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Gargoyles found on old buildings were originally used as fancy cover-ups for downspouts.

General Requirements

These requirements for site plans and as-builts have been prepared to assist property owners, developers, builders, architects, engineers, and others in securing the necessary approvals from the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC). In addition, details and guidelines relative to the requirements and information necessary for the site plan drawings are included.

All site plans and as-builts submitted to BWSC for review and approval must be signed and stamped by a Professional Engineer registered in Massachusetts. All sewer, drainage and water work must meet or exceed the BWSC's standard requirements.

The location of all utilities: water, sewer, storm drain, telephone, gas, electric, steam and cable television must be shown to scale on the site plans. A north arrow is required on the site plan.

Pipes and conduits greater than 12" must be drawn to scale.

Narrative Letter

A narrative letter briefly describing the proposed project, type of establishment, proposed stormwater infiltration practices and anticipated daily sewage flow is required. The City of Boston's Official Street Numbering form is required with narrative.

Street Numbering Form

The City of Boston Inspectional Services Department (ISD) Street Numbering Form (Certified Street Address) must be completed filed with the Inspectional Services Department. Submission of this form must be included with the site plan. Forms are available at the ISD offices, which are located at 1010 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA. Once the form is approved by ISD, it will be submitted to BWSC.

Drawing Requirements

BWSC has initiated Electronic Site Plan Review. Please follow these procedures to start the submittal process:

In an email to please provide the following:
  • Preferred contact name
  • Consulting firm (if applicable)
  • Project address
  • Contact phone number
  • Contact email address

Once BWSC receives this information, please allow 6 - 10 business days for your application to be processed. You will then receive an email containing a link to an online project folder where you can upload all project files. A document describing the files to be added to the project folder is attached to this email.

Correspondence about project submittals will be conducted electronically. Initial comments on submitted project files will be shared via the Electronic Site Plan Review service within 1 - 2 weeks.

Five site plan drawings should be submitted for final review and approval. Two approved signed prints will be retained by the BWSC, one for the record file and the other for the BWSC Construction Department. All final site plan and as-built submissions must be accompanied by an Auto Cad Release 14 or higher disk. Drawing must be in compliance with the BWSC CAD Standards for Plans (Design and As-Built). A site plan or as-built should be no smaller than 11-inches x 17-inches and no larger than 27-inches x 40-inches. A 5"x5" box reserved for BWSC use only shall be required on each drawing. The official street numbers of project locations are required on the drawings.

The Ward, Parcel Number, Land Use Code, and Structure Code MUST BE INCORPORATED INTO THE SITE PLAN above the 5"x5" box reserved for BWSC use.

The Owner's Name, Address and Telephone Number are required on the site plan. The address of the site, including Extended Zip Code, is also required.

The estimated sizes of all public street and sidewalk openings that will be required for the building services to connect to BWSC facilities must be included on site plan drawings. The estimated size of this cut will be the size that will be submitted to the City of Boston Public Works Department. The estimated size will include any over-cut for such water construction work (i.e. +3 feet for tapping machine).

Fire Pipes

Any request for installation of a new fire pipe or change in size or location of an existing fire pipe shall be accompanied by a site plan for approval. Such submission shall include an existing WATER ACCOUNT NUMBER placed above the 5"x5" box reserved for BWSC. In addition, a Backflow Prevention Device Design data sheet (BFP DDDS) application must be filed. A BFP DDDS must also be filled out for all work done that may cause a cross connection including: reduced pressure valve assemblies on irrigation systems, HVAC/mechanical systems, etc. This application must be completed by a Massachusetts licensed plumber or mechanical engineer, and be submitted to the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Cross Connection Control Department, 980 Harrison Avenue, Boston, Ma. 02119.

Pipe Material Requirements

  1. The following size and type of pipe shall be used for all building sewer and building storm drain connections. The minimum size is 6 inches in diameter. The material shall be Polyvinylchloride (PVC) pipe or ductile iron (Class 56) for building sewer connections; and extra strength non-reinforced concrete (C-14) or Class IV reinforced concrete (C-76) or ductile iron (Class 56) for building storm drain connections. PVC pipe and fittings shall conform to ASRM standard specifications D3034 for pipes 6-15 inches, ASTM F679 for pipes 18 inches and larger. The PVC pipe shall have pipe diameter to wall thickness ratio (SDR) of a maximum of 35.
  2. All main line sanitary sewers shall be a minimum of 10 inches in diameter. All main line storm drains shall be a minimum of 12 inches in diameter. Provide documentation on pipe size design.
  3. All water services up to and including 2 inch shall be copper Type K. All water services 4 inches and larger shall be ductile iron cement lined (Class 56). Zinc coating on exterior surface of pipe is required starting July 1st, 2017. Provide documentation on pipe size design.
  4. Applicants shall reference Sections C1, C4, and D1 under Construction Specifications. These provide material and construction specifications related to ductile Iron Pipe and Fittings, Service Pipes, and Sewer and Drain Pipes.

Elevation Requirements

All elevations shall be given relative to Boston City Base (BCB). The following elevations are required. a) Invert of building sewer and building storm drain connections at the foundation wall and at the connection to the main sewer or drain. b) Invert of the main sewer or drain at the connection. c) Basement floor and first floor of building. d) A firm benchmark will be shown.

Building Codes

In accordance with the Mass. State Building Code Section 609.3 and Mass State Plumbing Code Section 2.09 Article I and definitions and BWSC storm drainage regulations, the following applies:

Any area which is used to dispense fuel and is covered by a canopy or other type of roof or enclosure shall drain into a Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) approved oil separator and then into a sanitary sewer or if not available a combined sewer. An alternative will be to keep all runoff within the fuel dispensing area and not to be drained off. The area shall be graded as to not allow any runoff onto surrounding areas which drain into a storm drain. Other areas including canopies of gas stations and/or fuel dispensing areas shall be drained and according to the rules of BWSC/or in the absence of a particular regulation, at the discretion of the Chief Engineer.

Projects within 100 Feet of a Wetland

If the proposed project is in within 100 feet of a wetland, an Order of Conditions must be obtained from the Boston Conservation Commission in order to make water or sewer connections to BWSC facilities or stormwater drainage discharges into wetland areas.

Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) 8m Permits

8m permits to MWRA will apply for any project crossing existing MWRA water mains or sewer pipes.