Sewer Commission: Latest News

2/28/23

Updated Sewer Use Regulations -The Sewer Commission held a virtual Public Hearing on Tuesday, February 28th at 6pm to review proposed changes to their Sewer Use Regulations.  Changes included updates to the Regs necessitated by changes to Fitchburg's Chapter 147 which we are required through the Inter-Municipal Agreement to uphold, changes to the Grease Trap Regulation, Sewer Extension Regulation, Deduct Meter Policy, changes to the Reconnection Fee in the Connection Charge Policy, changes to the proration on sewer bills for new ownership and connections,  the creation of a new Regulation for Oil/Water Separators and several others.  

Copies of the documents were available for review at the DPW and Town Clerks office prior to the Hearing - and the Hearing was posted in the Lunenburg Ledger on 2/17/23, giving the requisite notice for the revision of Regulations.   A copy of these documents can be found on the Policies and Procedures page under Sewer Regulations.


2/8/23

At the ZBA Hearing on 2/8, it was determined that the ZBA would deny the requested waiver by the developer, Kevin O'Brien, to allow the expansion of the Sewer Service Area(SSA) without Town Meeting vote and submit a Stipulation to the Housing Appeals Committee(HAC) allowing the Town to restart the Comprehensive Permit Application for the 40B clock once the HAC has ruled on the submitted waiver.  See the Sewer Extension page for current documents. 


2/1/23

The quarterly sewer bills have been mailed out.  They are due by March 6th.  (remember to send payments to the REMITTANCE ADDRESS in Boston, MA  at:  Town of Lunenburg, Department 1260, P.O. Box 986500, Boston, MA 02298-6500 ). 

 If you have not received your invoice, you can call either the Sewer Office at 978-582-4160 x8 or the Collector's Office in Town Hall 978-582-4132 for your amount due.   If you have your bill number, you can pay your bill online with the Town's arrangement with Unibank.  

Online payments are accepted until the next bills are sent out.   After that date, payment must be mailed to P. O. Box 135, Lunenburg 01462, or brought directly to Town Hall at 17 Main St.   The Town is currently not able to take payments over the phone or by credit card.  That is why we have the option for online bill payment via Unipay.  Do not send payments to the Boston address on the remittance slip after 3/1  or it may not be received or processed by the due date of 3/6 while the mail is re-routed to the Collector's office. 

 You can always drop off payments to the DPW at 520 Chase Rd, but that may also delay processing as the payments are re-routed to the Tax Collector's office for processing.  

We are also unable to provide change for a cash payment, so it is always quickest to bring your payments to Town Hall on Main St..  Town Hall is open 8-4 Monday & Wednesday, and 8-6 Tuesday and Thursday, closed Fridays.


12/29/22

There is now a link on our website should there be a Sewer System Overflow (SSO) and we need to advise abutters to the overflow.   The link is called CodeRed - and you may already be familiar with it as it is the system that the Public Safety office uses to deliver alerts and notifications.  


12/19/22

The residents who had outstanding sewer bills from fiscal year 2022 have had those balances transfered over to their actual Real Estate tax bills, soon to be issued by the Tax Collector.  Should you want to pay down this amount, please contact the Tax Collector's office at 978-582-4132.


11/10/22

The quarterly sewer bills have been mailed out.  They are due by December 12th.  (remember to send payments to the REMITTANCE ADDRESS in Boston, MA  at:  Town of Lunenburg, Department 1260, P.O. Box 986500, Boston, MA 02298-6500 ).  If you have not received your invoice, you can call either the Sewer Office at 978-582-4160 x8 or the Collector's Office in Town Hall 978-582-4132 for your amount due.   

If you have your bill number, you can pay your bill online with the Town's arrangement with Unibank.  This link brings you to the Unibank/Unipay webpage.   Online payments are accepted until the next bills are sent out.   After that date, payment must be mailed to P. O. Box 135, Lunenburg 01462, or brought directly to Town Hall at 17 Main St.   

The Town is currently not able to take payments over the phone or by credit card.  That is why we have the option for online bill payment via Unipay.  Do not send payments to the Boston address on the remittance slip after 12/5  or it may not be received or processed by the due date of 12/12 while the mail is re-routed to the Collector's office.  You can always drop off payments to the DPW at 520 Chase Rd, but that may also delay processing as the payments are re-routed to the Tax Collector's office for processing.  

We are also unable to provide change for a cash payment, so it is always quickest to bring your payments to Town Hall on Main St..  Town Hall is open 8-4 Monday & Wednesday, and 8-6 Tuesday and Thursday, closed Fridays.


