NCSL Logo 2018 Online Democracy Award Winner
Skip to Content
The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 30: Powers of district commission

Section 30. A district commission: (i) may act by a majority vote of the full commission; (ii) shall adopt by-laws and regulations for the conduct of its affairs; (iii) shall adopt a name and a corporate seal; (iv) may sue and be sued; (v) may enter into contracts, (vi) may incur expenses in order to carry out its purposes; (vii) may issue bonds and notes as hereinafter provided; (viii) may acquire, dispose of and encumber real and personal property for the purposes of the district; (ix) may manage, control and supervise abatement facilities; (x) may construct, acquire, improve and maintain and operate abatement facilities; (xi) may exercise the power of eminent domain under chapter 79; (xii) shall provide revenue to carry out the purposes of the district in accordance with sections 35 and 36; (xiii) may apply for, accept and receive financial assistance from the federal government and the commonwealth; and (xiv) shall apply for and hold permits issued by the department of environmental protection and any other federal or state regulatory agency required for those facilities and operations necessary to prevent, control or abate water pollution.

A district commission may lay out, construct, maintain and operate a system of common sewers and main drains in public or private ways for a part or the whole of its territory as it adjudges necessary for the public health or convenience with such connections and other works as may be required for a system of sewerage and drainage, stormwater treatment and disposal and sewage treatment and disposal including, but not limited to, alternative wastewater treatment techniques approved or permitted by the department of environmental protection and proposed as part of an approved area-wide wastewater management plan adopted under Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act. Such works for sewage treatment and disposal may include: (i) any wastewater treatment facility for treating, neutralizing or stabilizing sewage, including treatment or disposal plants; (ii) the necessary intercepting, outfall and outlet sewers; (iii) pumping stations integral to such facilities; and (iv) equipment and appurtenances related to the foregoing and the facilities, structures or other measures for alternative wastewater management treatment techniques. The works for drainage may include a stormwater treatment facility or measure of treating, or removing sediment or contaminants from, stormwater discharges. For the purposes of this chapter, ''sewage'' shall mean water-carried human or animal wastes from homes, public buildings, commercial or industrial establishments or any combination thereof and shall include any surface or ground water that may be present therein. For the purposes of this chapter, ''stormwater'' shall mean surface runoff from precipitation.

A district commission may install and maintain, in any public or private way in the district where sanitary sewers are constructed, such connecting sewers within the limits of such way as may be necessary to connect any estate which abuts upon the way.

No act shall be done except in the making of surveys, reports and other preliminary investigations until the plan for any such system of sewerage and sewage treatment and disposal has been approved by the department of environmental protection.

A district commission may acquire, install, operate, maintain, remove, repair or replace any septic system located within its district.

A district commission may take by eminent domain under chapter 79 or acquire by purchase or otherwise any lands, rights of way or easements, public or private, in the district which may be necessary for accomplishing any of the purposes of this section and may construct such sewers or drains under or over any bridge, railroad, railway, or public way, or within the location of any railroad, and may enter upon and dig up any private land, public way or railroad location for the purpose of laying such sewers or drains and maintaining and repairing the same and may do any other thing proper or necessary for the purposes of this section; provided, however, the commission shall not take in fee any land of a railroad corporation and shall not enter upon or construct any sewer or drain within the location of any railroad corporation, except at such time and in such manner as it may agree upon with such any railroad corporation or, in case of failure to agree, as may be approved by the department of telecommunications and energy. Any person whose property is injured by any such action may recover damages from the district under chapter 79.

A district commission may make contracts with, or may go to aid any other city, town, commission or district with regard to the operation, repair and maintenance of the physical properties of its system of sewers and drains. Members of such districts while in the performance of their duties under any such contracts or in extending such aid shall have the same immunities and privileges as if performing the same work in their respective cities, towns, commissions and districts. Any city, town, commission or district aided under this section shall compensate the district rendering aid as aforesaid for such aid and for the whole or any part of any damage to its property sustained in the course of rendering such aid. Any contracts under this section may be for a period not exceeding 20 years.