Saving Paradise Turns 3!

Finally… the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the latest installment in our Saving Paradise series!

Our third short documentary about Cape Cod’s environmental troubles premiered at the Cape Cod Commission’s One Cape summit on February 26. Produced in collaboration with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Sea Level Rise: Changing Cape Cod’s Groundwater goes underground, examining how sea level rise threatens Cape Cod’s coastline, with sometimes invisible impacts.


Funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, the APCC teamed up with the US Geological Survey and the Cape Cod Commission to map and model how rising seas are causing groundwater to rise under our feet. As USGS Hydrologist Peter Weiskel puts it, this could be called “an inundation from below” study.

Bob Oldale, a homeowner in New Silver Beach, North Falmouth, explains what happened to his neighborhood when groundwater level became too high after Hurricane Bob: three septic systems and a sewer installation later, he warns that we need to adapt to ever-changing water levels, before it’s too late.

Bob’s story is rounded out by comments from George Heufelder, the director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment, on the public health risk of septic systems and sewer lines that are too close to groundwater. Laurel Schaider, a research scientist with the Silent Spring Institute, talks about her study of pharmaceuticals and other unregulated contaminants in wastewater, and how they’re getting from septic systems and into drinking water.

APCC Director Ed DeWitt, follows up with a call to action: we need to stem the rising tides by reducing our carbon footprint, and mitigating its inevitable effects of sea level rise by protecting our vulnerable coastline.

We hope you enjoy this video, and we hope it helps town officials and homeowners make decisions that take this new information about sea level rise into account. Our next video will likely focus on the ecosystem services provided by salt marshes, just another reason they deserve protection!