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Effective December 21, 2021: In response to the spread of the Delta variant and the emerging Omicron variant, the Department of Public Health now advises that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home). The DPH particularly urges this recommendation if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
For more information, please visit the COVID-19 Mask Requirements page provided by the Massachusetts government website.
Town of Reading Board of Health requires wearing masks in public indoor settings and encouraging vaccination.
For more information, please visit the COVID-19 Mask Requirements page provided by the Massachusetts government website.
View more information about The Science of Masking to Control COVID-19 (PDF)
Masks are widely available in stores.
No. This is a medical exemption.
Face mask use requirements for children are as follows:
View the Mask Usage in Early Education and Care (EEC) Child Care Programs page provided by the Massachusetts government website.
A greenhouse is a structure, usually made of glass, in which temperature and humidity can be controlled for the cultivation or protection of plants. A greenhouse is designed to trap heat from the sun's rays inside and acts to keep the plants inside warm, even when it is cold outside. Although the Earth does not have a layer of clear material over it, certain molecules in our atmosphere absorb the Earth's heat, basically trapping some of that energy. This is called the greenhouse effect, and the molecules that trap the heat are called greenhouse gases.
Even though greenhouse gases don't make a hard surface like the glass of a greenhouse, but because they have a similar effect in keeping our planet warm, the term "Greenhouse Effect" is a good description. The greenhouse effect keeps the temperatures on our planet mild and suitable for living things.
Greenhouse gases (GHG) include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases. These molecules in our atmosphere are called greenhouse gases because they absorb heat. There may not be much of some of these gases in our atmosphere, but they can have a big impact. These molecules eventually release the heat energy and it is often absorbed by another greenhouse gas molecule.
More technically: Greenhouse gases effectively absorb thermal infrared radiation, emitted by the Earth's surface, by the atmosphere itself due to the same gases, and by clouds. Atmospheric radiation is emitted to all sides, including downward to the Earth's surface. Thus, greenhouse gases trap heat within the surface-troposphere system. This is called the greenhouse effect. (Definition courtesy of IPCC AR4.)
Without its atmosphere and the greenhouse effect, the average temperature at the surface of the Earth would be zero degrees Fahrenheit. However, too many greenhouse gases can cause the temperature to increase out of control. Such is the case on Venus where greenhouse gases are abundant and the average temperature at the surface is more than 855 degrees Fahrenheit (457 degrees Celsius).
You might hear people talking about the greenhouse effect as if it is a bad thing. It is not a bad thing, but people are concerned because Earth's 'greenhouse' is warming up very rapidly. This is happening because we are currently adding more greenhouse gases to our atmosphere, causing an increased greenhouse effect. The increased greenhouse effect is causing changes in our planet that can affect our lives.
The major Greenhouse Gas, carbon dioxide, emitted naturally and by the burning of fossil fuels, stays in the atmosphere for a long time. Its warming effect occurs even when the sky is clear and dry. Climate scientists are so concerned about carbon dioxide because the more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the hotter the earth will become, changing the Earth's climate. The result is called Global Warming because on average, the Earth and our oceans are warming up, and the climate is changing as the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to build up.
Scientists have known and understood this for over 100 years, and it has been confirmed by measurements and in laboratory experiments. There is no doubt about the basic science behind global warming.
Greenhouse gases are most frequently measured and described in terms of the most common greenhouse gas, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), often called Carbon Dioxide Equivalents (COe2). The amount of greenhouse gases that each one of us is responsible for emitting each year is described as our Carbon Footprint. Our modern way of life relies heavily on the emission of carbon. When we think about this, we often limit ourselves to considering the use of automobiles and trucks and a few industrial processes. We understand that when we burn the gasoline in our engines, we are oxidizing the fuel and creating carbon dioxide.
However, there are other activities in our life that also contribute to COe2 emissions even though we do not see the oxidation. When we use electricity, we are also emitting carbon dioxide. The majority of the electricity created in the U.S. is derived from burning natural gas or coal. We also emit CO2 when we heat our homes since this requires the use of electricity or the burning of natural gas, propane, heating oil, or wood.
The processes involved in growing the food we eat, and transporting it to our stores and then to our homes, also produce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. Even our creation of waste and garbage results in greenhouse gas emissions. If this garbage is put into a landfill, it decays and puts CO2 and methane (CH4) back into the atmosphere. If it is burned in an incinerator, it emits CO2 as a product of combustion. If it is recycled, the energy of some form will be used to accomplish this, emitting COe2 in the process.
(Much of the above information on greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide emissions is courtesy of National Center for Atmospheric Research webpages)
To answer this question of how much carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere through your activities, you can calculate your carbon footprint by using an online Carbon Footprint Calculator (see below for description and examples). These calculators add up the carbon dioxide produced by your different personal activities and provide you with an estimate of your annual carbon dioxide emissions.
Carbon calculators will first ask where you live, because certain emissions are related to where you live - particularly in terms of what mix of fossil fuels are used to generate your electricity. There are two major ways that carbon calculators make the calculation of your carbon footprint, either:
The variety of calculators provides more or less accuracy depending on the detail they use and what they consider. One major difference in calculators is that some do not include activities that may have a large impact on your carbon footprint, such as eating habits (whether you eat much meat - the production of meat has a high carbon footprint) or whether you travel by airplane (traveling by plane has a high carbon footprint).
Here are several free internet-based carbon footprint calculators:
I. The Environmental Protection Agency has an explanation and a calculator from their webpage. View that calculator. EPA offers a calculation based on your own household data, so you need to do some up front data gathering. View how they begin on the Carbon Footprint Calculator page
1. To get the most accurate results, gather your recent electric, gas, and/or oil bills so you can use real numbers for your household's energy consumption. Remember that your energy bills vary by season, so use an average of winter and summer values if you can.
2. Allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes to enter the data.
3. After entering data, use the TAB key to continue moving through each section of the calculator. When you get to the end of a section, click "Next Section" to move on.
4. Visit the What You Can Do section of the climate change website to learn about other actions you can take to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions."
EPA's calculator does not ask about travel habits (such as flying) nor food and diet, which many other calculators use. EPAs webpages do provide some tips on things you can do to reduce your emissions.
II. An organization indicating it is the web's leading carbon footprint calculator can be found by visiting the Carbon Footprint website.
This calculator uses factors sourced from a diverse group of references including the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK Vehicle Certification Agency, World Resource Institute, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, Australia Green House Office, and Canada Standards Association GHG Registries.
Choosing your country allows you to compare your carbon footprint with the average person in your country, and also sets up the units used in the calculator. The accuracy of electricity generation emissions, and gas and electricity prices, depends on where you live.
This calculator uses your home heating and electricity data, air travel information, car, motorbike, bus, and rail travel habits, and includes a category for secondary information. The secondary information gives some insight into lifestyle choices that can make a difference including food preferences, furniture, fashion, packaging, recycling, recreation, car manufacture, and finance.
The results page for this website includes a comparison to world averages, an option to buy carbon offsets (see below for a description of carbon offsets) and a link to a webpage offering some tips to reduce your carbon footprint.
III. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has a carbon footprint calculator that can be viewed on the Nature Conservancy website.
The Nature Conservancy carbon footprint calculator is one that is mainly based on averages. Questions include the number of people in your home, and information on: where you live and home energy, driving and flying, foot and diet, and recycling and waste habits. This is a very simple calculator that estimates your emissions. The Nature Conservancy also offers you the opportunity to buy offsets (see below for a description of carbon offsets)
TNC notes: "Inevitably, in going about our daily lives - commuting, sheltering our families, eating - each of us contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Yet, there are many things each of us, as individuals, can do to reduce our carbon emissions. The choices we make in our homes, our travel, the food we eat, and what we buy and throw away all influence our carbon footprint and can help ensure a stable climate for future generations."
Carbon offsets are voluntary programs that consumers can buy into to help reduce the buildup of carbon pollution that is causing climate change. When you know how much you are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (see carbon footprint above), you can opt to buy credits to offset those emissions. The major criticism of carbon offsets is that because carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are so long-lived in the atmosphere, if you somehow pay for something that will offset your emissions, it must last at least 100 years.
Carbon Offset opportunities include renewable energy projects, forest carbon sequestration projects, projects that donate to efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels or reduce the rate of deforestation, and the like. Such programs vary greatly in terms of their methodologies and offerings.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) offers the following list of important considerations that they use for their offset program. TNC's program is forest-based but the principles include good considerations. Any project offered by TNC must address certain issues, including:
However, it is far better to do everything possible to reduce your emissions than to purchase carbon offsets in the hope that you can mitigate emissions that will persist a hundred years or more.
This information comes from the Nature Conservancy website.
Wetlands are areas where groundwater is at or near the surface. They may appear dry during the summer and fall, but they contain enough water to support plants that are adapted to grow in wetlands such as red maples, skunk cabbage, cattails, reeds, and sensitive ferns. Wetlands include ponds and streams, forested swamps, open marshes, wet meadows, bogs, and floodplains. They also include vernal pools, which are temporary ponds that form in winter and spring, and dry out in summer.
