Get Here? …. It was 25 years in the making Oyster Pond

In the mid 1980’s alert Falmouth residents noticed a profound change in our estuaries.

  • Mid 80s - Pond Watchers Citizen Monitoring program was initiated for Oyster, Little and Green Ponds.

  • 1987 - Town Meeting appropriated $5,000 “to conduct investigations of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics” of Oyster, Little, and Green Ponds and to prepare a “comprehensive program for restoration, preservation and maintenance”.

  • 1989 – Collapsed culvert replaced with larger one causing profound changes to the pond

  • 1998 – Weir built to control pond salinity

  • 2006 – Listed as an impaired water body due to nutrients & pathogens on Mass Clean Water Act 303 (d) list

  • 2007 - Final Massachusetts Estuarine Project (MEP) report for Oyster Pond issued

  • 2008 Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for nitrogen approved for Oyster Pond by the EPA and DEP.

  • Aug 2010 – Buzzards Bay Coalition & Conservation Law Foundation file suit against EPA for “failing to properly manage sources of nitrogen pollution like septic systems, stormwater, & wastewater treatment plant discharges on Cape Cod including Falmouth and Bourne.”

Pond weeds in 2000


What is a comprehensive wastewater management plan
What is a Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan? Oyster Pond

 A CWMP considers all wastewater treatment alternatives through a designated watershed region and prepares a cost effective preliminary plan focused on a defined water quality objective. 

  • A CWMP usually includes the following:

  • Needs Assessment – Assess current and future N sources

  • Develop & Screen Alternatives – ID & evaluate alternative treatment options

  • Evaluate Alternatives - for feasibility & $

  • Identify Recommended Plan – produce prelim.engineered plan

Final Product – A long term Plan for nutrient control (wastewater, storm water runoff, fertilizer) of the Pond.


A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

The Benefits of a CWMP? Oyster Pond

  • Gain opportunity for Zero % Financing

  • Increase cost sharing opportunities

  • Expand opportunities for expanded innovative alternatives – storm water run-off control, weir/outflow improvements, Mosquito Creek improvements


A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

The Massachusetts Estuaries Project Oyster Pond

  • Sets the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) – greatest amount of a pollutant a water body can receive without impairment - for nitrogen in Oyster Pond

  • Is based on restoring oxygen levels in the water column to a 4 meter depth to restore benthic habitat for infaunal inhabitants.

Target Concentration Nitrogen - 0.55 mg/L

Target Nitrogen Controllable Load – 1.53 kg/day


A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

An example of extreme nitrogen pollution Oyster Pond

Pirate’s Cove, Barnstable

DEP defined status of Oyster Pond


A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

Sources of Nitrogen to Oyster Pond Oyster Pond

To meet TMDL Targets, 70% of N Load must be removed


A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

Oyster Pond is Unique: Oyster Pond It is a Designed Brackish Water Estuary

  • Salinity is Maintained between 2 -4 ppt

  • Better Herring Habitat

  • Suppresses Nitrogen Activity



A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

Simple Mass Balance of Nitrogen Removal Oyster Pond

Septic System N Load ……………………3.61 kg/day

Land Use (SW, Lawns) N Load …...…….1.46 kg/day

Oyster Pond Current N Load…………5.07 kg/day

Removalof Controllable Load

N Load from Treetops - .41 x 3.61 = 1.48 kg/day

N Load from WHRC - .04 x 3.61 = .14 kg/day

Load from Remaining Residential

Homes 1.99

Removal by Denite System x .50 = 1.00 kg/day

Load from Land Use (SW, Lawns) .63 x 1.46 = .92 kg/day

Total Removal = 3.54 kg/day

5.07 – 3.54 = Target Load = 1.53 kg/day


A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

Possible Comprehensive Wastewater and Nutrient Management Plan Budget for Oyster Pond

I. NEEDS ASSESSMENT

A.   Hydrology update       Morraine region needs some Monitoring Wells for Mapping           $ 15,000

B. Sources of Nitrogen and Phosphorus         Trying to add P into budget                               $ 10,000

II. DEVELOP & SCREEN ALTERNATIVES 

C.  Wastewater and Nutrient Control- Design and permitting review                                         

            1. Community Small Plant (prob. Cluster)    Discharge and system outside OP recharge zone

                (flow under 16,000 gpd)                                                                                                 $ 85,000

           2.  Small Cluster ( Flow, 12,000 gpd)                                                                                  $ 30,000

           3.  Focused denitrification (60-64 units)             High GWflow region                                  $ 15,000

           4.  Diffuse Residential (110 units)                                                                                        $ 35,000

                 a. Residential turnover-denitrification

                 b. Plume interception/barrier

           5.  Weir control                                               Salinity control/ N/P ratio/Aquatic Vegetation  $ 20,000

           6.  Biomass out-migration, algae                    Herring Propagation                            $  5,000 

           7.  Land Use - Stormwater runoff, Fertilizer    Roadway, Creek, Lawns, Leaf fall                  $ 15,000

 III. EVALUATE ALTERNATIVES

     D. TMDL modeling of alternatives                         Computer runs                                        $ 40,000

 IV. IDENTIFY RECOMMENDED PLAN

     E.  Trunk River Outflow Improvement                    Maint. Dredging, Eel grass screen                $ 20,000

F. Final Report $10,000

   $  300,000



A comprehensive wastewater nitrogen management plan for oyster pond

CMNWP Best Possible Time Line Approved

  • April 2011 – Town Meeting Vote on article

  • May 2011 – Town Election vote on tax override

  • July 2011- Request for Proposals (RFPs) go out to public

  • August 2011 - RFPs reviewed by the Town

  • September 2011– Consultant Selected, contract signed, initial mtg.

  • 2012 – Needs Assessment Report

  • 2012 - Develop & Screen Alternatives Report

  • 2013 - Evaluate Alternatives &Identify Recommended Plan (Prelim. Engineering Plan)

  • 2014 – RFP issued for Full Engineering Plan, Engineer Selected

  • 2015 – Final Engineered Plan developed, Permits issued.

  • 2016 – Project Ground Breaking