Water Rules & Regulations

Section 5:  Service, Pipes and Fixtures

5.1       Service Pipes

Customers must keep their water pipes and fixtures in good repair and protected from freezing temperatures at their own expense. They shall be held responsible for any damage resulting from their failure to do so. They shall prevent any waste of water.

5.2       Joint Use of Pipes or Trenches

Water service pipes will NOT under any circumstances be placed in the same trench with other pipes, conduits or similar structures such as gas lines, electrical conduit, sewer pipe, etc.

5.3       Portion of Service Pipe Furnished by Water Department

New service connections shall be made by the Department and brought to the meter.  The Customer shall be charged the current rate for tapping and connection fees.

5.4       Right to Repair and Replace Service Pipes

The pipe from the property line to the meter is the responsibility of the customer and all the repairs to the same shall be made at customer’s expense unless covered by the Service Tight Protection plan.  All service pipes between the street line and the meter must be repaired or replaced by the Department when it deems it necessary for the protection of the supply or the supplying of satisfactory water service. The cost shall be charged to the customer. The Department also reserves the right to assess the condition of “owner responsibility” service piping, valves, etc. on a periodic basis in order to determine the functional and physical adequacy of the stated appurtenance and, if such is determined to be inadequate, the Water Superintendent may order the owner to replace such at the owner’s expense. Failure to take corrective actions as prescribed by the Superintendent will be cause for termination of water service to those premises. In addition, each customer of water furnished by the Department shall be responsible in case of a break or a leak in the service pipe for both water loss and cost of repairs. Costs will be actual or estimated as determined by the Department.

5.5       Temporary Service from Adjacent Premises

When permission to open a permanently paved street is refused by the Highway Department or when, for any physical reason, it is impossible to open a street and the applicant requests that water be furnished temporarily from an adjacent service, the same may be done at the expense of the customer if approved by the Superintendent.

5.6       Materials on Private Premises

All fittings supplied by the Department to the customer shall be billed to the customer.

5.7       Irregular Service

Services that are not used for permanent and or habitable structures must be approved by the Department before any use is allowed.  

5.8       One Service to Each Unit

The Department will only allow one (1) service connection per unit. A meter shall be placed in each individual unit located in a building. This includes all commercial or industrial buildings, new Condos and Town Houses.

5.9       Requests for Turning On or Shutting Off Water

Requests for turning on or shutting off a water service for repairs shall be made during normal business hours, except in case of an emergency.  Customers shall be charged for turn on and turn off of each such service. Only Department personnel shall open and or close curb stops.    Should the customer require after hour turn on or turn off, they shall be billed at the overtime rate.  The Department shall not be held responsible for or perform any work downstream of meter. 

5.10     Seasonal Service

All seasonal service requests for water turn on or shut off will require a two-week notice for completion (the two-week notice begins in advance of water turn on request date and for shut off requests, the two-week window begins after the property has been drained) and will be done between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except for emergencies.  All prior bills, charges, fees and liens must be paid in full prior to service being activated. If a seasonal customer fails to schedule their 2-week notice and wishes to pay the out of rotation fee, they shall be billed at the overtime rate. See applicable Rates and Fees.  The owner shall be responsible for having the service properly winterized prior to scheduling the water to be shut off by the Department.

5.11     No Pipes Furnished in Winter

No new water mains shall be installed from November 15th through March 15th unless weather permits. The only other exception allowed are circumstances deemed an emergency. Applications must be received by November 1st for installation by November 15th.  Installation of services beyond the end of an existing water main shall not be allowed. The main must be extended (including necessary hydrants and appurtenances) to the furthest limit of the customer’s property at their expense. Water mains shall be looped when required by the Superintendent.

5.12     Service Pipe Trenches

Service pipes shall not be placed within 10 feet of any other utilities, except under special conditions and with the approval of the Superintendent. The Department shall not be responsible for damage to other utilities laid within 10 feet of a water service or water main.

5.13     Standby Fire Protection

Customers desiring standby fire protection must submit a water service application to the Department. The Department shall furnish water for a fire protection service in accordance with the specifications for that sprinkler system. All equipment for this purpose shall be installed entirely at the expense of the customer and with the approval of the Superintendent. Such pipes shall not be used for supplying water for any other purpose than the fire system. The fire system must be arranged so that Department personnel can make easy inspection. Whenever it is considered necessary for the protection of the water supply and in the interest of the Town, the Superintendent shall have the right to require the installation of meters, alarms, backflow devices or other accessories. The installation and upkeep of such equipment shall be done so at the customer’s expense. All installations and testing must be completed in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws.

5.14     Water Supply Availability

The Department shall make the determination as to the availability of adequate water supply for such services. The Department shall not bear responsibility to extend existing water mains in order to provide adequate water supply for such service. No fire service connection shall be less than a six (6) inch diameter and shall not be used for anything other than fire protection.

No water shall be taken or used through private fire systems for the purpose of testing unless the Superintendent issues written permission. Such test must be conducted under the supervision of the Department.

5.15     No Right to Furnish Water to Others

A customer shall not be permitted to supply the premises of another person with water, except in special emergencies and then only with the approval of the Superintendent.

5.16     Use of Fire Hydrants

The use of all fire hydrants is restricted to employees of the Water Department or by persons given specific authorization by the Water Department. During emergencies members of the Fire Department of the Town of Harwich and or other towns lending mutual aid are authorized to operate fire hydrants.  In the event that a hydrant is to be used for any other purpose, the Department must be notified and a hydrant meter installed. If the hydrant meter is needed longer than a 24-hour period during frigid weather, the Superintendent or his/her acting agent may require the removal and reinstallation of the meter in order to protect it from freezing.  All labor and usage charges incurred from the use of the hydrant, are the responsibility of the requesting party. Hydrants are not to be used to fill swimming pools.  Any unauthorized use of fire hydrants without written permission of the Harwich Water Department will result in a $1,000.00 Fine.

5.17     Cross Connection Control

If, in the opinion of the Superintendent, the installation of an approved backflow preventer (s) on the property side of a meter is considered necessary for the safety of the water system, such approved device(s) shall be immediately installed at the expense of the customer after due notice in writing has been given to the customer by the Superintendent. Said device(s) shall be installed and tested in accordance with the drinking water regulations of Massachusetts, 310 CMR 22.22. All tests shall be performed by the Department or agent and shall be charged as set forth in § 8. Failure to install or properly maintain a Department approved device, may result in the water being shut off to the property until compliance requirements are met. In addition, all private water lines running below grade shall be fit with a testable backflow device.