During storms, wetlands hold water, preventing flooding and erosion. During the dry season, they release stored water to keep stream and ponds flowing. The soils and plants in wetlands remove pollutants to keep our water clean. Wetlands provide food, shelter, breeding, and migratory habitat for fish and wildlife.
Wetlands are protected by the Federal Clean Water Act, the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Massachusetts Rivers Protection Act, and the Wetlands Protection Section of the Reading General Bylaws. In Reading, these laws are administered by the Conservation Commission.
There are also special provisions for wetlands in laws pertaining to drinking water supplies, endangered species habitat, hazardous materials, solid wastes, pesticide application, mosquito control, building codes, and other matters. The Conservation Commission works in partnership with the boards and officials who administer these related laws.
Look for low areas where water sits on the surface for several days after a storm, or for longer periods during the spring and early summer. Adjacent to these areas, look for areas where the soils are saturated with water and muddy underfoot.
Look for common wetlands plants - red maple, American elm, river birch, silver maple, weeping willow, skunk cabbage, ferns and mosses, cattails, reeds and rushes, highbush blueberry, sweet pepperbush, alders, and willows.
Look for thick, dark, organic soils.
Permits are required for any activity that will alter wetlands, floodplains, riverfront areas (land within 200 feet of any stream or river that flows all year long), and land within 100 feet of wetlands, commonly called the "buffer zone."
Activities that typically require permits include clearing of vegetation, tree cutting, grading and filling, constructing and demolishing structures, paving, and other work that will alter vegetation, soils, topography, or storm water runoff characteristics.
Projects that require permits run from small projects such as fences, tree-cutting, decks, and sheds, to major projects such as additions, new houses, subdivisions, and commercial/industrial projects. The trigger is their location in or near wetlands.
Permits may also be used to confirm wetlands boundaries, as a preliminary step before design work.
The type of permit depends on the size of the project and its proximity to the wetlands.
Minor Project Permits (MP) may be used for paths, fences, stone walls, limited tree cutting, conversion of existing developed areas to vegetated areas, small residential projects (decks, sheds, above-ground pools, small porches, and patios), and for preliminary planning work (soils tests and borings, surveying, and monitoring well installation). Such work must meet minimum setback standards (35-50 feet from wetlands, 100 feet from vernal pools, 100 feet from streams and rivers, and outside of floodplains). View further information about the MP application process.
A Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) may be used for a basic determination whether wetlands are present on a site, and for permitting relatively small projects located towards the outer edge of the 100-foot buffer zone and well away from the wetlands. They may occasionally be appropriate for a small project located towards the outer edge of the 200-foot riverfront area. Small projects might be additions to houses or other buildings, landscaping projects that require grading and soil stabilization, or large sheds, porches and decks that do not meet the dimensional requirements of Minor Project Permits. The resulting permit issued by the Conservation Commission is called a Determination of Applicability. Access further information about the RDA application process.
A Notice of Intent (NOI) is used for larger projects and for all projects located close to or within wetlands. The resulting permit issued by the Conservation Commission is called an Order of Conditions. View further information about the NOI application process.
An Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation (ANRAD) is used to confirm wetlands boundaries before work is proposed, in order to assure that the design is based on a complete and accurate depiction of all wetlands resource areas present on a site. This is most often used to prepare for subdivisions, multi-family housing, and commercial or industrial projects. Wetlands boundaries will be confirmed under a Notice of Intent if an ANRAD has not been submitted already. The resulting permit issued by the Conservation Commission is called an Order of Resource Area Delineation. Read over further information about the ANRAD application process.
The Commission and/or Administrator will meet with the contractor before work begins to review the conditions of the permit. They will make periodic inspections during work to assure that the conditions of the permit are met. They will make a final inspection before closing the file. If questions arise as work proceeds, they will work with the applicant to find solutions.
Contact the Conservation Administrator, Reading Town Hall, at 781-942-6616 or via our contact form.
Go back to the Conservation Division page and follow the links to state and town wetlands laws and regulations, maps, forms, permit application checklists, websites for Mass. Department of Environmental Protection and Mass. Association of Conservation Commissions, and other pertinent information.
Submit the following to the Conservation Administrator at Town Hall:
Upon receipt of these application materials, the Administrator will schedule a site inspection to assure that the work is located with proper setbacks from the wetlands and can be carried out without harm to the wetlands. If so, the Administrator will issue the Permit. If not, the Administrator will work with the applicant to modify the design as appropriate.
Minor Projects do not require public notice or public hearings, but the Conservation Commission will review and ratify the Permit during their next regular meeting.
Minor Project Permits are good for three years, but may not be revised or extended.
Upon completion of work, the applicant requests a final inspection by the Conservation Commission. If the Commission is satisfied with the work, they will issue a letter closing the file.
View the RDA checklist (PDF) for a complete description of application requirements.
Several weeks before the application: obtain a list of abutters from the Assessor's office in Town Hall; fill out the RDA application form; and prepare site plans and other supporting materials.
Submit the application materials to the Conservation office in Town Hall two weeks before a regular Commission meeting date. (View the Meeting Dates (PDF)) Also, send a copy to DEP Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington.
Upon receipt of the application materials, the Commission and Administrator will schedule site inspections, mail the legal notice to the abutters, publish the legal notice in the newspaper, and place the matter on their next agenda.
The Commission will issue a Determination of Applicability within 21 days of receipt of the RDA. They may confirm whether wetlands are or are not present. They may determine that proposed work will require a Notice of Intent, or they may determine that work may proceed provided that certain basic conditions are met (erosion control, site stabilization, etc.)
A Determination is valid for three years. It may not be revised or extended.
Several weeks before the application: obtain a list of abutters from the Assessor's office in Town Hall; fill out the Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Determination (ANRAD) application form; and prepare site plans and other supporting materials. Wetlands boundaries should be marked by a professional wetlands scientist, and the scientist should provide a report describing the basis for the delineations. Site plans must be surveyed by a Professional Land Surveyor.
Submit the application materials to the Conservation office in Town Hall two weeks before a regular Commission meeting date. (View 2015 Meeting Dates (PDF)). Also, send a copy to DEP Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington, and submit the State filing fee to DEP.
Upon receipt of the application materials, the Commission and Administrator will schedule site inspections, mail the legal notice to the abutters, publish the legal notice in the newspaper, and place the matter on their next agenda for a public hearing.
After conducting the hearing, the Commission will issue an Order of Resource Area Delineation (ORAD). At a minimum, the process takes about 4 weeks from submittal to date of issue. The ORAD will include findings concerning the types of wetlands present on the site and the accuracy of the delineations, based on the information submitted by the applicant, observed during site inspections, and provided by other reliable sources.
If information is not sufficient for the Commission to confirm a delineation, the Commission may continue the hearing and request additional information from the applicant, or may make findings related to the incompleteness of the information. It may be particularly difficult to confirm delineations during the winter months when plants are dormant and snow hides soils and topography. Applicants are best advised to file an ANRAD between April and October.
An ORAD is valid for three years. It may not be revised or extended. If delineation is not complete in the ORAD, further boundary confirmation may occur when a Notice of Intent is filed for work on the site.
Several weeks before the application: obtain a list of abutters from the Assessor's Office in Town Hall; fill out the NOI application form; and prepare site plans and other supporting materials. Wetlands boundaries should be marked by a professional wetlands scientist, and the scientist should provide a report describing the basis for the delineations. Site plans must be surveyed by a Professional Land Surveyor. Other relevant technical information such as soils test data, drainage designs, planting plans, etc. should be prepared by qualified professionals and submitted with the NOI.
Submit the application materials to the Conservation office in Town Hall two weeks before a regular Commission meeting date. (View the Meeting Dates (PDF)). Also send a copy to DEP Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington, and submit the State filing fee to DEP.
If additional information or plan revisions are needed, the Commission may continue the public hearing to allow the applicant time to address the concerns.
After closing the public hearing, the Commission will issue an Order of Conditions. At a minimum, the process takes about 4 weeks from submittal to date of issue. The Commission may confirm wetlands boundaries and permit proposed work. They will include conditions under which work will be carried out, and also conditions for long-term operation and maintenance that will continue after the work is done, if relevant. In rare cases, the Commission may deny a project that does not meet wetlands protection regulations and standards.
An Order of Conditions is valid for three years. The Order must be recorded at the Registry of Deeds before work begins. The Order may be revised and extended.
Upon completion of work, the applicant requests a Certificate of Compliance and records the Certificate at the Registry.
The Engineering Division has a prioritized list that is used to determine what year your street is scheduled for paving, pending all necessary funding. This list was produced by a private consultant and then approved by the Board of Selectmen. A copy of this list can be viewed in the Engineering Division. General concerns regarding pothole repairs on your street should be directed to the Department of Public Works Highway Division at 781-942-9092 Monday through Friday, between the hours of 7 am and 3 pm.
