Welcome to the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment!

Established under a Special Act of the Legislature in 1926, the Barnstable County Department of Health & Environment (BCDHE) provides regional public health and environmental health services throughout the 15 towns comprising Barnstable County.

The Department manages a number of environmental, public  health, and homeland security grants that are funded through state and  federal resources.  The primary mission of the Department is to protect  public health and the environment and to promote the physical and mental  health and well being of the residents of Barnstable County.

Department Programs

Assistance to Boards of Health

Regular environmental staff maintains the readiness and certifications necessary to assume health agent responsibilities in any town that needs increased temporary assistance for any reason. The Department’s close and regular contact with local boards of health and their agents makes any such event seamless to the public requiring service
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Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee

The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee is a coalition of law enforcement, fire service, health care, public health, public works, EMS, military, and other affiliated agencies as outlined by the Massachusetts State Emergency Response Committee (SERC). It represents the towns of Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth in Barnstable County, and the town of Nantucket in Nantucket County.

Our purpose is to harness the power of planning, cooperation, and interoperability to assist Cape Cod communities to mitigate the threat from any hazard which may require the response of multiple jurisdictions.

Read more about Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee

Bathing Beach Water Quality

In cooperation with the local health departments on Cape Cod, Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment conducted weekly surveillance of water quality at 241 marine beaches and 104 freshwater ponds on Cape Cod during the 2012 summer bathing season. This corresponds to over 4,000 samples. During the off season, the Department maintains a yearly summary of information for all public beaches and issues annual reports to the respective town boards of health.  Recommendations for follow-up  measures in order to reduce public health risks were rendered when necessary.

Read more about Bathing Beach Water Quality

Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps

The Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps is a vibrant organization offering many opportunities for people to live out their commitment to build community resilience. There are activities for both medial and non-medical volunteers to participate in support of their community.

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) was founded after President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address, in which he asked all Americans to volunteer in support of their country. MRC is a partner program of the Citizen Corps, a national network of volunteers dedicated to ensuring hometown security.

Read more about Cape Cod Medical Reserve Corps

Community Septic Management Loan Progran

Financial help with a 5% interest rate betterment loan is now available through the Community Septic Management Loan Program.

Home owners can now comply with Title 5 regulations. Loans, repayable over 20 years, cover all costs directly associated with the septic system upgrade. Applications now being accepted from interested residents.

Read more about Community Septic Management Loan Progran

Environmental Health and Safety

The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Program promotes and enhances environmental health and safety in the workplace by providing and encouraging team-based approaches to integrating aspects of Toxic Use Reduction (TUR), proper hazardous material/waste management, pollution prevention (P2) and indoor air quality (IAQ) into comprehensive facility-specific EHS plans.

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Innovative/Alternative Septic System Tracking

All Innovative/Alternative septic systems in Barnstable County are monitored and tracked via an internet-based database to verify compliance with state and local regulations. The department hosts and maintains this database on behalf of the towns and ensures that each system is compliant.

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Landfill Monitoring

Twelve Cape Cod towns currently depend on Department staff for post-closure or operational monitoring of their landfills, while remaining towns stay in continuous communication with landfill monitoring/sampling staff regarding sampling parameters, procedures and supplies and with the Barnstable County Laboratory staff regarding sample analysis.

Read more about Landfill Monitoring

Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center

The Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center (MASSTC) began in 1999 for the purpose of testing new and innovative onsite septic system technologies. The initial emphasis was on those systems purported to remove nitrogen from wastewater.
Today, the Center serves not only as a generator of third-party treatment data and information, but has become a premier research and development site for new ideas in onsite treatment.

Read more about Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center

Public Health Nurse

The Barnstable County Public Health Nursing Division, located within the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, offers a wide variety of health-related activities and services to Barnstable County residents. Our professional nursing staff directs efforts toward educating people about health issues, investigating health problems and providing immunizations, and engaging in community partnerships to identify and solve health problems.

Read more about Public Health Nurse

Rabies Awareness

The Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force, continues to assist towns with maintaining control of terrestrial raccoon rabies on Cape Cod. Presently all fifteen towns throughout Barnstable County have reported positive cases for the raccoon strain of rabies.

Read more about Rabies Awareness

Regional Tobacco Control

The Cape Cod Regional Tobacco Control Program represents fourteen Boards of Health on Cape Cod and those on Nantucket and Wareham. Our program, administered by the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, is funded through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health with revenue generated from a voter-approved tax on tobacco products. Our Purpose is to provide information and educational services on the dangers of tobacco use and secondhand smoke to all residents of our service area.

Read more about Regional Tobacco Control

Underground Storage Tank Monitoring

The Department continues existing efforts to protect groundwater resources from leaking underground petroleum storage tanks.  All boards of health on Cape Cod have implemented regulations requiring that underground storage tanks be periodically tested and removed from the ground at specified times, typically when the tank reaches 30 years of age.  As a service to local boards of health, the Department tracks tanks that need to be tested and removed, and performs soil vapor testing of these tanks to detect any leakage.

Read more about Underground Storage Tank Monitoring

Water Quality Laboratory

The Barnstable County Laboratory provides analytical services both directly to the public and to the municipalities on Cape Cod. One primary directive of the laboratory is to provide high quality analyses of various contaminants in drinking water. Accordingly, the laboratory assists the water districts and departments on Cape Cod in meeting the monitoring requirements necessary for adherence to state and federal water quality standards. Water districts and departments benefit from the flexibility of the laboratory to assist when periodic problems arise, such as the seasonal and transient occurrences of bacteria. The Laboratory also provides analytical services to owners of private drinking water wells.

Read more about Water Quality Laboratory

News and Announcements

National Immunization Awareness Month

August 5, 2014 - 2:16 pm

Adults Need Vaccines, Too! Barnstable County Public Health Nurses Celebrates National Immunization Awareness Month Every year, thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or […]

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Flu Questions and Answers from the Centers of Disease Control

January 14, 2013 - 12:15 pm

Common questions and answers from the CDC’s flu expert Dr. Michael Jhung at http://www.publichealthnewswire.org/?p=6190.

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Flu Activity

December 5, 2012 - 12:48 pm

CDC Influenza Key Points Nov 30 2012 v 2

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New stock of Potassium Iodide (KI) pills available for the general public

August 21, 2013 - 2:57 pm

BARNSTABLE – The Barnstable County Department of Health & Environment (BCDHE) announces the availability of Potassium Iodide (KI) pills for the general public at Cape and Islands health departments. Pursuant […]

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Yank That Tank!

December 21, 2012 - 1:31 pm

YANK that TANK! Residential Underground Storage Tank LOAN PROGRAM 0% Interest Loans For Tank Removal!  Residential Underground Storage Tank (RUST) removal loans are 0% interest and repayable up to 10 years. This loan covers the costs […]

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Emergency Preparedness Open House

September 12, 2012 - 9:30 am

September is National Preparedness Month! To commemorate this, the Cape Cod Citizens Corps Council is sponsoring: Family Emergency Preparedness Open House this Friday, September 14th from 2 PM – 6 […]

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