Water Rules & Regulations

Section 2:  General Provisions

2.1       Contractual Agreement

Acceptance of service shall bind the customer to the laws, rules, regulations and policies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Town of Harwich and the Harwich Water Department, and shall form a part of the contract with every customer and shall be adhered to and govern the relations between the Department and the customer who is connected to the municipal water system and is bound hereby.

2.2       Application for Water Service

All applications for any new installations, alterations, replacements or change to water service shall be submitted for approval to the Superintendent or Superintendent’s designee to the water office by the owner of the property or their authorized agent in writing. All applications shall include an engineered plan stamped by the Board of Health locating the septic system on the property. A building permit must be acquired before a service tap can be furnished.

2.3       Ownership Responsibilities & Liability

All pipes, valves, taps and other appurtenances between the municipal water main and the curb stop up to the property line are the property and responsibility of the Department. All piping, valves, equipment and any other appurtenances “downstream” of the curb stop are the property and responsibility of the customer although such items are required to meet the standards and specifications of the Department. An exception to the above is the primary water meter, which will always be the property of the Department.

2.4       Responsibility for Charges

Customers of water shall be charged with and held responsible for all water passing through their water meter.  All charges remain with the account until paid regardless of sale.

2.5       Availability of Municipal Water

Application will be accepted for review subject to there being an existing municipal water main in a street or right-of-way abutting the premises to be served, but approval of an application shall in no way obligate the Department to extend its mains to provide water to a property.

2.6       Location, Plans and Specifications

The Department has the exclusive right as to the location of any and all water services, fire service lines, hydrants and water meters on the distribution system. Plans for said construction and or replacement shall be submitted with the application showing the curb box connection, the service line to the structure and the meter location. In the event that more than one meter is serviced by one service line, there will be a manifold used to provide a separate meter hookup for each designation. This must be provided on each preliminary plan before final approval is given.  Any service line over 100’ must have a meter pit closest to the curb stop or property line before their meter installation is approved.

2.7       Construction

Owner of property desiring construction, alterations or attachments connected with the water supply shall submit plans and specifications for the proposed work to the Superintendent for inspection and approval and for a determination as to whether the same is permissible. The Superintendent shall determine the terms, charges and conditions under which the proposed use shall be permitted.

2.8       Private Wells

All private wells used for irrigation shall not be connected to the Harwich water system or domestic plumbing at any time.  Should any violation be noted, the Department reserves the right to shut the water off until the situation is resolved and all fees have been paid.

2.9       Right of Entry

Owner or occupants of any premises served by the Harwich water system shall, upon presentation by Department personnel of their credentials, authorize entry to their premises without a warrant for the purpose of inspecting and surveying their water system for new installation, cross connection, leak detection or to remove, repair, read or replace the water meter at any time the department deems necessary. When such access is refused, the water shall be shut off and shall not be turned on until such access has been allowed and fees have been paid.

2.10     Fires

In the event of a large fire all customers shall curtail the use of water in the affected area.

2.11     Conditions under Which Service is Furnished

The Town does not guarantee constant pressure or uninterrupted service, nor does it assure the customer either a full volume of water or the required pressure necessary to effectively operate hydraulic elevators, sprinkler systems or other appliances, the same being subject to all the variable conditions that occur in the supply of water from the Town’s water system.

2.12     No Liability for Interruption of Service

No customer shall be entitled to damages or to have payment refunded for any interruption of supply, occasioned by accident to any portion of the works, by shutting off for the purpose of additions or repairs to the works or by the stoppage or shortage of supply due to causes beyond the control of the Department, such as excessive drought, excessive use of and waste of water by customers or by leaks or defects in the pipes or appliances owned by customer or other customers.

2.13     No Liability for Dirty Water

The Town shall not be responsible for damages caused by dirty water resulting from opening or closing of any gate, use of any hydrant, the breaking of any pipe, or maintenance of the water system.

2.14     No Liability for Customer’s Pipes

The Town assumes no liability for conditions, which exist in customer’s pipes and cause trouble coincident with or following the repairs of any main, service pipe, meter or other appliances belonging to the Department.

2.15     No Liability for Collapsed Boilers, Etc.

The Department reserves the right at any time and without notice to shut off the water in mains for the purposes of making repairs, extensions or for other necessary purposes. Customers having boilers or other appliances on their premises depending on the pressure in pipes to keep them supplied with water are hereby CAUTIONED against danger from these sources and are required to provide, at their own expense, suitable safety appliances to protect themselves against such danger as per Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations 310 CMR 22.22. In any event, it is expressly stipulated that the Department will not be liable for any damage resulting from water having been shut off either through accident or necessity.

2.16     No Liability for Shutting Off Water without Notice

When it becomes necessary to shut off the water from any Section of the Town because of an accident or for the purpose of making changes or repairs, the Department shall endeavor to give timely notice to as many customers affected thereby as time and the character of the repairs or the accident will permit and shall, so far as practical, use its best efforts to prevent inconvenience and damage arising from any such cause. However, failure to give such notice shall not render the Department responsible or liable for any damages that may result from the shutting off of the water or any coincident conditions.

2.17     Restriction of Water Use

The Department reserves the right in periods of declared drought or emergencies or when, by Declaration of a State of Water Emergency under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 21G are deemed essential to the protection of the public health, safety and welfare, to restrict water supply for secondary or non-essential purposes such as watering of lawns and gardens (either by hand or sprinkler) and vehicle washing (EXCEPT for sanitary purposes such as rubbish trucks). The Department shall have the right to fix the hours and periods when water may be used for such purposes. Any such restrictions will be promulgated by means of Special Water Regulations or By-Laws adopted by the Harwich Board of Water/Wastewater Commissioners. During this time the filling of swimming pools, hydro seeding, soaker hoses and power washing are strictly prohibited. 

2.18     Easements

In any case where an existing municipal water main or appurtenances are located on private property and a recorded easement does not exist, an implied easement is deemed to exist with the same force and effect as a recorded one.

2.19     Liability for Freeze Ups

It is the responsibility of all water service customers to ensure that all plumbing, fixtures, meters and appliances are protected from freezing. The customer shall make any repairs, which may be necessary to prevent leaks and damage. Neither the Town nor the Department shall be held responsible for loss or damage to any plumbing, fixtures, meters or appliances due to freezing and any repairs to same made by the Department shall be paid for by the customer.