Energy/Energy Efficiency Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Resources
As fall marches on, our summer vacations seem already like distant memories. On the moments we think back, we may remember that trip to Cape Cod and the great seafood for which it is famous! Seafood is also a key to the economy on which the commercial fisherman and aquaculturists who make their living in the waters surrounding this peninsula depend.
One such business is Cotuit Oyster Company, which has been cultivating oysters in Cotuit Bay since the 1800's. Recently, the company completed construction of a brand new eco-conscious building for its operations. And through DAR’s Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP), a grant of $13,552 went toward renewable energy, and water and air quality improvements.
Renewable Energy: A small-scale roof-mounted 1.95 kW photovoltaic system was designed and installed by nearby clean energy company Cotuit Solar, and is projected to meet 40-50 percent of annual energy use!
Water Quality: A driveway was re-graded to address a steep slope where runoff from the road could wash into the bay during heavy storms. A top layer of crushed stone and crushed shells was applied. In addition, a vegetative barrier was installed on both sides of the property to filter and absorb any overflow entering the bay.
Next, an incinolet toilet was purchased for the one bathroom inside the operations facility. This type of toilet uses electric heat to reduce human waste into ash and requires no water, additives, or cleaning. The ash produced is germ-free with no restrictions on its disposal. This protects water quality by not only preventing any bacteria, nitrogen, etc. from entering the bay, but also by preventing any human waste contaminants from ever entering the ground at all.
Air Quality: Additional environmental enhancement included the replacement of a two-stroke outboard motor with a four-stroke engine; this change out will help mitigate local air and water pollution.
All of these practices combine to make Cotuit Oyster Company a proactive and responsible steward of the environment. As importantly, the project utilized local resources supporting local jobs and businesses. Congratulations to the folks at Cotuit Oyster Company!
Laura Maul, Program Coordinator for DAR’s Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP), co-wrote this post.