A plot plan is prepared by a professional land surveyor, and typically depicts lot dimensions, survey information, and buildings found on your property. The Engineering Division has some plot plans from within the Town of Reading. Plot plans that cannot be found at our office can usually be found at the Middlesex County Registry of Deeds in Cambridge. Search their website.
A copy of your water and sewer service cards, showing the locations of each, can be obtained in the Engineering Division, located in the lower level of Town Hall.
Typically, a good indicator, as to when your house was built, is by determining when the water was first introduced onto your property. The Engineering Division can provide you with this information. The first water mains in Reading were installed circa 1890.
Yes, but only by a Licensed Drain Layer who is fully insured and bonded with the Town. Also, the homeowner must fill out a “Drain Release Form” along with a diagram showing where the drain line will be connected, and return them both to the Engineering Division before work can be started. A list of Licensed Drain Layers for the Town of Reading can be obtained by either going to the “Permits and Applications” section of this website or by stopping by the Engineering Division in the lower level of Town Hall.
Contact Dig Safe at 888-DIGSAFE (888-344-7233) or by visiting their website to request a mark out. After contacting Dig Safe, please contact the Engineering Division to locate any water, sewer, and drainage on your property. Typically, for non-emergency situations, we require at least 72 hours notice prior to any excavation. The Engineering Division can be reached by calling 781-942-9082, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30 am and 5 pm.
The Town of Reading Engineering Division has predetermined all of the house numbers for every street in town. Each 35 feet of street frontage has been given a number, which will be the number belonging to the building included in or embracing that frontage. If you are interested in obtaining a new address or changing your current address please contact the Town of Reading Engineering Division.
No. The Engineering Division does not typically recommend any surveyors. However, a list of surveyors that have previously done work within the Town can be obtained in the Engineering Division office. In addition to this list, surveyors can also be found in the Yellow Pages section of your telephone book.
As stated in the Town of Reading Driveway Rules and Regulations, all proposed driveways or modifications to existing driveways must be submitted for approval to the Department of Public Works Engineering Division. A sketch of the modification must be submitted indicating all trees, hydrants, poles, etc., as well as the gutter grade, property line grade, and proposed grades in sufficient detail to insure compliance with all Driveway Rules and Regulations. If the Engineering Division determines that all of the regulations are met, the proposed driveway alterations may be approved. Any granite curbing removed in the process of making these driveway modifications shall become the property of the Town of Reading. The Town of Reading Driveway Rules and Regulations can be obtained by either going to the “Driveway Construction and Street Opening” section of this website or by stopping by the Engineering Division in the lower level of Town Hall where a copy may be obtained.
Storm water is rain water that runs off impervious surfaces such as streets, driveways, parking lots, rooftops, or other tightly packed surfaces. Impervious surfaces reduce the ability of storm water to be absorbed or infiltrate into the ground.
The Town of Reading is required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a storm water management plan that reduces the discharge of pollutants to our storm water drain system and water ways. The Town is required to be in full compliance with the terms of our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II permit by 2008 to meet federal and state mandates. The Town established a SWEF to provide a dedicated and adequate source of funding for our storm water management program.
Storm water often contains surface pollutants including petroleum products, soaps, detergents, and lawn fertilizer which eventually empty into the Aberjona, Ipswich, and Saugus rivers. Effective storm water management also helps reduce flooding and the erosion of river banks.
Single and Two-Family properties will be billed at a flat rate. All other properties will be assessed an annual storm water fee based on the total amount of impervious surface area on the lot, which will be billed quarterly. Condominium properties will be billed based on the total amount of impervious surface, at a maximum of the single and two-family rate, for each condominium unit. The amount will appear as a separate charge on your quarterly water and sewer bill. The fee will be calculated as follows for the following different types of property:
Impervious surface areas were measured using the Town's mapping system (GIS). Buildings, driveways, and parking areas were delineated from aerial photos. The surface area of these features was calculated and will be assessed at a rate of $40 by 3,210 square feet (annually) for multi-family, commercial, and industrial properties.
Storm water fee revenue will be used to hire two laborers that will perform stream and detention basin maintenance activities. The SWEF will allow the Department of Public Works to address a backlog of stream and drainage maintenance issues that have not been completed due to staffing and funding limitations. Storm water fees will also fund capital expenditures for drainage system mapping (GIS layer), illicit discharge detection, and general drainage system infrastructure improvements.
Yes, although a property may be located on a private way or on a town accepted street that does not have catch basins or storm drains, the owner will be assessed a storm water fee since the property still produces runoff into the Town’s storm water system.
The Board of Selectmen approved a rate structure as recommended by the Water, Sewer, and Storm Water Management Advisory Committee that does not provide any exemptions for municipal properties, schools, or properties owned by religious or registered non-profit organizations. Undeveloped property (without impervious surfaces) is the only category of property that will not be assessed a storm water fee.
Yes, to encourage property owners to minimize the amount of runoff from properties and to reduce the amount of pollutants entering Town waterways, the Town has instituted the following storm water abatement program:
Single and two-family residential properties that install and maintain infiltration systems or other means to reduce runoff will be eligible for an abatement of up to 50% of their total assessment.
Commercial / Industrial / Multi-Family properties that install and maintain state-of-the-art storm water treatment and infiltration systems will be eligible for an abatement up to 50% of their total assessment.
Property owners or condominium associations (on behalf of condominium owners) seeking additional information or would like to file for an abatement should contact the Department of Public Works, Engineering Division at 781-942-9082. The Abatement Application Form (PDF) may be obtained through the Town of Reading website or may be picked up at the Engineering Office at Reading Town Hall, 16 Lowell Street.
The storm water abatement percentage will only change if the impervious surface area changes.
All permits are online. Online Permitting
We have two stations. Fire Headquarters is located at 757 Main St and Station 2 is located at 267 Woburn St.
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Chapter 60A of Massachusetts General Laws imposes an excise for the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or a trailer on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The excise is levied annually in lieu of a tangible personal property tax. Non-registered vehicles, however, remain subject to the taxation as personal property.
The excise is levied by the city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged and the revenues become part of the local community treasury.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to city or town assessors. Cities and towns then prepare bills based on excise data sent by the Registry in compliance with Registry requirements.
The amount of the excise is based on the value of the motor vehicle that is based upon the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP), not your purchase price. Various percentages of the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) are applied.
Once the value of the vehicle is determined, and excise at the rate of $25 per thousand is assessed. Excises are assessed annually, on a calendar year basis, by the assessors of the city or town in which the vehicle is garaged.
If a vehicle is registered after January 31, it is taxed for the period extending from the first day of the month in which it is registered to the end of the calendar year. For example, if a vehicle is registered on April 30, it will taxable as of April 1, for the nine months of the year (April through December). In no event shall the excise be assessed for less than $5 nor shall an abatement or refund under Section 1 of Chapter 60A reduce and excise to less than $5.
Please mail payment to:
Collector's OfficeTown of ReadingP. O. Box 1006Reading, MA 01867
Please make checks payable to: Town of Reading.
For proper crediting, write the bill number on the check and enclosed the top portion of your tax bill. To obtain a receipt, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and both portions of the bill with the payment, one will be stamped paid and returned.
Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due within 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued (not mailed, as is popularly believed).
Note: A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise plus any interest charges accrued. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry, the Town of Reading and the post office informed of a current name and address so that the excise bills can be delivered promptly.
All owners of motor vehicles must pay an excise tax; therefore, it is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Office of the Tax Collector if you have not received a bill.
You can request a statement by calling the Collector's Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9023.
If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the issue date the account will be assessed a $25 demand charge plus interest. If payment in full (including the demand and interest charge) is not received within 14 days of the date of issued of the demand, the excise is turned over to the Deputy Collector of Taxes for collection.
You must contact the Deputy Collector at Phone Number: 781-944-8504. Once payment of all outstanding Excise is made by Money Order, Bank Check or cash, personal checks are not accepted, the Deputy Collector will clear your registration and driver license at the Registry you can return to the Registry to renew your registration or license
No - this is according to state law. Only payment in full for each excise tax bill is accepted, any partial payment will be returned to the taxpayer via U.S. mail, payment in full includes all charges and interest.
If an excise bill is received for a vehicle, which was traded it is recommended to pay the bill in full; and provide a copy of the new registration and statement showing trade-in of the vehicle with an application for abatement with the Assessors Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9027.
If an excise bill is received for a vehicle which has been sold it is recommended to:
Pay the bill in full, and Return the Plates to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Bring in a Plate Return Receipt and a bill of sale to apply for an abatement with the Assessors Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9027. A refund will be issued for any abatement credited for the sale or trade.
If a motor vehicle owner moves within Massachusetts, he/she should:Pay the motor vehicle excise if he/she resided in the Town of Reading on January 1st.If the owner moved before the first of the year, he/she must pay the tax to the new community to which the owner moved. If the owner did not notify the Registry that he/she moved before the first of the year, it may be necessary to file for an abatement with the Town of Reading, which had sent the excise bill.File the abatement at the Town of Reading Assessors Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9027.
