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BWSC’s water is considered “soft” (has a lower mineral concentration-calcium and magnesium). This usually means less dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, or other soaps are needed.

Water Requirements - General Requirements

  1. Secondary Connections - All second source domestic water connections require separate accounts, meters and check valves at point of entry.
  2. New Service - New water service(s) shall be activated by BWSC personnel after meter is installed. In addition, when required, BWSC must have an approved as-built plan before activation.
  3. Taps - All taps must be direct taps. The only exception to this rule is when making a 1.5" tap on a water main that is 10" in diameter or smaller. In these instances the use of a saddle will be permitted. The connection of water services 4-inches and larger shall be made using a tapping sleeve and valve (Mueller Type H615 or equal). For more information see the Standard Details
  4. Connections to the Main - If the existing water main is 6-inches or less, any water service 4-inches or larger must be connected using 3-way branch and a gate valve.
  5. Outside Meter Pits - If the building is more than 50 feet from the property line, a meter pit in the sidewalk may be required by the BWSC. All outside meter pits and covers shall conform to the sizes and specifications
  6. Meter Installment - All meter installations require the installation of a Meter Transmission Unit (MTU) as part of BWSC's Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system. BWSC will wire and program the MTU with the necessary account information. BWSC requires the owner provide a suitable location for the installation of the MTU and the installation of all associated wiring, conduits and penetration points. Provisions must be made for a location that does not interfere with beams, columns, panels and other obstructions, both on the interior and exterior of the building. For more information see the Standard Details.
  7. New Meter - For any property requiring a new meter 3" and above, the property owner shall provide for by-pass metering and the purchase of the meter(s) and MTU(s). The MTU must be purchased at BWSC, Engineering Customer Services Department, 980 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA. 02119. BWSC will connect the meter to the MTU and program the MTU. All meters 2-inches or less will be supplied by BWSC. BWSC will also supply the meter bushings and coupling for each such meter on a new service.
  8. Meter Details - For meters 3-inches and above, only meters of a type approved by BWSC, in accordance with BWSC Standard Specifications for Water Meters, which register in cubic feet and have six wheel encoders, will be accepted. Turbine Meters must be accompanied with a strainer of the same manufacturer upstream of the meter and a spool piece with a mechanical 3-way (meter diameter x 2") and 2-inch ball valve downstream of the meter. The 2-inch ball valve is used for meter testing by the BWSC. Compound and Fire Meters must be accompanied with a strainer of the same manufacturer upstream of the meter and a test port must be installed with a nipple and ball valve, used for BWSC meter testing, of the appropriate size which is on the meter body. These meters will be supplied at owner's expense. All meters become the property of the BWSC after the water meter has tested accurately and approved by BWSC. For more information see the Standard Details
  9. Bypass Meters - All meters 3-inches and above must have a bypass meter one size smaller. For a fire meter, the bypass meter must be a turbine meter.
  10. Meter Location - All water meters need to be installed as close as possible to the point where the water line enters the building. The water shut off valve should be the same size as the service no matter what size meter to be installed. Also, the spacing between flanges on larger services shall be sufficient to allow BWSC to install a full size meter in the event that the downsized meter cannot handle the demand of the building.
  11. New Services - For all new services 8-inch or larger, a minimum 10-inch diameter ductile iron stand pipe with a 16-inch by 18- inch frame and cover marked BWSC FP or SP must be used with each gate valve.
  12. Fire Pipes - All fire pipes and domestic water services must have separate taps and cannot be interconnected in any way. For more information see the Fire Pipe section in General Requirements.
  13. Repairs - All water repairs on services 3" and above shall be done with full ductile iron split repair sleeves or the equivalent or the installation of new piping with approved couplings. The installation of lightweight repair clamps (band aids) to plug holes or as a permanent repair is not acceptable.
  14. Cuts and Caps - Any existing water service to be abandoned must be shut off, disconnected and sealed at the main and the upright, frame and cover removed. For all services 3" and above, the pipe and valve must be cut and removed from the main. The cutting, repairing, installation and capping of fire protection building sprinkler services whether for the demolition of a building, the rehabilitation of a building or any other reason must be approved in written request by the Boston Fire Department and Inspectional Services Department. All abandonment of the fire protection building sprinkler service must be cut and capped off at the main in the street. All such work must be performed by a Licensed and Bonded Drainlayer. For any procedure involving a main line shut down, the drainlaying contractor will coordinate with BWSC's Water Operations Department, the abutters, Boston Fire Department and Boston City Hall. For more information see the Standard Details
  15. Hydrants - All hydrants installed within the City of Boston must be purchased from BWSC. Hydrant relocation requires a site plan submittal and approval. If a hydrant is to be relocated within10 feet of its existing location, BWSC may allow the lateral relocation of the hydrant within the sidewalk using 2-45 degree bends and proper restraint; otherwise the removal of the existing connection and appurtenances and the establishment of a new connection and appurtenances are required. All costs, permitting and approvals, for moving hydrants are the responsibility of the proponent.
  16. Stations - All new water connections, valves, tees, crosses and bends must be stationed. When possible, STA 0+00 should be aligned with the corner of the property line of the building being constructed.
  17. Inspections - BWSC shall inspect the installation of water service pipes, fire pipes and appurtenances and any taps and connections and disconnections to BWSC's water distribution system. Inspection points must be delineated on the site plan or as-built, along with sign off by a BWSC inspector.
  18. Upgrades - Any request for an upgrade of an existing water service shall be accompanied by a site plan. The existing service must be cut and capped at the main. The site plan submission shall include the existing WATER ACCOUNT NUMBER.
  19. Fire Flow - BWSC conducts Fire Flow testing for engineers, developers, and sprinkler design companies. The test provides actual pressure and flow data measured from specific fire hydrants. Requesting a fire flow test can be done either by mail or in person at BWSC's Engineering Customer Services Department located at 980 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02119. The Commission charges a fee to conduct a fire flow test which provides written results. The test results are usually available within three weeks of receiving the request, weather permitting. BWSC also maintains previously performed fire flow test results. To request a fire flow test, or to determine if one has been completed within your project's location, please fill out the document found in the Forms section.

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