Water Rules & Regulations

Section 3:  Charges

3.1       Establishment of Rates

Rates chargeable for water and payable by the customer shall be determined by the Harwich Board of Water/Wastewater Commissioners as instructed under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 41 § 69B.

3.2       Bills Payable

Bills for water service are due and payable upon issuance of the bill. The failure of the customer or his/her agent to receive notice of their water bill or other related charges does not relieve them from the obligation for payment or from the consequences of nonpayment. All charges are due and payable upon issuance of billing and are past due THIRTY (30) DAYS after the date of the billing. The records of water supplied in the Department shall be sufficient basis for billing and to commence action for nonpayment against present and or consequent owners of record.

3.3       Overdue Charges

Any overdue charge including late fees or interest charges may be collected by any legal means, including a lien on the property or shutting off the water service as an action of contract as provided under the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40 § 42A-42F.

3.4       Payment Plans

If a payment plan is requested, the account must not be in arrears by more than two billing periods.  If a payment plan is requested after the original billing due date, a late penalty will be assessed to the account.  If the terms of the payment plan agreement are not kept, the plan becomes void.

3.5       Shut-Off for Non-Payment

The Water Department may shut off the flow of water to a property if the water customer has failed or refused to pay the lawful charges associated with the account.  A water shut-off notice will be issued by means of a notice card left at the property and or by certified postal mail directed to the last address furnished to the department giving at least 36 business hours’ notice as required by law.  If the full balance is not paid within the 36 business hours, the water service may be terminated by department personnel between the hours of eight anti meridian and four post meridian, Monday through Friday.  After the service has been shut off, the account will be assessed a reconnection fee to have the water reinstated and any associated administrative costs.

The balance must be paid in full before the water service can be reinstated.  If the turn on is requested after regular operating hours, the after-hours rate will be assessed and the balance is to be paid no later than the next business day.  If the water cannot be turned off due to special circumstances, a lien will be placed against the property.  The property owner or tenant may at any time appear before the Board of Water/Wastewater Commissioners.  The property owner may also appeal a Board’s decision to the Appellate Tax Board within three months of the date hereof pursuant to the provisions of G. L. c. 59, §§ 64 to 65B, inclusive.

3.6       Collection of Miscellaneous Water Charges

All department services and materials rendered at a property shall be subject to the same conditions as charges for water.

3.7       Delinquent Accounts

No person who owes an overdue bill shall be entitled to further use of water or services at the same or any other premises until such charges are paid in full, together with any associated fees.

3.8       Claims for Adjustments on Bills

All claims for adjustments of water bills shall be made within thirty (30) days of the billing due date.  Abatements will be made for clerical errors, misreads or failure of Department equipment.  Abatements will not be issued for water leaks or high consumption, unless otherwise determined by the Board of Water/Wastewater Commissioners.

When determining abatements for domestic water leaks (excluding irrigation leaks), usage from three similar usage quarters can be averaged and any usage above may be considered for adjustment at the first-tier rate as a one-time disaster forgiveness occurrence.

3.9       All Water to be Metered and to be Paid

All water must be metered and paid for whether used or wasted. A minimum charge shall be assessed for water service from the date the water is connected to the town water supply, unless otherwise determined by the Board of Water/Wastewater Commissioners.

3.10     Leaks

The Department shall have the right to shut off water supplied to any property where a leak exists or is believed to exist. Any such leaks must be repaired and must pass inspection by the Department before water will be restored. In addition, each customer shall be responsible for the cost of any repairs to any private portions of the water system as well as the cost of water. 

3.11     Service Tap Renewals or Replacements

In the event a new service tap is required or requested it shall be considered a service renewal using the existing main tap.  If a new main tap is needed, applicable charges will apply.