A kettle pond shoreline in the Cape Cod National Seashore (Courtesy CCNS)
The water quality on Cape Cod’s ponds and bays is bad and getting worse, according to the second annual State of the Waters report from the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (AAPC), a regional environmental advocacy and education organization. While the report says that public drinking water is “excellent” overall, the percentage of surface water with “unacceptable” quality increased from last year.
“The estuaries and bays of Cape Cod are largely in terrible shape,” said AAPC executive director Andrew Gottlieb. “The Cape has experienced fairly wide scale decline in the quality of its surface waters, and yet there’s a real lack of public understanding about both the scope of the problem and the causes of it.”
The report blames the poor water quality on nutrient pollution from stormwater runoff, fertilizers, and septic systems. Septic systems are a widely-acknowledged source of water pollution on Cape Cod, where a majority of homes use them.