9/19/22

It is with great sorrow that we learned that Bill Gustus passed away on September 19th.  Bill served as the Sewer Commission’s first Chairman when it was first formed in 2006, and helped lay the foundation for the Commission's current policies, regulations and bylaws that we operate under to this day.  He served as its Chairman until 2009 with fellow members Steve deBettencourt, Paula Bertram, Carl Luck and Mark Flagg.  

The Sewer Commission's stability and financial health would not be where it is today without his expertise, knowledge of the law and dedication to its success.   Our sincerest condolences to his family. 


8/25/22

The Sewer Commission office received the Comprehensive Permit Application (40B) for Pond View Commons on Howard Street.  In August of 2021 we had submitted our concerns for this project to the Town Manager, Chairman of the Select Board and the Land Use Director.  

On 9/2/21, our Town Counsel, incorporating our concerns, submitted a letter on behalf of the Town to Mass Housing.  Nevertheless, on 3/31/22 Mass Housing approved their request for a 40B and on 8/25/22 we received the Comprehensive Permit application for the project to continue.  A

ll these submittals can be found  under Sewer Extensions.  Keep checking this page for any updates on the project.  See update to connection costs posted 9/22/22 (change from those presented at ZBA Hearing 9/14).  


8/16/22

The quarterly sewer bills have been mailed out.  They are due by September 19th.  (remember to send payments to the REMITTANCE ADDRESS in Boston, MA  at:  Town of Lunenburg, Department 1260, P.O. Box 986500, Boston, MA 02298-6500 ).  If you have not received your invoice, you can call either the Sewer Office at 978-582-4160 x8 or the Collector's Office in Town Hall 978-582-4132 for your amount due.   If you have your bill number, you can pay your bill online with the Town's arrangement with Unibank.  This link brings you to the Unibank/Unipay webpage.   Online payments are accepted until the next bills are sent out.   After that date, payment must be mailed to P. O. Box 135, Lunenburg 01462, or brought directly to Town Hall at 17 Main St.   The Town is currently not able to take payments over the phone or by credit card.  That is why we have the option for online bill payment via Unipay.  Do not send payments to the Boston address on the remittance slip after 9/12  or it may not be received or processed by the due date of 9/19 while the mail is re-routed to the Collector's office.  You can always drop off payments to the DPW at 520 Chase Rd, but that may also delay processing as the payments are re-routed to the Tax Collector's office for processing.  We are also unable to provide change for a cash payment, so it is always quickest to bring your payments to Town Hall on Main St..  Town Hall is open 8-4 Monday & Wednesday, and 8-6 Tuesday and Thursday, closed Fridays.


7/12/22

At the meeting of the Commission, it was determined that they would no longer pursue a Sewer Extension for Upland Ave, Eastern Ave, Maple Parkway and the eastern portion of White St.  The required 2/3rds interest of the residents on these streets was not reached.


6/14//22

The election of officers took place at the meeting on 5/31/22, effective 6/14/22.  John Reynolds was elected as Chairman of the Sewer Commission, Brett Ramsden was elected as Vice-Chair and Mike Deveikis was elected as Clerk.  Congratulations and thank you, gentlemen, for your continued willingness to serve on the Commission and take on these roles of responsibility. The Commission also thanks Dave MacDonald who served as the Commission Chair from March 2020 for all his hard work, dedication and accomplishments while serving as its Chair.    


6/10/22

The Sewer Commission has submitted their SSO notification plan to the Mass DEP as required.  The state had published a new Regulation in October 2021 via 314 CMR 16.00: Notification Requirements to Promote Public Awareness of Sewage Pollution that all Massachusetts cities and towns with public sewer must establish a notification plan for any Sanitary Sewer Overflows(SSO).  This regulation establishes requirements and procedures for notifying the public of discharges of certain types of untreated or partially treated wastewater, including discharges that fall into the categories of combined sewer overflows (CSOs), sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), and blended wastewater.  All towns had to submit their notification plan to the State by 7/6/22.  To review the plan, click here. 


6/1/22

Letters were sent out to the residents of Upland Ave, Eastern Ave, Maple Parkway and the eastern portion of White St to determine interest in extending sewer to those streets.  The Commission had contracted with Wright Pierce to determine the estimated cost to bring sewer to these streets and was advised that betterments would be approximately $57,600 which could be spread over 20 years.  Per the Sewer Extension Regulations, the Commission should determine that there is enough interest in sewer (2/3rds of those impacted) before they would proceed with extending sewer.  Residents were given the option to provide their responses by either mail, in person or via online survey(Survey Monkey).  Residents can check this link for updates.   


