Does the Town test the water?
The Town of Reading is required to meet state and federal drinking water standards and test the water in accordance with those standards. Visit the Town of Reading website at http://readingma.vt-s.net or the MWRA web site at www.mwra.com for the annual water quality reports.
Does MWRA water contain lead?
MWRA water is lead-free when it leaves the reservoirs. MWRA and local distribution pipes that carry the water to your community are made mostly of iron and steel, and do not add lead to water. However, lead can get into your tap water through pipes in the home, lead solder used in plumbing, and some brass fixtures. Corrosion or wearing away of lead based materials can add lead to tap water, especially if water sits for a long time in the pipes before use.
Is drinking water the main source of lead exposure?
Lead contamination from lead-based paint, dirt, and dust accounts for most lead exposures. Lead from drinking water can make up to 20 percent of a person's total exposure to lead. The two most cost effective ways to minimize lead exposure from drinking water are to:
1) Flush the kitchen faucet for one minute in the morning or after coming home from school/work
2) Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
How is my water tested for lead?
To monitor lead levels, the Reading Water Department tests tap water in homes. But not just any homes. Under EPA regulations, homes that are likely to have high lead levels are usually older homes which may have had lead service lines or lead solder - must be tested at first flush after water has been sitting overnight. The EPA rule requires that 90% of these worst-case samples must have lead levels below the Action Level of 15 ppb.
What are the results? What levels have been found?
What can I do to reduce exposure to lead?
Be careful of places you may find lead in or near your home. Paint, soil, dust and some pottery may contain lead.
Run the tap until the water feels cold. Then fill a pitcher with water and place in refrigerator for future use.
Never use hot water from the faucet for drinking or cooking - especially when making baby formula or other food for infants.
Ask your local water department if there are any lead service pipes leading to your home.
Test your tap water. Contact MWRA for more tips and a list of certified labs.
Should I buy a water filtration system or bottled water?
Most homes in the service area do not have lead issues with their tap water. Also, simply running your tap for 30 seconds, after the water has been sitting for several hours, is usually a much cheaper and effective alternative to a filter or bottled water.
Also, some water filtration systems do not remove lead. Before you purchase a filter, you should verify the manufacturer's claim. A good resource is the National Sanitation Foundation at www.nsf.org or at 1-877-867-3435. If your water has elevated levels of lead after flushing, bottled water is an option, but it may cost as much as 1000 times more than tap water.
How do I get information about lead in my drinking water?
Contact the MWRA at 617-242-5323 or at www.mwra.com.
Contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Lead Exposure Office at 617-284-8400 or at www.state.ma.us/dph.
Contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD or on-line at www.epa.gov/lead/.
Who can I contact if I have questions about the specific water treatment techniques used in my community or if I have questions about the test results presented on this report?
The best source of information on these topics would be your local water supplier. Their staff would be the most knowledgeable source for water quality information specific to your community. They will be able to answer questions and provide you with information on local water quality conditions and the type of treatment processes used in your community, as well as how often the water supply is analyzed for specific contaminants.
Who can I contact if I have questions about government regulations of drinking water supplies or water quality in general?
If you have questions regarding the development of the MCL and MCLG levels shown on your report, you can contact the EPA's safe drinking water hotline at 1-800-426-4791. The staff at this hotline number can address questions about federal drinking water standards and provide general information on water quality in the United States.
The NSF Consumer Affairs Office can also address questions on these and other water quality topics. You can contact their Consumer Affairs Office via a toll-free consumer hotline at 1-877-867-3435 or send them an email at email@example.com.
I have a home water treatment system (or am interested in purchasing one). Where can I go for independent information on these products?
Some consumers may have issues related to the taste, odor, or presence of a particular contaminant in their drinking water supply. If you have or are considering the use of a home water treatment device, we encourage you to visit the Drinking Water Treatment section of the NSF website.
NSF is the leading independent tester of home water treatment. They evaluate hundreds of brands of water treatment devices each year to ensure they meet the design and performance requirements of national public health standards. Consumers can be confident that home water treatment devices that carry NSF certification will actually reduce the contaminants as claimed by the manufacturer on the product label. In addition, you can also be assured that the product itself is not adding harmful levels of contaminants to the water.