If a motor vehicle owner moves out of Massachusetts, he/she should:Pay the motor vehicle if he/she resided in the Town of Reading on January 1st.Return the plates to the Registry of Motor Vehicles in MassachusettsGet a Return Plate ReceiptApply for a partial refund with the Town of Reading Assessors Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9027.
On-street parking in downtown Reading will remain in effect and will remain free. Paid parking will be enforced starting October 2023 at the Brande Court Lot and Upper Municipal Lot. Up to one hour of parking is free however, you still need to enter your license plate at a kiosk or the PayByPhone app so that the enforcement officer can track all vehicles in the lot. Up to 4 hours is $1/hour; over 4 hours is $5/hour. Paid parking is enforced Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm.
Individuals can pay for parking at kiosks OR by installing and using the PayByPhone smartphone app. There are two kiosks per lot, with signage directing users to their locations. PayByPhone signage is available throughout the lots to guide users in utilizing this app to park. See the how-to guide here. (LINK)
The Reading Police Department will enforce these regulations, just like they enforce parking throughout the rest of town.
Employees may park in all areas that are highlighted in blue (see map), with an employee parking pass. Employee Parking Passes are sold annually, starting in January. Every business has an opportunity to purchase up to 20 passes. Additional passes may be purchased after January and are on a first come, first serve basis. See here for more information: Employee Parking Pass | Reading, MA (readingma.gov).
The transition to paid parking in the Upper Municipal and Brande Court parking lots will create more frequent overturn of parked cars in order to free up availability and increase the utilization of these municipal lots.
If a ticket is issued to an individual/vehicle, they will be notified via a physical ticket. This physical ticket will have instructions and a ticket number to process payment of the ticket online. Individuals can also go to the Reading Police Department to process their ticket. Tickets processed in person at the Reading Police Department are through cash / check only.
The implementation of parking kiosks within both municipal lots was voted in favor of during Town Meeting. The initial idea for implementation of the kiosks occurred through Town Hall staff recommendations with support from the Parking Advisory and Recommendation Committee (PARC).
Yes, vehicles with handicap placards are still free to park within these lots and anywhere in Town.
Please contact Reading PD's Deputy Chief, Christine Amendola at email@example.com
Citizens should contact the Animal Control Officer at (781) 944-1212.
You may call the Recreation Division at (781) 942-9075.
It depends upon the size and complexity of your event. For a small family outing that does not involve on-site cooking, no permit is required. If you have something else in mind, contact the Department of Public Works at (781) 942-9077, give us the details, and we'll advise you on what may be required.
Town regulations do not allow such open fires in parks, unless you are issued a permit for a special event. You will need to complete a permit application, and may need to attend a hearing of the Special Events Committee. Contact the Department of Public Works at (781) 942-9077.
MBTA Communities refers to Section 3A of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40A, as passed by the state legislature in 2021. Its relation to the MBTA comes from the law’s requirements being contingent on the type(s) of MBTA transit—e,g, the rapid transit, commuter rail, bus—that serve a given municipality. The overall goal of the law being to make future development of dense housing close to transit to be possible. The specific requirements that each municipality has to meet were created in order to check that each place is complying with the law in their zoning.
The law specifically only pertains to zoning, not construction. Zoning is the way in which towns legally specify what types of uses and sizes of buildings can be on a given piece of property.
The law states: “An MBTA community shall have a zoning ordinance or by-law that provides for at least 1 district of reasonable size in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right; provided, however, that such multi-family housing shall be without age restrictions and shall be suitable for families with children.”
The law defines a district of reasonable size as having a minimum gross density of 15 units per acre. It must be located within 1/2 mile from the relevant transit option(s) in a given town. At least half of the district must comprise contiguous lots of land of a minimum of 5 acres. The total district is required to be 50 acres or 1.5% of the “developable land” available.
Multi-family housing means housing with at least 3 units on one piece of property.
Unit capacity refers to the total number of units that could be placed on one piece of property, based on the town’s zoning regulations. Unit capacity is not a count of existing homes nor a projection of what will be built, it is an estimated count of what is technically allowable.
As of right means that projects that comply with the zoning bylaws can cleanly move through the approvals process (Site Plan Review) without requiring any discretionary approvals such as special permits, variances, or waivers. In our discussions we will use the terms “as of right” or “by-right” interchangeably.
The law does not allow for restrictions or specifications on age restrictions, size of individual units, bedroom counts/size, or number of occupants—the zone must allow multi-family housing be suitable for families with children.
The law does not require any affordability restrictions, although towns can choose to include them if they wish. More information is below.
We recommend visiting the state Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities general MBTA Communities page for more info.
In Reading, our relevant transit hub to the law is the MBTA commuter rail train station located in downtown (32 Lincoln Street). As we are classified as a Commuter Rail Community under the law, there are additional calculations used in determining the exact location of our required district of “reasonable size” and the corresponding exact number of units that must be zoned for by-right. The numbers listed below come directly from EOHLC and are nonnegotiable.
We are required to zone for a minimum of 1,493 units at a gross density of 15 units per acre across a minimum of 43 acres, of which at least half of our units and acreage must be within a ½ mile of the train depot.
(LINK) PDF Map of the 1/2 Mile Area directly surrounding the Reading Train Depot
Reading’s required total zoned unit capacity was calculated by multiplying the total number of housing units in Reading against the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities' (EOHLC) multiplier per our definition as a commuter rail community.
The density requirement of 15 units per acre comes directly from the law.
Our required reasonable district size was calculated to be 43 acres. The district was defined to be either 50 acres of 1.5% of the developable land area in town, whichever is less. Reading uses the latter to determine our district size of 43 acres.
Reading’s Existing Developable Station Area was calculated to be 343 acres. The developable station area is derived from taking the area of the half-mile circle around an MBTA station, and removing any areas comprised of excluded land. Excluded land includes publicly owned land, bodies of water, recreational land, public rights-of-way, and institutional uses. For the full list please see page 3 of the PDF linked below.
Because our developable station area is between 251-400 acres, Reading is required to have 40% of our unit capacity and district size within ½ mile of the Depot (598 units on 17.2 acres).
For more details on all of the above definitions and calculations, please see the guidance issued from the Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), now called the Executive Office of Housing & Livable Communities (EOHLC).
No. At this time, Reading does not comply with the requirements. While we do have multiple multi-family zoning districts within a ½ mile of the train depot and in greater Reading that allow multi-family housing by right, they do not meet the required combination of unit capacity, density, and acreage.
For more detail on Reading's current Zoning please see our Zoning Bylaw on the Town Clerk's page and our GIS map
The intention of the law is for all communities in the Boston metro area to share in the creation of diverse housing options. By working jointly over time to create more housing, the region can begin to address its dire affordability issues as the aggregate increase in housing stock releases pressure in the housing market over the long-term.
The Reading Master Plan has the stated housing goals of promoting diversity in housing types and households, increasing affordable units, and developing proactive housing policies. Complying with the law will bring Reading closer to those goals. We encourage you to look at the current housing and demographic statistics for Reading, now on our Reading by the Numbers page. Home prices have increased far above the median salary in the community, indicating that future homeownership in the town will be increasingly out of reach for the average person or family.
Communities that fail to comply will not be eligible for funds from the Housing Choice Initiative, the Local Capital Projects Fund, or the MassWorks infrastructure program. In Reading over the years 2018-2022 this funding has equaled $290,000 in awards. In 2023, the Town was awarded a $2.6 million MassWorks grant and additional grant applications continue to be pursued under these programs. Because these are grant programs, the amounts awarded are highly variable based on the Town's applications.
In March 2023 State Attorney General Campbell additionally clarified that failure to comply will result in civil enforcement action or liability under federal and state fair housing laws e.g. the state will sue municipalities that do not comply. (Press release)
By-right, or as-of-right development means that a project will require no waivers, special permits, or any other discretionary approvals. A project is still required to go through the normal development processes including Site Plan Review or Minor Site Plan Review, and/or the regular building permitting approvals.
For example, if a 5-unit Townhouse project is proposed on a 20,000SF lot, that project would come to CPDC to go through Site Plan Review; the neighbors would be notified of the project and a public hearing and revision process would take place. By-right development simply means that the CPDC and Planning Staff cannot deny the project as long as the proposal meets the criteria of our Zoning Bylaw.
By-right development is included as a specific requirement of the 3A law because of how many communities in the Boston metro area require special permits or waivers for increased density in order for multi-family housing to be constructed. In 2019 it was summarized that for the 100 communities within the Boston metro area, in the 3 years prior 86% of all multi-family units that were permitted required discretionary approvals, meaning only 14% of units were permitted by-right.
Development is not by-right when the lot or use is determined to be non-conforming, which means it doesn’t meet the current standards of the zone. When zoning is changed over a given geography, any current lots or uses that don’t meet the new standard become considered “non-conforming”.
