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Did You Know?

Pet waste, pet care products and other pollutants left on the streets and grasslands can be washed into the storm drains that flow to waterways. Dog owners citywide can help prevent contamination of beaches and parklands from dog waste by picking up after their dog.

Citywide Illegals

Sewer Dye Test
Sewer Dye Test

The primary purpose of Boston Water and Sewer Commission’s (BWSC) Citywide Illegal Connection Investigation Program is to identify building sewer connections discharging to storm drains. Such connections, referred to as “illegal connections” by BWSC, allow untreated sewage to discharge to local waterways and wetlands.

The program includes field inspections and sampling of storm drain outfalls as a means of identifying drainage areas suspected of having illegal connections. In drainage areas identified as contaminated, storm drain manholes are inspected and sewer connections from buildings are dye tested to identify illegal connections. Storm drains and sewers are televised as needed to identify possible illegal connections and defects that allow intermixing of storm drainage and sewage.

If a dye test of a building is necessary, owners and occupants of buildings are notified by mail. If an illegal connection from a building is identified, BWSC will make arrangements to redirect the sewer connection to the sanitary sewer. In most cases the correction can be made in the street. After the correction is made BWSC will need to perform another dye test of the building to confirm that it is properly connected to the sewer system.


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