Before 1795, Boston residents obtained their water from local wells, rain barrels, and a spring on the Boston Common.
Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) has a number of regulations, policies and guidelines governing the use of their water, sewer and storm drain systems. If you are planning new construction, renovating one of Boston’s historic properties or any work on the water, sewer or storm water systems, you must familiarize yourself with these regulations, policies and guidelines. Below is a listing of these documents with links for downloading:
Governs the use of the public and private water facilities in the City of Boston. The purpose of these regulations is to protect public health, safety and welfare and to ensure proper and safe operation of BWSC’s water distribution facilities. The regulations are divided into 9 Articles/Chapters as follows: Import of Regulations, General Provisions and Definitions; Use of Water and Water facilities; Water Service; Private Fire Protection; Cross Connections; Private Wells; Enforcement; Appellate Procedures; Import and Adoption.
Read about the Boston Public Health Commission's regulations regarding the industrial, irrigation, geothermal, and human consumption water wells, as amended on October 17, 2013.
Governs the use of the public and private sewers and storm drains in the City of Boston. The purpose of these regulations is to protect public health, safety and welfare as well as to protect the environment. The regulations are divided into 9 Articles/Chapters as follows: Import of Regulations, General Provisions and Definitions; Use of Sewers; Building Sewers, Storm Drains, Connections and Appurtenances; Requirements for Design and Construction of Facilities; Discharge requirements, Prohibitions and Restrictions; Industrial Discharge and Pretreatment; Enforcement; Adoption; Penalties.
Outlines commonly used technical specifications for water and wastewater construction. Specifications for specialty construction are available upon request through BWSC’s Engineering Department. Please note that these specifications are updated on a regular basis. If you have any questions, contact the Engineering Department at 617-989-7000.
Provides the most commonly used standard details for BWSC’s water and wastewater projects. Other standard details are available upon request from the Engineering Department. Please note that the standard details are updated on a regular basis. In addition, this section contains a Site Plan Review Checklist for your use. If you have any questions, contact the Engineering Department at 617-989-7000.
Provides specific size, diameter and material requirements for water lines, sewer pipes and storm drains.
Provides information on how to determine if your proposed project is located within the District as well as complying with the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s (BRA) Article 32. Although BRA oversees the Groundwater Conservation Overlay District, BWSC requires additional specific information.
Governs the requirement and installation of backwater valves in homes and businesses in low-lying areas of Boston. If a plumbing fixture in the basement lies at an elevation lower than the manhole cover of the public sewer in the street, sewage backup within the home can occur. To prevent this, a backwater valve should be installed.
Guidelines for installing a Backflow Prevention Device that protects drinking water from contamination.
Provides the procedures for residential properties on public ways or private ways, which are open to public use or travel, but are not connected to BWSC’s sewerage system, to connect to the system. In addition, the policy also allows residential properties on private ways whose connection to BWSC’s sewerage system is in a state of disrepair or inadequate to be repaired or made adequate. The policy is divided into four Sections as follows: Definitions; Areas of Responsibilities; Procedure for Approval of Betterments; and Financing the Project.
Requirements for commercial kitchen grease traps and their usage.
Covers all billing and collection charges for water and sewer services. In addition, these regulations describe the conditions necessary for BWSC to terminate these services as well as the disputes and appeals process.
BWSC’s plan with EPA to improve Boston’s water quality, increase public awareness and protect the environment.