In Reading several of our zoning districts have a high percentage of non-conforming lots, because zoning was changed to be more restrictive after these areas were built. In our current A-40 zone that is Northeast of downtown there is only 1 lot that meets the district minimum lot size. In our S-15 zoning, about 80% of parcels are non-conforming, because they don’t meet the minimum lot size of 15,000SF. They were all built long before zoning existed and are smaller than the minimum.
For compliance with the law, non-conforming lots aren’t counted because they can’t be developed by-right. Therefore, a large portion of the decisions made about our new zoning district are simply to bring all of our lots to be conforming lots so they count for compliance in our district. You can think of it as reverse engineering the controls of our new zoning district from the actual parcels that exist today.
Part of our job as staff is to continually further the existing housing goals put forth by Reading residents. We feel that the MBTA Communities compliance process gives us a chance to revisit the Town's goals and ask whether or not we as a community have taken the necessary strides to meet them.
Town Meeting will need to approve changes to our zoning by the end of 2024 in order to comply. We anticipate presenting proposed zoning changes to Town Meeting in Fall 2024.
To actually achieve compliance Staff will submit our district and relevant zoning to the State for approval. We will submit a series of GIS shapefiles that map out our district and then answer 50+ questions in a spreadsheet that goes through in detail each aspect of our zoning. They run those zoning parameters over our chosen geography and confirm or deny that it meets the overall size, unit capacity, and density requirements. Staff in conjunction with our consulting team has been testing iterations of our district and are confident that our proposal will meet the State’s requirements.
The law specifically states that there can be no limitations on unit size. Accessory Dwelling Units, also called Accessory apartments or In-law apartments are size limited based on the size of the primary dwelling. Because of these size limitations they are not eligible to use to comply with the law.
No. Per the State's guidance, "for purposes of compliance with Section 3A, a multi-family zoning district should be a neighborhood-scale district, not a single development site on which the municipality is willing to permit a particular multi-family project."
In Reading, our larger apartment complexes are all single development sites on just one or two parcels, thus they cannot be used for compliance on their own.
In late 2022 we received early Technical Assistance from the Mass Housing Partnership (MHP) and their consulting team in order to test our existing zoning districts for both compliance and unit capacity. They analyzed the existing zones that allow multi-family by-right and determined that none of them currently meet the density and acreage requirements. Their analysis and recommendations are summarized in this memo.
In January 2023 the Town submitted the required Action Plan to remain in interim compliance to plan the revisions to our Zoning Bylaw. Our Action Plan was approved.
We ran Phase 1 of our public education and engagement process from June until early September 2023. During the first stage of our process, staff opened and advertised our survey on multi-family housing options. Staff attended a variety of community events and Board and Committee meetings (full list at the bottom of the page) to publicize the process and answer preliminary questions.
Phase 2 of our process was our Knowledge Session series of events which took place from September through November, all slides and recordings from those events can be accessed under our prior events section further down the page. We presented on the history of zoning in Reading, the survey results, district controls, our preliminary district concept, and received feedback on our proposed dimensional controls and district boundaries.
Our compliance proposal was finalized and brought forth in Phase 3 in a formal CPDC Public Hearing process, as required to take it to April Town Meeting. The outcome of that series of formal Public Hearings held from December 2023 to February 2024 was the request to have staff fully analyze suggested alternatives in order to be able to make a full comparison with the existing proposal. In deciding to review these alternatives in detail, no proposal will be brought to Town Meeting in April 2024.
The agreed upon alternative options are currently being vetted by staff in Phase 4 of our process.
Phase 5 will open in late Spring/Summer 2024 as those fully analyzed alternatives will be presented for comparison, with the intention of choosing one to take to Town Meeting in Fall 2024, ahead of our end of 2024 deadline.
The goal of our survey was to receive actionable direction from residents as to the preferred types of multi-family housing for Reading. The survey was open from June 6 to September 5, 2023 and was publicized on the Town website, Town social media, in the Town Manager Minute, by the Recreation department, the Library, the Economic Development Director, the Senior Center staff, to Board and Committees both via email and at in person presentations and at community events. We received a total of 758 responses, which met our goal.
We strongly encourage anyone who is interested in the detailed survey results to read the full survey results report. You can access a PDF of the survey questions here.
Takeaways from the survey include that respondents preferred:
An educational session was held, both in person at the Reading Public Library and on Zoom. The focus of the event was on providing background on the law, defining the concepts that relate to the law and compliance, learning about the history of zoning in Reading, our housing goals, and the results of our survey. A recording of the event can be viewed here as recorded by RCTV. A PDF of the slides can be downloaded here.
An interactive workshop on aspects of zoning and the location of our district was held in person at the Reading Public Library. The focus of the workshop was on learning about and discussing the tradeoffs of the dimensional aspects of zoning and mapping a district. A recording of the event can be viewed here as recorded by RCTV. A PDF of the slides can be downloaded here.
To explore the workshop topics yourself:Adjust zoning setbacks and max lot coverage using this interactive zoning visualizer toolConsider the preferred location for the new zoning district by exploring on GIS and using the markup tool to draw the district
Staff gave a summary of our first two Knowledge Series events at this combined Economic Development Summit and Financial Forum. A recording of the event can be viewed here as recorded by RCTV. A PDF of the slides can be downloaded here.
Staff presentation of our preliminary proposal and two map options, with a robust Q&A both on dimensional controls and mapping options. A PDF of the slides detailing our proposal and relevant supporting information can be downloaded here. A PDF of the two map options can be downloaded here. A recording of the event can be viewed here
Staff takeaways from the public discussion and comments received on the Preliminary Plan design will result in the following changes to our final district proposal:
A series of formal Public Hearings were held by CPDC in order to prepare the proposed zoning amendments to take to April Town Meeting 2024. Materials from those hearings are linked below. The outcome of those Public Hearings was the decision to pause the path forward in order to have staff fully test alternatives for comparison with the existing proposal, which remains the primary option for compliance.
Prior Public Hearing on February 5: Materials from this meeting are below. A recording of this event as recorded by RCTV can be found here.
Prior Public Hearing on January 22: Materials from this meeting are below. A recording of this event as recorded by RCTV can be found here.
Prior Public Hearing on December 18: Materials from this meeting are below. A recording of the event as recorded by RCTV can be found here.
We’ve been working with DPW and Engineering using our build-out scenarios. They feel confident that our current water and sewer systems would be able to handle those proposed increases for the foreseeable future. Additional investment and upgrades would be dependent upon the location and pace of any future construction.
There is no correlation between construction and increased school enrollment. That statement is supported by data analysis by MAPC.
Overall enrollment in Reading has been trending downward over the last decade and the State projects that enrollment will continue to follow this pattern. We defer any specific questions about enrollment to the School Committee and Superintendent.
Historic protections are not part of the Zoning Bylaw, but instead part of the General Bylaw, and as such the guiding Commission for them is not CPDC, but either the Historic District Commission (HDC), or the Reading Historical Commission (RHC).
The answers to questions about historic protections will ultimately not be answered by CPDC, because it is not their jurisdiction, but the discussions can and should continue alongside our zoning compliance work. There is intrinsic value in not just preserving historic assets but in revitalizing and reusing these properties.
No construction is required for compliance with the law. Compliance with the law is zoning only.
From the zoning changes there could be future construction (see our build-out projections above) but no construction is required.
Once the zoning amendments are adopted by Town Meeting they will be approved by EOHLC and the Attorney General’s office and become active for Reading. Once the zoning is changed it is up to each individual property owner to decide if and when they want to redevelop their property. None of the changes made require any development, they are all zoning based.
The changes made to our zoning code will hopefully align with Reading’s longer-term priorities and considerations related to the creation of transit-oriented corridors, connecting and maintaining open space and parks, and ensuring that the future growth of Reading will be thoughtfully for all.
The proposal laid out in this report is the result of the last six months of learning and engagement. Our strategy was to publicize and educate early in the process to try to bring as many interested residents into the discussion before anything was decided, so staff could have the necessary and crucial input to present a proposal directly shaped by residents’ views—as gathered in our survey and Knowledge Series events.
Our approach acknowledged our limited capacity as our Planning division is only two people, with a limited budget. Within those constraints, as of early December 2023, our engagement stats are as follows:
Types of housing:
Terms you might hear in discussions related to housing--
Transit-oriented development: Mixed residential density development centered on existing or new transportation services including bus service, rail, or bike paths. For example, in Reading this could mean building more apartments near the train depot.
Missing Middle/Gentle Density: Refers to building types such as duplexes, triplexes, and small apartment buildings up to about 10 units that provide diverse housing options. They are termed “missing” because they are typically illegal to build under modern zoning codes and typically exist as non-conforming uses from pre-zoning eras. In Reading there are many of these types of housing in the areas directly surrounding downtown, almost all of them built pre-zoning.