5/19/22

The quarterly sewer bills have been mailed out.  They are due by June 20th.  (remember to send payments to the REMITTANCE ADDRESS in Boston, MA  at:  Town of Lunenburg, Department 1260, P.O. Box 986500, Boston, MA 02298-6500 ).  If you have not received your invoice, you can call either the Sewer Office at 978-582-4160 x8 or the Collector's Office in Town Hall 978-582-4132 for your amount due.   If you have your bill number, you can pay your bill online with the Town's arrangement with Unibank.  This link brings you to the Unibank/Unipay webpage.   Online payments are accepted until the next bills are sent out.   After that date, payment must be mailed to P. O. Box 135, Lunenburg 01462, or brought directly to Town Hall at 17 Main St.   The Town is currently not able to take payments over the phone or by credit card.  That is why we have the option for online bill payment via Unipay.  Do not send payments to the Boston address on the remittance slip after 6/15  or it may not be received or processed by the due date of 6/20 while the mail is re-routed to the Collector's office.  You can always drop off payments to the DPW at 520 Chase Rd, but that may also delay processing as the payments need to be re-routed to the Tax Collector's office for processing.  We are also unable to provide change for a cash payment, so it is always quickest to bring your payments to Town Hall on Main St..  Town Hall is open 8-4 Monday & Wednesday, and 8-6 Tuesday and Thursday, closed Fridays.


5/16/22

The Commission wishes to welcome our new DPW Director, William "Bill" Bernard .  We look forward to working with Bill on projects in the days to come.


5/7/22

The Commission's budget articles were all passed at Town Meeting.  The 4th article to amend the bylaw to allow both easements and waivers was debated on town meeting floor and was amended before passing.  A tracked copy of the amended bylaw can be seen here.  The bylaw still must be approved by the Attorney General's office before it can be put in place.  The Commission awaits the AG office approval. 


5/4/22

The Sewer Commission has 4 articles on the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting on May 7.  The first 3 articles pertain to the Enterprise Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2023.  Article 11 is for $656, in addition to the Town's $266,696 for the OPEB transfer, Article 12 is for $1,213,182 for the operation of the Sewer Enterprise for FY23 and Article 13 is the transfer of $35,548.86 to Capital Reserve.  These will be included in the Consent Calendar at the start of Town Meeting.  In addition, Article 25 is to revise the current sewer bylaw including:

  • The clarification that inclusion of a property in the Sewer Service Area (SSA) does not constitute entitlement to a sewer connection and must still be subject to available capacity, capacity limitations and Sewer Commission approval
  • Creating an exception to prohibiting sewer connections via easement provided that, and only if, the following criteria are satisfied:
    • The property must still be in the Sewer Service Area (which can only be expanded by Town Meeting vote)
    • Connections through an easement must be across adjoining properties
    • The process requires the issuance of a waiver (to be added as Section 10.0 of the Bylaw in Article 25) upon findings by the Commission:
      • Of emergency circumstances justifying the easement;
      • That the inability to connect to public sewer is causing undue hardship; or
      • That it is deemed to be in the best interest of Town and consistent with the purpose and objectives of the sewer bylaw
    • A further clarification of the Commission's authorization to adopt rules and regulations under the bylaw and to amend them following a public hearing with notice published at least 5 business days in advance, with subsequent posting on the Commission’s website.. 

For the complete article with all the changes, review by referring to Article 25 in the Town Meeting warrant and by clicking here.  Any questions regarding these articles will be addressed during Town Meeting which starts at 9am on May 7 in the Lunenburg Middle/High School. 


4/1/22

At their regular meeting on March 8, 2022, the Sewer Commission voted to put forward their FY23 Budget which includes a 8% rate increase for its users. The rate increase goes into effect as of 4/1/22 and will be reflected in your Q1 billing in August.  During the budget setting process this spring, it was determined that the projected income is not sufficient  to cover projected costs. The Commission studied the proposed budget and reduced costs where they could, but found that it was still necessary to increase rates in order to cover expenses.   A major factor contributing to the shortfall are the increased rates that the Town must pay to both Leominster and Fitchburg for treatment of our sewer flows.  In 2020, Leominster -to which we send 80% of our wastewater - changed the basis of the billing from water usage to volume going through the flow meters to their treatment facility, and this change has increased expenses substantially due to increased flow through the flow meters caused by Inflow & Infiltration (I&I) which is the flow that goes into the sewer system that does not originate from a property owner’s well or public water supply.  Sump pumps and roof drains connected directly to the sewer lines are ILLEGAL.  Please be extra vigilant to ensure minimal leakage or introduction of illegal extraneous flows into the system.   For FY21, coupled with a rate increase from Leominster, the increase was about 17% over the previous year and for FY22, the increase is about 35% over FY21, including yet another Leominster rate increase.  The FY23 budget just could not absorb these increases within the current rate structure and so the Commission has determined that another rate increase is necessary. The last rate increase was a 10% rate increase effective 7/1/20 and the Commission knew that they would have to revisit rates once we had had a couple years with the new billing method from Leominster .    The standard rate for 100 cubic feet will increase from $12.65  to $13.66 and the minimum charge for up to 846 cubic feet per quarterly billing period will go from $107.00 to $115.00.  For those customers on wells, the rate will go from $231.87/quarter to $250.38.  You will see this increase reflected in your invoices that you receive in August pending approval at the May Annual Town Meeting of the Sewer Enterprise Fund Budget.   


