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New scorecard for wastewater projects puts Cape on top

Summer sunset over Buzzards Bay
S Junker
Summer sunset over Buzzards Bay

The state has implemented a new scoring system for ranking wastewater projects for low-cost government loans.

According to Andrew Gottlieb of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, the new scorecard ranks wastewater projects in Barnstable County in the top tier.

Gottlieb says the state Department of Environmental protection is implementing the new system this month. It’s a way for Massachusetts towns to get low-interest or no-interest loans for their water projects from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

“When you go in and ask for support, one of the key competitive advantages is if you have a clear understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve and an even better understanding of how what you’re proposing to do will result in improvement,” he told CAI.

“Because we have a lot of data, especially in the marine environment, we’re able to make a very strong case both as to what the nature of the problem is, but also how effective our solutions are going to be. And that’s where you see bigger investments going from the federal and state governments.”

Gottlieb says Cape towns and nonprofits have collected data and designed wastewater projects that will work. And because of previous negotiations, towns in Barnstable County qualify for no-interest loans from the fund, rather than the two percent interest that other Massachusetts municipalities pay.

The federal government has promised $1.1 billion dollars to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund over the next five years as part of last year’s infrastructure bill.

Elsa Partan is a producer and newscaster with CAI. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.