Frequently Asked Questions and General Information

Find answers to our most frequently asked questions  and learn more about the following topics by scrolling down the page. If you have trouble finding an answer to your question, or you have a more detailed inquiry, feel free to contact us-see the Commissioner and Staff page for detailed information on who to contact.


 

Where does our water come from?

The District’s water supply is groundwater. We have fourteen wells, six in Westwood and eight in Dedham. We also have an emergency connections with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the City of Boston and the Towns of Norwood and Needham. We also have the ability to purchase water from the MWRA on a routine basis, up to 73 million gallons annually.

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How is our water treated?

The District has two water treatment plants where water from all of its regularly pumped wells is filtered. Chlorine is added for disinfection, fluoride is added for preventing tooth decay, and iron and manganese (naturally occurring minerals found in New England groundwater) are removed. The pH and alkalinity are adjusted to neutralize the  slightly acidic characteristics of the groundwater so that it is less corrosive to piping and plumbing. Numerous tests are performed, ranging from continuously, for monitoring pH and other treatment plant performance indicators, while other parameters are analyzed daily, weekly, quarterly or annually depending on regulatory requirements.

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I have received a water bill that is higher than normal. What should I do?

The first thing to do is to request a meter reading to verify that the bill is correct or you can check the meter yourself if you wish. If the reading is correct and no other changes have occurred in the household, you probably have a leak. Most often, higher than normal readings are caused by toilets running due to an incomplete seal in the back of the toilet. This type of leak may be intermittent and it may not be audible. It  can often be corrected by the homeowner replacing the rubber seal and ball or may require a plumber. Leak detection tablets for toilet leaks are available at the office. Be aware that Water District regulations do not allow for abatements for leaks.

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Why do we have water restrictions?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has strict regulations on water withdrawals by Public Water Suppliers and other large water users such as farmers and golf course operators. Newer sources of water can be used only when nearby river flows are over a certain threshold. Sometimes this means that when the water demand is highest, there is less available to use. We are also obligated to carry out a multi faceted water conservation program to encourage and assist our customers to reduce their usage as well as minimize the leakage on the underground water system piping.

Our water system currently has the capacity to pump and treat about seven million gallons of water per day. Since the average daily use is about 4.25 million, the District has more than adequate supply for most of the year. However, during the summer, demand may meet or exceed the system’s capacity which then must be replenished by rainfall events to maintain well levels.  Also, water is stored in large storage tanks throughout the towns which must be kept as full as possible for health and safety (fire fighting) reasons. Excessive outdoor use during these times can impact the ability to provide these safeguards.

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How is the Water District planning for the future?

Although a consultant’s report indicates adequate supply to meet anticipated growth through 2023, water use trends are frequently reassessed. The Commonwealth reviews and modifies Public Water Supply water withdrawal permits every five years. If certain benchmarks are not met, the amount of water we are allowed to withdraw from the Charles and Neponset River Basins be reduced. For example, if the average residential water consumer uses more than 65 gallons each day, the withdrawal permit may be made more stringent. Similarly, if the amount of water lost through leakage of underground water piping exceeds 10%, the water withdrawal permit can be impacted.  Through a combination of measures such as pubic education and outdoor water use restrictions, we maintain water withdrawal below permit limits or face heavy financial penalties! The  District is now a member of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority and has the ability to purchase additional water when needed. These purchases are not subject to the same limitations as the water sources located in the metro Boston areas including Dedham and Westwood but is much costlier than water we pump and treat locally.

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I have a leak on my service line. Will the Water District fix it?

The Water District is only responsible for repairs and replacements of water mains in the street, the connection from the main to the shutoff valve (usually at the property line), and meters and remote reading devices. The customer is responsible for the service line from the shutoff valve to the home or business, all plumbing on private property, the meter pit if your meter is located outside in the ground, and repairs to frozen meters where adequate protection was not supplied.

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I’m selling my house and moving soon. What should I do?

To arrange for a final water bill, make sure that you schedule a meter reading by calling us at 781-329-7090 at least two days before the closing. The District requires 24 hours notice and you will need to take your final water reading to your sewer department (if you are on sewer) for a final sewer bill.

Dedham Residents can bring, fax, or email their final water readings to the Collector’s office at Town Hall at least 24 hours prior to needing it. The email address is [email protected]; the telephone number is 781-751-9160; and the fax number is 781-751-9159.

Westwood Residents should contact 781-251-2589 or [email protected]) after they make arrangements for their final water read (I need to check to see if they have a 2nd meter and make arrangements for that to be read), and then they should bring their final water bill to the Westwood Public Works Office at 50 Carby St between the hours of 7:30 – 2:30 for their final sewer bill.

 

Estimated Bill

Call in a meter reading, make an appointment to schedule a reading or have a remote reader installed.

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Discolored Water

Occasionally a disturbance in the mains may cause discolored water.  Run your cold water for several minutes until the water clears.  If the problem continues, contact us.

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Leak in your House

Shut off the water at your inside valve, usually located near the meter.  If the valve does not operate, contact us to have the water shut off at the curb box. You or your plumber are not allowed to operate the curb box valve.

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Low Pressure

If the pressure is low throughout your home or business, contact us.  If it is low only in certain areas of your building, call a plumber.

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Vacant House

If your home of building will be vacant for an extended period of time and is not dependent on water for the heating system, you may contact us to temporarily discontinue service.  (Please remember that if you do not intend to heat your home in your absence, you must have a plumber winterize the property.)

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Water Bubbling Up

Contact us.  If the break is on your service line, we will shut off your water so that your plumber can make repairs.  If the break is on the District’s equipment, we appreciate knowing this so repairs can be made as soon as possible.

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