Mixed Use: A building that combines multiple types of use, often referring to a building with commercial or office space on the first floor with residential units above, examples of which can be found in Reading’s downtown.
Aspects of zoning to consider in relation to number of units:
Affordability vs. affordability
A lot of the discussion around housing centers on discussions of affordability. We think it is important to distinguish between legally defined capital “A” Affordable housing vs. the general discussion of affordability.
Affordable housing refers to deed-restricted units that are only available to people who are at specific Area Median Incomes (AMIs). The AMI determines eligibility for Affordable housing and is set at a regional level by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Newly built affordable units are often available, for example, to those whose income is 80% of the AMI, though deeper affordability restrictions are possible (i.e. 50% AMI restrictions).
Inclusionary Zoning refers to zoning that requires Affordable units to be included in newly built multi-family housing. Reading’s Downtown Smart Growth District (DSGD) currently requires Affordable units be provided in projects of more than 8 units.
General affordability discussions on the lack of affordable housing options typically use the 30% of income spent on housing as a proxy to discuss affordability. While 30% of income is considered a general guideline for a max to spend on housing, this is not a legal definition. Affordability can mean different things to different people based on their circumstances. When we discuss or use the term affordable in our materials we mean a rental price or home price that would be consistent with median incomes.
Our page on Housing & Demographic Statistics for Reading
MBTA Communities Tracker Map of all communities in the Boston region and their status
Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s short video: Why MBTA Multifamily Zoning Makes Sense for Massachusetts
This informative video by City Beautiful explains many of the zoning concepts that are crucial to understand in relation to the law.
Amy Dain’s five-part series in Commonwealth Magazine in 2022 gives the non-planner a good understanding of the MBTA Communities law and how it will impact local Massachusetts MBTA towns and cities:
The 2019 Report "The State of Zoning for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston" by Amy Dain is informative context on regional trends in zoning and housing.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has an informative Regional Housing Page with information, toolkits, reports, and more.
The Citizens' Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) is a non-profit advocate for affordable housing in the region and they host events, programming, and housing opportunities and are an educational resource.
The EOHLC released updated guidance on the law in August 2023.
Recycling is responsible resource management. Recycling reduces pollution, saves energy and saves the Town of Reading money. By recycling, we save on the cost of incinerating our trash, currently about $63.02/ton. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees. The items that we recycle become other useful products.
The Town of Reading has weekly mandatory recycling collection, your recycling is now collected every week on the same day your trash is picked up.
When there is a holiday, collections will be delayed one day after holiday occurs (e.g. if your usual day is Monday and Monday is a holiday, your trash/recycling day will be Tuesday. Friday's pickup will be on Saturday that week). If the holiday falls on a Thursday (e.g. Thanksgiving), only Thursday and Friday's collections would be affected.
Residents can place their recycling at the curb next to their trash barrel the night before after 4 pm and no later than 6 am on their recycling collection day.
Due to the current uncertainty of the recycling market, residents are strongly encouraged to "Go Back to Basics," by recycling acceptable paper, rinsed plastic containers, rinsed glass containers, or clean metal cans.
Paper: Newspapers including inserts, magazines, catalogs, phone books, junk mail, clean pizza boxes, clean paperboard such as cereal / pasta boxes and egg cartons and flattened cardboard no larger than 4 by 4 feet are some of the paper type items.
Commingled Items: Rinsed plastic containers, rinsed glass containers, and clean metal cans.
For all other questions on whether an item can be recycled in the weekly recycling collection, please refer to the website Recycle Smart for more information, or contact the Department of Public Works at 781-942-9077.
Recycling bins containing unacceptable items, will be stickered, left curbside, and the residents will be asked to remove any unacceptable items. Drivers will not be sorting curbside. If recycling is left behind, it will be picked up on the following week's collection schedule, provided the unacceptable items have been removed.
All clean glass, clean plastic and clean metal containers, can be commingled and placed in your recycling bin or a barrel clearly marked recycling. All newspapers, cereal boxes, junk mail and magazines should be placed in the recycling bin or a clearly marked container with a recycling sticker. Cardboard should be flattened and in bundles no larger than 4 feet by 4 feet by 6 inches thick.
Yes, rinsing reduces odors and discourages pests. All glass, plastic and metal containers, can be placed together in your recycling bin.
Styrofoam collection will consist only of the following: clean, white Number 6 PS preformed block and sheet, collected Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm at the DPW Garage, 75 Newcrossing Road. No food containers of any kind, and no colored Styrofoam. If pizza boxes are clean and free of food particles, they can be recycled.
Yes. You can use your red bin or a trash barrel of your choosing that is clearly marked recycling.
A red recycling bin and stickers are available at the Department of Public Works Facility Garage, 75 New Crossing Road or at the DPW Administrative Office in the lower level of Town Hall at 16 Lowell Street.
Yes, the Town will schedule 5 weeks of curbside leaf collection per year. The contractor will pick up Kraft paper bagged leaves 3 weeks in the fall and 2 weeks in the spring. There is no charge for curbside collection.
The Town operates a compost site at Strout Ave that is opened from April thru November. Residents must purchase a Compost Sticker at the Police Station or a Compost Card Permit at the D.P.W. Administration Office in Town Hall.
For both curbside and drop off services, go to https://order.toughstuffrecycling.com/ or call Tough Stuff Recycling Customer Service: 978-307-4118.
Residents who want to recycle their Christmas trees are asked to bring them to compost facility when open it is open.
No, the town does not have the ability to pick up any construction and demolition material with either trash or recycling. This category generally includes siding, doors, asphalt, bricks, concrete and other masonry materials, soil, rock, wall coverings, drywall, plumbing fixtures, insulation, roofing shingles, plate glass, metal, wood waste, and electrical wires.
Latex paint can be dried out (solidify with kitty litter or with specifically designed products that are now available) and placed in the trash. Oil based paints, chemical and other household hazardous waste should be brought to the Town's annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection day. For more information, call the Department of Public Works 781-942-9077.
Thermometers, thermostats, mercury switches and button batteries can be brought to the D.P.W. Garage, 75 New Crossing Road 8 am. to 2:30 pm (Monday through Friday)
Fluorescent lamps should also be brought to the D.P.W. Garage.
Household appliances (stoves, air conditioners, refrigerators, washers and dryers) are picked up on Fridays only by Republic. Call them directly at 1-800-442-9006 to arrange payment ($35 fee per appliance) and schedule the pickup. Once payment is received, no refunds are granted.
TVs and CRTs (computer monitors) are not allowed with regular trash or recycling. These items can be picked up weekly by calling Republic directly at 1-800-442-9006 and arranging payment and scheduling the pickup. Republic will pick up television sets and monitors on Fridays only.
Most electronics can be recycled at the drop-off center at the garage (no TVs or monitors), or can be put out any week with the regular trash. Computers (except for computer monitors, see above), and accessories such as printers, scanners, and faxes may be discarded in the regular trash. However, if they are useable, first try to find a place where they can be put to use.
No. You can use any re-usable container for your recycling. Just label it clearly with a "Recycling Sticker" available through the DPW Administration office at 16 Lowell Street.
Yes. Throw them in with your mixed paper recycling.
Call Republic at (800) 442-9006 to schedule an appliance pick-up for items like stoves, refrigerators, over the stove microwaves (built-in style), washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and water heaters. There will be a $35 fee per appliance. Once payment is received, no refunds are granted. Republic will pick up appliances/white goods on Fridays only.
You must use a licensed asbestos removal contractor to dispose of asbestos. Check the yellow pages for licensed contractors.
Automobiles and other vehicles can be donated to an area charity for a tax deduction.
Bikes not Bombs, a non-profit organization located in Roxbury, is working to promote community development and alternative transportation. Donated bikes are shipped to third world countries and used locally to train young people as bicycle mechanics. Kids can also build/recondition a bike through the Earn-A-Bike program. Part of the program involves the kids participating in community service (617) 522-0222.
Fluorescent bulbs: Dispose of expended or broken fluorescent bulbs at the Department of Public Works Facility, 75 Newcrossing Rd. Fluorescent bulbs, including energy saving compacts, contain a small amount of mercury. If a fluorescent bulb breaks in your home, do not inhale the vapor and do not use a vacuum for cleanup. Sweep the pieces together with a brush or broom - not with your hand - and clean up bits of glass with a wet rag or towel, then place the towel and the pieces into a plastic bag. Fluorescent bulbs emit no mercury unless they are broken.
Homeowners and contractors can donate good quality used and surplus building materials to Building Materials Resource Center. Save on disposal fees and earn tax deductions. Call (617) 442-2262 to schedule a pick-up. Visit the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection website for more options and information.
Since Monday, October 31, 2022, Republic Services no longer picks up mattresses or box springs as bulk waste.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has made amendments to its waste ban regulations which include the banning of mattresses from the trash stream and a requirement for them to be recycled.
