How to Calculate your Water & Sewer Bill

** NOTICE ** 

Your Utility Bill has changed 

On June 30, 2022, the Board of Public Works approved a number of changes to the water, sewer and stormwater charges.   These changes went into effect on August 1, 2022.  A notice providing information about the changes was enclosed in the utility bills sent out in August 2022.  A copy of this notice can be found on the Town’s website. 

Please review this information before calling the DPW regarding your bill.  Emailing is an easy way to get your questions answered regarding the changes to your bill.      

 A summary of the changes and how they will impact your utility bill can be found below.


Water Use Charges 

The charges were increased to pay for the MassDEP required improvements to the Bemis Well Site.  The Water Treatment Plant that was constructed to remove iron and manganese cost more than $8.5M and the operational costs for the plant - chemicals, electricity, etc. – have also increased substantially.  Overall these costs represent more than a 28% increase in the Water Division budget.  Every user of the water system will see an increase in their bill.  

The primary change to the charges was in the rate structure.  The number of tiers and cost per tier were modified.  A tier provides a different charge for the amount of water used based on the total quantity of water used in cubic feet (cf).  Escalating charges are a critical component of water conservation standards.  The current table charges $0.05 per cubic foot of water for the first 800 cubic feet of water used in a billing period.  The rate increases to $0.074 per cubic foot for the next 1500 cubic feet of water used.  The former table included five tiers, which has been reduced to four tiers.   


Pre – 8/1/2022

Cost per cf

August 1, 2022 (new)

Cost per cf


0-1250 cf


0-800 cf



1251-1500 cf


801-2300 cf



1501-3000 cf


2301-5300 cf



3001-4500 cf


5301+ cf



4501+ cf





The base charge per unit remains unchanged at $30 per unit.  The number of units for each bill is derived from the Assessor’s database.  A single-family home is considered one unit, where as a duplex has two units.  A unit may be commercial, industrial, residential, etc. in nature. 


 Sewer Use Charges 

Most sewer users will see minimal changes to their sewer bill.  Low volume users may see a decrease as a result of the elimination of the minimum charge of $109.63, which was assessed regardless of the amount of sewer used.  This system was set up to ensure that the sewer department had adequate funds to operate the collection system and wastewater treatment plant.  A base charge and single tier usage charge replaces several different rate systems and tiers.  The base charge is assessed on a per unit basis (like the water base charge).  The base charge provides a minimum cost to ensure that each system user has access to the water and sewer system regardless of the usage.  The new charges are shown below.



Base Charge per Unit* per Quarter

 $                     30.00 

Consumption charge per cubic foot

 $                   0.0970 

Unmetered User Charge per Quarter

 $                   224.00 


Stormwater Charges 

Most people will not see a change to the stormwater bill.  Those living in multiple unit developments or associated with non-residential properties will see a change in the bill.


The charges for stormwater were changed to better allocate the costs incurred by the Town in the operation and maintenance of the stormwater system.  The former billing system charged a fee on a per parcel basis.  Parcels that are undeveloped no longer are charged the stormwater fee.  The charges for developed parcels were split into two types - residential and non-residential.  The residential fees are now based upon a dwelling unit.  The fee of $60 is unchanged for single-family homes.  For properties containing multiple attached units, a charge of $30 per unit was established to appropriately represent the impervious area contribution of each unit.  


Non-residential properties are assessed a fee based upon the total impervious area contained on the property.  An analysis of the impervious area for non-residential properties was conducted, which was compared to a typical single-family home.   The typical home is 3,500 square feet of impervious area, which is an “ERU” – equivalent residential unit.  A five-tier table is used that assesses the stormwater fee based upon the number of ERUs that are on the property.  The charges are primarily assessed quarterly with the other utility bills.  Properties that do not receive water or sewer services from the Town are assessed on an annual basis with the August billing.



Please review this information before calling the DPW regarding your bill.  Emailing is an easy way to get your questions answered regarding the changes to your bill.