US Representative William R. Keating (D-Bourne) said yesterday he sees opportunities to pursue water quality goals with upcoming legislation.
“We’ve been dealing with this issue on every single front, and I think very successfully,” Rep. Keating said during a phone interview. “What I am hoping for is a bipartisan recovery bill that includes infrastructure that will be central to that.”
Nutrients from septic systems, road runoff and fertilizers have degraded water quality in the Cape’s water bodies. The excess nutrients fuel the growth of algae that block sunlight needed by bottom-dwelling plant life. When the algae decomposes, it absorbs oxygen from the water column, creating dead zones where plant and animal life cannot survive.
Many Cape Cod towns, including those on the Upper Cape, are implementing expensive sewer and wastewater treatment projects to address the pollution while also exploring other innovative ways to reduce nutrient pollution.
“We have to use all the tools in the toolbox,” Rep. Keating said. “I don’t think the Cape can afford to just have water treatment facilities galore. The price tag on that would just be extraordinary.”
While Congress is focused on a COVID-19 relief bill, Rep. Keating said, “On the heels of this will be the massive infrastructure recovery bill” that could include aid for those wastewater projects and other efforts to address water quality. The bill “is already being worked on,” he said.
With the Biden Administration focused on addressing climate change and environmental issues, Rep. Keating said, “I see the potential for private-sector investment and jobs surrounding what we’re doing.”