3/14/22

We have a new person in the Sewer Commission office!  Paula Bertram was hired starting 3/14/22 to work as the Assistant to the Business Manager for the Sewer Commission in the DPW office at 520 Chase Road.   So if you are calling about your sewer bill, your interest in hooking up to sewer, need a copy of the regulations or bylaws, you will likely be greeted by Paula if you call or stop by the office.  We are most happy and so very lucky to have a person of her caliber and dedication to the Town come to work with us!  Welcome Paula!   At the same time, we had to bid goodbye to our DPW Director, Rob Oliva, who took a new job back in Gardner.  Rob served the Town and the Sewer Commission very well in the year and a half that he was with us and he will be greatly missed.  Best wishes in your new position, Ro


5/25/21

At their meeting on 5/25, the Commission voted to change their meeting start time to 6pm (previously started at 5pm).  This will be effective 6/8/21.


4/1/21

It’s that time again – for new lawns and pool filling… Check out our Policies and Procedures page for the one-time bill adjustment policy(https://www.lunenburgma.gov/sites/default/files/field/files-docs/bill_adjustment_policy_0913.pdf ) if you are doing either of these activities this spring and need your water usage adjusted by the amount that never enters our pipes and goes instead on the ground or into your pool!!   Fill out and submit the application to an adjustment to the invoice that reflects your one-time increased usage to the Sewer Office at 520 Chase Road. https://www.lunenburgma.gov/sites/default/files/field/files-docs/pool_fill_application_0920.pdf


2/9/21

The Sewer Commission at their meeting of 2/9/21 voted to once again waive the Grease Trap Permit Annual fee due to the hardships that have been placed on our food service establishments due the Corona virus over the past year.  Annual permits will still need to be submitted, effective 8/1/21.  A mailing will be sent later this year. 


9/8/20

The Sewer Commission held the second of 2 Public Hearings on the change to the Irrigation Meter policy - now called the Deduct Meter Policy. 

They reviewed the updated document with changes approved at the 1st hearing on 8/25/20 and since there was no further discussion, the Commission voted unanimously to accept the new Deduct Meter and Credit Program Policy.  


8/25/20

The Sewer Commission held the first of 2 Public Hearings on the change to the Irrigation Meter policy - now called the Deduct Meter Policy -  on 8/25/20 at the beginning of their regular Sewer meeting held via zoom.   

They voted to approve some additional changes since their meeting of 7/28 and a copy of the current Deduct Meter policy can be viewed by clicking here.   

The second and final Public Hearing will occur on September 8th at 5pm at the start of the Commission's regular meeting. The public is welcome to join the zoom call to discuss the proposed changes by clicking on this link.  


7/23/20

The Sewer Commission has agreed to updating the new Deduct Meter Policy, previously known as the Irrigation Meter Policy.  Changes, besides the name, were to the handling of annual fees and other more cosmetic changes.  

The Commission is requiring all participants in the previous Irrigation Meter credit program to upgrade their meters to those capable of being read remotely.  The responsiblity is on the homeowner to work with a licensed plumber to upgrade their meter and it must be done by 9/1/20.   The name is changing to clarify that any residence or commerical entity can participate in the credit program, whether or not they have an Irrigation System.  The deduct meter is a more common term for a meter that measures outdoor water use (water that does not enter the Sewer System) so that the property owner does not have to pay for the amount of water going through that meter on their quarterly sewer bill.   

The change to policy will be posted in the Lunenburg Ledger and 2 public hearings held in August and September.  After 2 hearings, the policy will be made official and incorporated into the Sewer Use Regulations as Appendix K.  To see the proposed version, check the policy in the Policies & Procedures page.