As a result, the Town of Reading has contracted with Tough Stuff Recycling to pick up and recycle mattresses and box springs for a fee. Residents have two options available:
Pricing is for EACH mattress or box spring being disposed
$55.00 for curbside pickup
$33.00 for drop off at DPW garage (resident brings mattress or box spring to the DPW garage with proof of payment).
For both curbside and drop off services, go to https://order.toughstuffrecycling.com/ or call Tough Stuff Recycling Customer Service: 978-307-4118.
IMPORTANT: Mattresses/box springs must be placed in a mattress bag prior to placing curbside for pick up. Mattresses being dropped off at the DPW garage do NOT need a mattress bag.
Mattress bags are available at the DPW Administration office in town hall or the DPW garage free of charge with proof of payment that resident has scheduled with Tough Stuff Recycling. If you have any questions, please call the Department of Public Works at 781-942-9077.
What is accepted as part of the Mattress Recycling Program?
All size mattresses, including crib and foam. All size box springs. Each piece is considered a unit.
What is NOT included in the recycling program?
Air or water beds, mattress pads and toppers, pet beds
Important: Mattresses and box springs must be
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.
If the sewer backs up (for example the toilet, sink, tub or washing machine) please call the Water and Sewer Division at 781-942-9092 (Monday through Friday from 7 am to 3 pm) They will make sure that the problem is not due to the Town's system. Emergency (Nights, Weekends, Holidays) Call Reading Police Department 781-944-1212. Please provide your name, address and phone number.
The homeowner's responsibility runs from the sewer main in the street to the house.
Please call the Water and 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 Licensed Drain Layers is available at the Engineering webpage under permits. 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.
Call the Highway Division of DPW at 781-942-9092 or use the See ClickFixApp on the Town's website.
The Town refers pothole damage claims to its insurer who makes a determination whether the Town is responsible for the claim due to negligence in responding to the notice of the pothole. Any appeals are handled by the claimant‚ insurer or by a judicial claim. Potholes are considered to be a normal consequence of the freezing / thaw cycle of New England weather.
Contact the Reading Police Department: Emergency (Nights, Weekends, Holidays). Police Department 781-944-1212. The police will contact the on-call DPW personnel.
We are constantly checking streets for safety issues and pavement conditions in order to plan‚ short term‚ and future paving projects. The Town conducts pavement condition inspections every 3 to 4 years to develop a plan to address some of the worst roads and extend the life of roads with limited deterioration.
Street sweeping normally begins in late March/early April each year after the danger of snow has passed and the weather gets mild. With only two sweepers and weather permitting it usually takes 8 to 10 weeks to complete the Town.
Residents can call the Highway Division at 781-942-9092 or contact the Reading Police Department at 781-944-1212.
No. A Town By-Law restricts this act. Additionally, such action may bring liability if an accident should occur. This also increases the Town's cost for snow operations.
The streets are plowed in a set order to maximize efficiency, expediency and our resources. The main roads are generally treated and plowed first, then the secondary roads and the neighborhoods.
If the damage is not in the Town's, right-of-way, repairs will be made in the spring at a time when manpower and equipment are available. Please use the SeeClickFix App.
Please call the DPW 781-942-9092 or 781-942-9077 and leave your name, phone number and the address of the sidewalk defect, or report the damage through our SeeClickFix App.
Please call the DPW at 781-942-9092 or 781-942-9077 or read the most recent construction notices under our Current Projects.
Report the address of the light pole or the light pole number (two or three digit number located on the pole usually within 6 to 8 feet up from the base) to the Reading Municipal Light Department.
Please call the DPW at 781-942-9092 or 781-942-9077 and leave your name, phone number and nearest address or street intersection of the catch basin. Residents can assist Public Works by clearing debris off of catch basin grates, cleaning up debris along the curb in front of their property, and by never putting leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste into a catch basin.
Call the Reading Police Department: 781-944-1212 with the location of the catch basin and, if known, the material that was dumped and other pertinent information. You may also contact the DPW at 781-942-9092 or 781-942-9077.
Please call the DPW at 781-942-9092 or 781-942-9077 and leave the nearest street or area of the stormwater outfall.
With the fall season upon us and many trees already dropping their leaves, your help with maintenance is beneficial to all. If you have a town catch basin near your property it would be very helpful and benefit everyone if you could help maintain that catch basin by clearing all debris from around.
Storm Water is water that falls from the sky as rain, hail, or melting snow and drains into the municipal drain system, such as catch basins or drainage swales that eventually lead to a wetland or body of water, such a as lake, stream, river or ocean.
The Storm Drainage System is a series of catch basins, and drainage ditches that collect and channel run off from streets, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and vegetated land surfaces. This network of pipes and ditches flow into bodies of water such as lakes, streams, rivers and oceans. The Town of Reading's storm drainage system flows into three drainage areas, the Ipswich, Aberjona, and Saugus River basins. Reading is situated at the headwaters of these three rivers which, after flowing through several communities, eventually discharge into the Atlantic Ocean.
Since the storm drains collect all the storm water that flow into Ipswich, Aberjona, and Saugus river basins, polluting our catch basins means we are directly polluting river basins and eventually the oceans. These pollutants can impact our groundwater, wetlands and waterways and contaminate our drinking water endangering people, fish, and wildlife. By keeping our catch basins and drainage swales uncontaminated we keep the environment of Town of Reading clean.
Just Remember C.O.P.
White, Orange (Rust Color), Soap Suds, Oil Sheen, Paint or any unusual colors.
Any odors such as Ammonia, Sulfur (Rotten Egg), Gasoline, Paint Solvents, Sewerage, Chlorine, or Fertilizers emitting from catch basins, drainage ditches, outfalls or waterways.
Trash, Motor Oils, Antifreeze, Household Chemicals, Paints, Chlorine, Detergents, Soaps, Grass Clippings, Leaves, Sweeping, Construction Materials, Pet Excrement, or Insecticides.
If you identify any pollution call the 24 Hour Stormwater Hotline: 781-942-NOW1
Tax bills are due four times a year. The quarterly tax payments are due on the following dates:
August 1st; November 1st; February 1st; May 1st.
Real Estate tax bills are now mailed each quarter.
You can obtain a statement by calling the Town Collector's Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9023. Under state law, Chapter 60, Section 3, failure to receive a bill does not affect the validity of the tax or any interest or fines incurred due to late payment(s). It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to secure his/her tax bill when one is not received.
The first two preliminary bills will be 25% of the amount billed in the previous year including any liens, less any exemptions, deferrals, or abatements. The third and fourth actual bills will reflect changes in valuation and annual tax increases including any overrides or debt exclusions.
If you are a new property owner and have not received your tax bill from the previous owner, you can request a statement to find out more information on our What if I don't receive a Real Estate Tax Bill? FAQ question.
Interest of 14% per annum will start accruing at the close of business on the due date.
Please mail payments to:
Tax CollectorTown Of ReadingP.O. Box 1006Reading, MA 01867
For proper credit, write the bill number on the check and enclose your Real Estate Tax bill. To obtain a receipt, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope and the bill with your payment. One will be stamped paid and returned.
The permanent change will take place when the Assessors Office receives the deed from the Registry of Deeds.
Either by coming into the Assessor's Office or calling the office at Phone Number: 781-942-9027
Overpayments will be applied to the next quarter unless it is the last quarter of the Fiscal Year. If an overpayment is made on the last quarter it will be refunded to the person or mortgage company that caused the credit balance.
Tax payments must be received on or before the due date to avoid interest and demand charges. If payment is not made on or before the due date the account will begin to accrue interest at the rate of 14% per annum, computed from the date the bill was due.
On the 4th quarter bill, a demand notice will be sent and a demand fee of $25 is charged against the account.
If the account remains delinquent the owner's Name, Address and the amount of outstanding taxes will be advertised in the Reading Chronicle and the advertising fee will be charged to the account.
If the account continues to remain delinquent, a tax lien (a legal claim placed on the property for debt) is placed on the property and is recorded with the Middlesex County Registry of Deeds. A tax lien is the first step in the foreclosure process. All taxes, costs, and interest must be paid to prevent foreclosure. All costs incurred are charged to the account in the foreclosure.
If you receive a bill, please forward it to the new owner immediately as it is his/her responsibility to make payment or call the Collector's Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9023.
Please send a letter requesting a Municipal Lien Certificate to:
Collector's OfficeTown of Reading16 Lowell StreetReading, MA 01867
You will need to supply the Property Address and name of the Current Owner.
A self-addressed, stamped envelope should be included with the request, if you wish the Municipal Lien Certificate to be mailed to you.
The cost for a Municipal Lien Certificate is as follows:
A Municipal Lien Certificate will be completed within 10 business days of the date your request was received.
You can obtain a statement by calling the Collector's Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9023.
You can obtain that information by calling the Collector Office at Phone Number: 781-942-9023.
Until the conversion is completed, the property is recognized as just one parcel. There is only one bill for all units and it is between you and all the other unit owners how the Real Estate bill is divided. You must also notify your mortgage company as to the amount of your portion of the Real Estate bill that should be paid.
