Effective after hours Wednesday, February 28, 2024, through Monday ,March 4, 2024, BWSC will be performing scheduled maintenance on the CSS portal. Access to the portal for payments will be unavailable to users. Autopay will not be affected.
A New Approach Funding Stormwater Management
Precipitation - rain and snow melt - is essential to our lives. It replenishes our reservoirs and aquifers, beautifies our lawns and gardens. But especially in Boston's highly developed urban setting, precipitation becomes problematic when it flows as stormwater runoff over asphalt and other impervious (hard) surfaces. Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) is responsible for the vast network of catch basins and stormdrains that direct stormwater to receiving waters including Boston Harbor and the Charles, Mystic and Neponset Rivers. As we deal with such issues as climate change, rising sea levels, and the need to make our recreational waters cleaner and healthier, BWSC is compelled by federal and state regulations to take a modern approach to stormwater management as other municipalities have done.
In brief, what's BWSC's new innovative plan for stormwater management?
In early 2024 the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) will implement an expanded stormwater program that meets an elevated need for investment in stormwater infrastructure. The program will include a separate stormwater charge. The program will also allow customers the opportunity to apply for credits and grants that work to reduce stormwater runoff from their property.
Stormwater is water from rain or other precipitation. Stormwater runoff is stormwater that does not soak into the ground. Stormwater flows off hard surfaces, like streets, parking lots, construction sites, and rooftops during heavy rainstorms and when the snow melts. The water then goes into BWSC's stormwater system.
As stormwater flows over these hard surfaces, it collects trash, sediment, and pollutants like motor oil and fertilizer. Most of the City's storm drains take that water directly to our brooks and streams without treatment. The City of Boston lies within the Charles, Neponset, and Mystic River watersheds, which means that our city’s streams ultimately drain into Boston Harbor. Managing stormwater helps prevent pollution in our waterways.
Why is BWSC proposing to change how it funds stormwater services?
We have adopted a fairer way to fund improvements in BWSC’s stormwater system and ensure everyone pays for the service they use. The stormwater charge will be based on how much hard surface, like driveways and roofs, is on each property. This separate charge would be fairer because impervious area is related to each property's demand (impact) for stormwater services.
We are also lowering the sewer rate since the stormwater charge would be separate from it. This ensures we only collect the money we need to take care of each system.
Charging this way will mean that thousands of properties—like parking lots—that place a demand on the stormwater system, but don’t receive water and sewer service from BWSC, will be charged for stormwater services. BWSC notified these customers of the importance of stormwater management and their shared responsibility in supporting these critical services.
Contact us at [email protected] or call us at 617-989-7899.