The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast New England Program for coastal watershed restoration (SNEP) recently began fieldwork in five Cape Cod communities to try to reduce harmful nutrient levels through innovative measures like a permeable reactive barrier (PRB).
“EPA is eager to see if this promising, low-cost technology can be applied more widely on the Cape and elsewhere to help solve the problem of nutrient pollution impacting local waters,” EPA Regional Administrator for New England Curt Spalding said. “We have experience with PRBs to remediate contaminated groundwater plumes, so we are hopeful that this technique can also help diffuse nutrient pollution.”
PRBs are placed under the ground surface to prevent groundwater plumes with contaminants such as nitrogen from flowing into surface water. Successes in these initial five communities, including Barnstable, Dennis, Falmouth, Mashpee and Orleans, will be replicated on a larger scale throughout the area.
“Cape Cod is at the heart of this problem in New England,” U.S. Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA), a longtime champion of SNEP funding in Congress, said. “I am very proud to join the EPA in announcing the release of funding from SNEP for these deserving projects on the Cape, which seek to combat contamination and purify our water bodies. These five projects are the realization of the SNEP’s goals — utilizing innovative technologies to mitigate and reduce nitrogen levels in our region’s groundwater.”