Unlike many other product testing programs, NSF-certified products must be re-certified each year; this allows them to assure consumers that the products they are using continue to meet the strict national standards for public health and safety.
Although they do not make product recommendations, the NSF Consumer Affairs Office is available to answer general questions regarding home water treatment products and the testing our organization performs on these devices. You can contact their Consumer Affairs Office via a toll-free consumer hotline at 1-877-867-3435 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I use a filter in my home and I have to change it more frequently than the manufacturer specifications. Why is this?
The use of filters is a personal one. Some homes may experience particular problems or specific concerns that impact their decision to use a filter. It is important to note that manufacturer specifications are based on generic conditions and are not based on actual water quality in the MWRA service area. Since MWRA is an unfiltered surface water supply, it is likely that more frequent filter changes will be required. In particular, during certain times of the year, the source water reservoirs experience algae blooms and these can result in rapid fouling of filters. Also, depending on local conditions, iron may be elevated and this will result in more rapid fouling of the filter. It is important to properly maintain your filter. To reduce required filter changes, you may want to filter only the drinking water, not all the water entering the house.
The Water System
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Frequently Asked Questions about Drinking Water
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Water Quality Test Results
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
There is a strong sewer odor in my area.
Sewer odors at catch basins can be caused by rotting leaves, low flow in an adjacent catch basin and inappropriate dumping of dog feces, oil, paint or other pollutants. Residents can help alleviate these odors by never dumping anything into a catch basin. Catch basins are installed to collect rainwater only Please call the DPW at 781-942-9092 or 781-942-9077 and leave your name, phone number and nearest address or street intersection where you smell the sewer odor.
Who should I call if I have sewage backup into my home?
If the sewer backs up (for example the toilet, sink, tub or washing machine) please call the Water & Sewer Division at 781-942-9092 Monday - Friday from 7:00 am‚ 3:00 pm. They will make sure that the problem isn't in the Town's system.
Emergency (Nights, Weekends, Holidays) Call Reading Police Department 781-944-1212. Please provide your name, address and phone number.
How much of the sewer service is the homeowner's responsibility?
The homeowner's responsibility runs from the sewer main in the street to the house.
Who do I call to repair the sewer pipe? How do I know if a sewer pipe needs to be repaired?
Please call the Water & Sewer Division first and they will help if they can. A sewer pipe must be repaired by a Licensed Drain Layer. A list of current drain layers is available at the Engineering Division Office. If the problem is in the house and needs to be repaired, the homeowner would call a plumber after calling the Water and Sewer Division.
My water bill is unusually high, what could the problem be?
There could be a leak in some water-using device in your home, such as a toilet, faucet, sprinkler system, etc. that could be causing more than the usual amount of water to be consumed. First check your water meter for a possible leak how to read your water meter. You may want to contact an experienced plumber to check your pipes and other water-using devices. Also, the bill could be applicable to the summer when water usage is naturally higher than the rest of the year. If you still have a question contact the Billing Office at (781) 942-9023
What happens if the Water & Sewer Dept. does not receive a meter reading?
If the Water & Sewer Dept. does not receive a meter reading you will be billed for estimated usage. When we do capture an actual meter reading and it results in your having been over-billed, you will receive a credit to your account. We will subtract the actual usage from the estimated usage and abate that amount. If, however, the actual meter reading results in you having been under-billed, you will then be billed for the full amount of your usage based on the actual meter reading during the next billing cycle.
I am selling my property, how do I obtain a final meter reading and Water & Sewer Bill?
Contact the Billing Office at (781) 942-9023 at least 7 days prior to the closing to schedule an appointment for Water & Sewer personnel to come to your property and conduct a final meter reading. The final meter reading will be conducted on the day prior to the closing. Final bills must be paid with Cash, Bank Check, Money Order, or Attorney's Check at the Collector's Office.
No personal checks will be accepted for final bills.
What is the penalty for not paying my Water & Sewer Bill?
If you do not pay your Water & Sewer Bill by the close of business on the 30th day, the 10% discount is lost. If you do not pay your Water & Sewer bill by the due date, interest is charged at 1.5% per month, 18% per year.
