About Our Test Facility
The Short Story
The Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Technology Center (MASSTC) is the nation’s premier third-party testing and research facility for innovative/alternative (I/A) onsite septic treatment technologies. Since 1999, MASSTC has tested dozens of technologies for industry standard certifications, provided space for technology vendors to do R&D work, and conducted original research on topics from constructed wetlands to nutrient and virus removal.
Beginning in the early 1990s, Barnstable County, Massachusetts (Cape Cod) began realizing that nitrogen from septic systems was dramatically affecting our marine environments, causing accelerated eutrophication and nuisance algae blooms.
Searching for technologies to address the issue, the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management through the Buzzards Bay Project, began what is now called the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center (MASSTC). The Test Center began in 1999 testing advanced onsite septic treatment technologies in triplicate under a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called the Environmental Technology Initiative (ETI). Working with EPA and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) of Ann Arbor, Michigan, MASSTC conducted a refined nutrient testing protocol in 2002 referred to as the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV). Further refinement of the nutrient standards was completed in 2007 by NSF and has resulted in the NSF Standard 245.
Following over two decades of successful operation thanks to Barnstable County staff, state and federal grant funding and industry support (private companies are issued fees for space, testing and staff oversight), MASSTC continues to serve as an economic driver of the onsite wastewater treatment industry by fostering local and out-of-state investment in innovative/alternative septic system technology. Its facility can accommodate over 20 concurrent tests, allowing companies to conduct research and development on their products or complete any number of standardized test protocols. MASSTC has since become a premier onsite wastewater treatment research facility, hosting numerous research and development efforts by private manufacturers, states and municipalities and conducting protocols for the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSFI).