New Basement Units

1. When an application is made to the Department of Public Works for a sewer connection, or connections, that will serve below street (grade) units, whether these units are separately applied for or are part of a building complex with other units that are not below street grade. The Commissioner of Public Works, the City Engineer or the Supervisor of Sewers, shall defer issuance of any such permit until a thorough review is made according to the procedure, which follows. This procedure shall apply to both new and renovated units or to the remodeling of existing structures to accommodate below street grade units.

2.  First, a thorough review of any or all flooding that had taken place in the last twenty years in the general area to determine whether or not the below street grade units, may be susceptible to periodic flooding in view of past history.

3. The developer, owner, or such other designated person who had made the application must furnish details showing ground water level which may affect such below street grade units, treatment of the outside foundation in order to prevent seepage into the below street grade units, installation of back flow valve preventers where necessary and feasible and such other materials required by the Commissioner to see that the below street grade units have been protected.  Also, see flooding brochure, Flooding: Is Your Property Protected?

4. Should additional engineering studies be necessary or a third party analysts be required by the Commissioner of Public Works to determine the feasibility of granting a sewer permit for below street grade units, the cost of such analysis shall be borne by the applicant.

5.  After a thorough review of the application the Commissioner of Public Works shall determine in writing, whether a permit shall be issued to cover the below street grade units. If the sewer permit for the below street grade units is denied the applicant may appeal the Commissioner’s decision to the City Manager. In the case of denial and where there are other units in the same complex at street grade or above street grade units involved, a sewer permit for those units which are above street grade may be approved.

6.  If the permit is approved or, if on the basis of an appeal to the City Manager, the permit is approved, the applicant for the sewer permit affecting below street grade units must sign a waiver holding the city harmless from any and all claims which may result because of flooding of the below street grade unit on a form to be issued by the Commissioner of Public Works which waiver shall be recorded in the County Records Office. Proof of such recording shall be given to the Commissioner of Public Works before any sewer permit for below street grade units is issued.

7.  Notwithstanding the above, the application for such below street grade units shall furnish the Commissioner of Public Works with proof to show that occupants of the below street grade units are protected by a bond, fiscal surety or a signed waiver of claims for a period of three years after occupancy

8. This regulation shall take place immediately upon its first printing.

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


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Monday: 8:30am-8pm
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Friday: 8:30am-12pm