Once the conversion is completed, there will be separate Real Estate bills for each unit in the next fiscal year.
Yes. Membership in the Reading Retirement System is required by law for all employees who work thirty-two and a half hours a week. Please contact the Retirement Office to inquire about eligibility to credit and purchase your prior non-contributing employment service.
The amount each employee is required to contribute to the Reading Retirement System each year is set by statute. If you joined the System on or after July 1, 1996, you must contribute nine% of your regular compensation. If you joined any time between January 1, 1984 and June 30, 1996, your contribution rate is set at 8%. Members who joined the system between 1975 and 1983 contribute 7%. Those employees who became members prior to 1975 are contributing 5%. The law also mandates that for members whose membership commenced on or after January 1, 1979, an additional 2% of regular compensation will be withheld on compensation over $30,000. This 2% is in addition to the seven, 8, or 9% standard deduction from your total regular compensation.
Your contributions are placed in an individual annuity savings fund where it earns annual interest at a statutory rate comparable to that of a passbook savings account. The interest rate is determined by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission and the Commissioner of Banks. This annual interest rate is independent of that earned on the Retirement System’s investments
No. Employee contributions are never used to fund administrative expenses. The System’s operating expenses, including all fees associated with actuarial and audit services, investment management, consultant and custodial fees, are funded solely through the system’s investment income.
When you are vested, you have earned the right to a retirement allowance at a later date. You no longer have to remain in service to be eligible to collect it.
You must have ten years of creditable service in order to be considered vested. If you transfer creditable service from another retirement system or if you buy back prior service, such service is added to your Reading service to determine whether you are vested.
You are eligible to retire at age 55 or older if you have at least ten years of creditable service. If you have 20 years of service, you can retire at any age.
Because the Reading Retirement System is a defined benefit plan, your benefits are determined by a formula and are not affected by the amount of money in your annuity account at the time of retirement. The factors used to determine your benefit are; your age at the time of retirement, your amount of creditable service, your group classification and an average of your three highest consecutive years of regular compensation.
If you were a member of another retirement system subject to the provisions of Chapter 32 of the General Laws, and you withdrew your retirement funds, it is possible to buy back your prior creditable service. The Retirement Office will verify your prior service, then calculate the amount of your buyback. You must repay the amount withdrawn, plus interest to the date of repayment. You may complete a buy back as a lump sum payment or a payment plan up to the number of years you wish to buy back, but not more than five years.
If you have retirement contributions from a previous public employer directly transferred to our system, you are entitled to maintain the level of contribution you were paying in your previous employment. If you received a refund of retirement contributions from your previous retirement system and later became a member of the Reading Retirement System, your contribution rate with Reading will be at the new member rate, regardless of what you were paying in the prior system. If you should later purchase your prior creditable service through a buyback, your contribution level will remain at the new member rate and will not be reduced to your previous rate.
If you were employed on a temporary basis, prior to becoming permanent, you may be entitled to purchase this service towards your retirement creditable service. If you have temporary service with another public agency in Massachusetts, you may be entitled to purchase that as well and apply it to your retirement creditable service in Reading. The rules are very complex and each request will require research and documentation. Please call the Retirement Office for more information.
You earn creditable service towards your retirement allowance for the period during which you are contributing to the retirement system. For members of the System who work thirty-two and a half or more hours per week, this service time starts accruing the day you begin work and continues until the day you separate from service. However, if there is a period of time when you are off the payroll, you should consult with the Retirement Office as to how this will affect your amount of creditable service.
No. Regular compensation is the portion of your salary that is subject to retirement contributions. Overtime, bonus pay, severance pay, payments made for unused sick time, and certain other payments, are not considered regular compensation, are not subject to retirement and cannot be used towards you three-year average for the purpose of determining your retirement allowance.
No. Your retirement benefit is separate from and not related to participation in the deferred compensation plan. The 457 plan is an optional savings vehicle, which allows you to supplement your retirement savings on a tax-deferred basis. It is strongly recommended that this plan be considered as an option by members.
If you leave your job and are not going to work for another governmental unit which comes under the provisions of Chapter 32, you may be eligible to receive a refund of your contributions. If you are leaving to accept a position with a Massachusetts political subdivision subject to Chapter 32, you must transfer your retirement contributions directly to your new retirement system.
It depends on your length of service. If you leave your job with less than five years of creditable service, you will not receive any interest on your deductions. However, if you have between five and ten years of creditable service, you will receive 50% of the interest credited to your account. If you withdraw your funds with at least 10 years of creditable service, you will receive 100% of the interest that has accrued.
No. You may request a refund of your funds at any time after termination. If you leave your funds on deposit, however, and later seek a refund, your deductions will only earn interest for two years after termination. The prior answer outlines the criteria used to determine your interest eligibility.
Any member who terminates employment may be eligible to withdraw retirement funds. If the member is vested and has earned the right to a retirement allowance at a later date, careful consideration should be given to the value of the retirement benefit he or she may be forfeiting in exchange for a refund.
If you are vested and terminate employment, you can choose to “defer” your retirement by leaving your money in the system until you are ready to retire.
No. There is no loan provision in this plan. An active member cannot withdraw or borrow any contributions from the fund under any circumstances.
Your contributions and all the interest you receive from your account are subject to federal income tax (with exception of any contributions made prior to January 12, 1988). When processing a refund of retirement contributions, the Retirement Office is required to withhold 20% of the taxable portion of your refund for federal tax. The 20% tax payment is required only if the refund is made directly to the member. To defer tax payments, you must make a direct rollover of your retirement funds to an Individual Retirement Account, (IRA) or another type of retirement account with a financial institution. With a direct rollover, no tax is withheld and the entire taxable portion of your refund is transferred. If you have both taxable and nontaxable contributions, you may accept receipt of the nontaxable portion of your refund without tax consequence and the taxable portion may be rolled over.
If you are married and die before you retire, your surviving spouse will have the option of collecting a monthly benefit, including a monthly allowance for children under the age of 18 or if a student in an accredited institution until age 22, or receiving a lump sum payment of your contributions. Contact the Retirement Office for more information.
The Town of Reading is required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a stormwater management plan that reduces the discharge of pollutants to our storm water drain system and waterways. The Town is required to be in full compliance with the terms of our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II permit by 2008 to meet federal and state mandates. The Town established a SWEF to provide a dedicated and adequate source of funding for our stormwater management program.
Stormwater often contains surface pollutants including petroleum products, soaps, detergents, and lawn fertilizer which eventually empty into the Aberjona, Ipswich, and Saugus rivers. Effective storm water management also helps reduce flooding and the erosion of river banks.
Single and Two-Family properties will be billed at a flat rate. All other properties will be assessed an annual storm water fee based on the total amount of impervious surface area on the lot, which will be billed quarterly. Condominium properties will be billed based on the total amount of impervious surface, at a maximum of the single and two-family rate, for each condominium unit. The amount will appear as a separate charge on your quarterly water and sewer bill. The fee will follow for the following different types of property:
Impervious surface areas were measured using the Towns mapping system (GIS). Buildings, driveways, and parking areas, were delineated from aerial photos. The surface area of these features was calculated and will be assessed at a rate of $60 per 3,210 square feet (annually) for multi-family, commercial, and industrial properties.
Yes, although a property may be located on a private way or on a town accepted street that does not have catch basins or storm drains, the owner will be assessed a storm water fee since the property still produces runoff into the Town's storm water system.
The Board of Selectmen approved a rate structure as recommended by the Water, Sewer, and Storm Water Management Advisory Committee that does not provide any exemptions for municipal properties, schools, or properties owned by religious or registered non-profit organizations.
Undeveloped property (without impervious surfaces) is the only category of property that will not be assessed a storm water fee.
Commercial/ Industrial/ Multi-Family properties that install and maintain state-of-the-art stormwater treatment and infiltration systems will be eligible for an abatement up to 50% of their total assessment.
Property owners or condominium associations (on behalf of condominium owners) seeking additional information or would like to file for abatement should contact the Department of Public Works, Engineering Division at Phone Number: 781-942-9082. The Abatement Application Form may be obtained through the Town of Reading website or may be picked up at the Engineering Office at;
16 Lowell StreetReading Town HallReading, MA 01867
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 or the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) website for the annual water quality reports.
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.
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:
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.
Visit the Town of Reading website or the MWRA website for the annual water quality reports.
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 more 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 website 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 1,000 times more than tap water.
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.
If you have questions regarding the development of the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) and Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) levels shown on your report, you can contact the EPA's safe drinking water hotline at Phone Number: 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 National Sanitation Foundation (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 877-867-3435 or email the Consumer Affairs Office.
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 877-867-3435 or email the Consumer Affairs Office.
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.
You can learn more about the water system at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority website.
Read more about drinking water on the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority quality FAQ page.
You can see water quality test results on the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority water quality test results page.