Wastewater Department

Wastewater SuperintendentGerald Potamis P.E.
Assistant Wastewater ManagerAmy Lowell
LocationPublic Works Department
416 Gifford Street
Falmouth, MA 02540
E-Mail Address






The Board of Selectmen formed the Water Quality Management Committee in 2011 to serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Selectmen in the process of drafting a Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan and other related activities. The following website has been developed to provide the public with information and updates about this process: Falmouth's Water Quality Planning and Projects Website.

In addition, the Water Quality Management Committee’s website provides meeting agendas, minutes and other important updates about the Committee’s activities (including a link to the Final Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan and Environmental Impact Report, submitted to the state in October 2013): Falmouth's Water Quality Committee’s Website


Approximately 4% of the Town's properties are connected to one of the Town's two wastewater systems: the Main Wastewater System (with a treatment facility on Blacksmithshop Road), and the New Silver Beach Wastewater System (with a smaller treatment facility on William Road). The vast majority of the remaining developed properties in Falmouth have onsite individual cesspools or septic systems, though there are a number of developments with small private wastewater treatment systems.

The Town's wastewater treatment facilities treat wastewater from the properties connected directly to the sewer, and the Town’s Main wastewater treatment facility handles septage pumped from all of the individual cesspools and septic systems in Town.

Cesspools and Septic Systems

Cesspools and septic systems are inspected by the Town's Public Heath Department. Cesspools and septic tanks should generally be pumped out a minimum of every 3 years, though pumping can be required more frequently due to a variety of causes, including system load rate, water table elevation, soil characteristics, etc.. You can get your septic system pumped by hiring a private septage hauler, listed in the phone book. The haulers will pump the septage (sludge and liquid) from your cesspool or septic tank into a truck and haul it to the Town's Main Wastewater Treatment Facility, where they will be charged by weight for disposal.

Main Wastewater System

The Town's Main Wastewater Treatment Facility (Main WWTF) is located at 154 Blacksmith Shop Road, east of Route 28 and north of Blacksmith Shop Road in Falmouth (directions to the WWTF provided under links below).

The Town's original Main WWTF was constructed in the mid 1980's and was an aerated lagoon plant. The Town began a major upgrade of the WWTF (the $15,000,000 WWTF Improvements Project) in 2003. Discharge from the upgraded WWTF began in November of 2005.

The upgrade project dramatically improved the quality of the effluent discharged from the Main WWTF, and in particular, is substantially reducing the nitrogen load to the West Falmouth Harbor watershed.

The design flow of the upgraded WWTF is 1.2 million gallons per day (average annual flow). The current groundwater discharge permit for the Main WWTF limits discharge within the West Falmouth Harbor watershed to 570,000 gallons per day.

Treatment at the Main WWTF is provided by (1) a screen which physically removes large solids, (2) Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBRs) which remove organic material and nitrogen through biological processes, (3) denitrification filters which physically remove solids and biologically remove additional nitrogen, and (4) ultraviolet lights which disinfect the wastewater. Treated wastewater is discharged to infiltration basins, which are large sand beds from which the treated wastewater infiltrates into the soil, and eventually, to the groundwater table.

Septage received at Main WWTF is mixed with excess sludge from the SBRs, then run through a set of sludge thickeners which remove liquid from the sludge. The liquid removed during the thickening process is returned to the SBRs for treatment. The thickened sludge is hauled by a contractor to an off-site disposal facility (normally an incinerator).

The areas of Falmouth that are currently tied into the Main WWTF wastewater collection system are: portions of Woods Hole, portions of the Main Street and Davis Straits areas, a portion of the Falmouth Beach area, many of the properties on Ter Huen Drive, and Falmouth High School. In the majority of these areas, wastewater flows by gravity from the sewered properties to lift stations.

There are three larger and five small lift stations in Falmouth’s Main Wastewater System. The larger lift stations are located on Water Street in Woods Hole (Woods Hole Lift Station), near the corner of Katherine Lee Bates Road and Post Office Road (Shivericks Lift Station), and at the corner of Jones Road and Palmer Road (Jones/Palmer Lift Station). The lift stations pump the wastewater via force mains to the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

New Silver Beach Wastewater System

The goal of the New Silver Beach Wastewater Project completed in 2009 was to address a public health emergency by sewering a portion of the New Silver Beach neighborhood. This area had been subject to regular septic system overflows due to low elevation and location within a coastal flood zone. Sewering the area eliminated this health risk for neighborhood residents and visitors. In addition, sewering the area reduced environmental impacts on the downgradient coastal waters.

In 1997, the Town voters passed the New Silver Beach Sewer ByLaw (see bylaw in links below), which established the New Silver Beach Sewer Service Area and regulations for development within that Service Area.

The New Silver Beach Sewer Service Area includes approximately 231 properties in the New Silver Beach area of North Falmouth. In addition, the New Silver Beach Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) treats wastewater from the North Falmouth Elementary School(see link to New Silver Beach Wastewater Project map under Map and Photo Index below).

The New Silver Beach wastewater collection system conveys wastewater, primarily by gravity, to a lift station on Silver Beach Avenue. The wastewater is pumped from the lift station to the NSB WWTF via a force main (pipe route and plant location shown on New Silver Beach Wastewater Project map; see link under Map and Photo Index below). The wastewater is treated using Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) technology to substantially reduce concentrations of nitrogen, solids and other pollutants. The treated wastewater is then conveyed to a system of infiltration trenches. A school youth soccer field was constructed above the infiltration trench area. See NSB Wastewater Treatment and Disposal System Map (see link under Map and Photo Index below) for the layout of the wastewater treatment and disposal locations over an aerial photo of the area.

The system is designed for a total wastewater flow rate of 60,000 gallons per day, though average flow is significantly less than that. The Town does not accept septage (sludge pumped from septic tanks) at the NSB WWTF location; septage is accepted at the Town's Main WWTF on Blacksmith Shop Road. Only wastewater from the NSB Sewer Service Area and from the North Falmouth Elementary School is treated at the NSB WWTF.


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