What happens if I do not pay my Water & Sewer Bill?
Interest is assessed on delinquent Water & Sewer charges. Water & Sewer charges that are more than 12 months past due will be liened to the Real Estate Tax bills on the property during the regularly scheduled assessment of Real Estate Taxes. This regular assessment usually occurs in December of each year. These amounts will then be collected in the same manner as Real Estate Taxes which includes the assessment of interest and the possibility of a Tax Taking being conducted against the property. Although appearing on the Real Estate Tax bill, these charges are not deductible as a tax expense.
What are the due dates on Water Bills?
There are 4 cycles. Listed below are the cycle billing dates. Payment is due on the 15th of the following month. The only exception is if the 15th falls on a weekend, or on a Monday holiday. In either case, payment is due on the next business day.
Cycle-1 : Quarter 1: September 10
Cycle-2 : Quarter 2: December 10
Cycle-3 : Quarter 3: March 10
Cycle-4 : Quarter 4: June 10
Please note that interest starts accruing the day after the due date, beginning with the billing date.
What if I do not receive my Water Bill?
If for some reason, you did not receive a Water Bill, call the Collector's Office, Water Department: 781-942-9023. They will send you a duplicate bill in the mail.
Under state law, failure to receive a bill does not affect the validity of the bill or any interest or fines incurred due to late payment(s). It is the responsibility of the homeowner to secure his/her water bill when one is not received.
Are you a new property owner?
If you are a new property owner, please call the Collector's Office, Water Department: 781-942-9023. We will provide information to you regarding when to expect your first Water & Sewer bill, our rates, and Storm Water fees.
Where should I mail my Water Bill payment?
Please mail payments to:
Town of Reading
16 Lowell Street
Reading, MA 01867-2601
Please make checks payable to: Town of Reading
For proper credit, write the account number on the check and enclose the top portion of your Water bill. To obtain a receipt, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope and both portions of the bill with your payment. One will be stamped paid and returned to you.
How do I change the old owner's name that appears on the Water Bill, after purchasing the property?
New owners, at the time of recording the deed, should be sure to fill out the Change of Owner and/or Address card provided with the Municipal Lien Certificate. This will change the "mail to" portion of the bill; the permanent change will take place when the Assessors Office receives the deed from the Registry of Probate.
How do I change the mailing address on my Water Bill?
Town of Reading
16 Lowell Street
Reading, MA 01867-2601
What happens if I overpay my Water Bill?
Overpayments will be applied to the next billing cycle.
How can I tell if my Water Bill is estimated?
If there is an "ES" next to the present reading, this means your water bill is estimated. Continuous estimated bills may result in a large actual bill, when the meter is finally read.
What do I do if my Water Bill is estimated?
If you find that your Water bill is estimated, please record the reading from the water meter (normally located in the basement) how to read your meter and call the Billing Department at (781) 942-9023 well before the due date. The water department will schedule an appointment to verify the read and adjust the bill. We will adjust the bill and do an abatement if the read was estimated too high. If the bill was estimated too low, the quantity is added to the next billing cycle.
The due date of your adjusted bill will not change. It will remain the same as the original water bill.
The Water Department will research the problem that caused the estimated bill, thereby ensuring accurate reads in the future.
If my condominium was a condo conversion, will I get a separate Water Bill?
No. The water/sewer bill is for all condominium units unless the plumbing was separated at the time of conversion. It is between you and all the other unit owners how the water bill charges are divided amongst yourselves. You should have a Condominium Association set up for payments such as water/sewer bills.
A trustee for the Association should be determined and the Treasurers Office notified of their name.
Only one trustee can appear on the water/sewer bill for mailing purposes.
What is the meaning of AC, ES, TE, ME printed next to the Current Meter Reading?
The code, AC, is telling you that it was an "Actual Read"
If the code was an ES it would have been an "Estimated Read"
If the code was a TE it would have been a "Telephone Read"
If the code was an ME it would have been a "Manual Read"
What must I do to renew or install a new water and sewer line and where do I go to apply for this service?
Applications for a renewal or new service for Water and Sewer lines can be obtained on the Engineering Division link under Permits and Applications.