Pay your water bill online

81009 83017 0Please visit the Unibank site to pay your water or tax bills online.

Water Treatment Plant Information

Town Meeting, held on May 6, 2014, approved funding for the design of a water treatment plant.  

We have hired an Owner's Project Manager and Designer.  Design work is now underway.  A more detailed status report is available online.

Water Dept. Twitter Feed

TopsfieldWater House fire on Kinsman Lane. Water will likely be discolored in town due to firefighting operations.
TopsfieldWater Any rain is good rain but today's will do little to reverse the drought. Please continue to conserve water and follow water restrictions.
TopsfieldWater High water use coupled with drought is making it harder to maintain water quality. Please conserve water or quality will deteriorate.
TopsfieldWater Still very dry, please conserve water. Ten more water restriction violation notices being mailed today, including one fine.
TopsfieldWater Main supply wells at lowest level for this time of year based on 13 years of record. Lots of summer weather left so please conserve water.
TopsfieldWater Ipswich River flow hit new low, 3.8 cubic feet per second. Previous low 6.9 cfs (1957), median flow 39 cfs based on 86 years of record.
TopsfieldWater Issuing water restriction violations. 1st offense a warning, fines for subsequent infractions. List of violations -
TopsfieldWater Providing temporary water service to Andrews Farm Road in Boxford following their pressure tank failure.
TopsfieldWater Pilot study test report approved by MassDEP. Preliminary work complete, design of actual treatment plant can begin.
TopsfieldWater Main break on River Road near Prospect Street.

Highway Dept. Twitter Feed

topsfieldDPW @Craig37730393 @cbsboston @KateMerrill our vote too! Kate & @chrisWBZ have the chemistry AND the local knowledge!
topsfieldDPW @WessieThon I'll put you on speed dial in case we do! #youmakehousecalls?
topsfieldDPW For those of you just hearing about the python in Maine, it has a presence on Twitter @WessieThon it's been a very amusing summer...
topsfieldDPW @WesternMEwx no apology necessary or warranted, Mike. Enjoy this great wx! We need a drought busting pattern, after Labor Day of course....
topsfieldDPW @WesternMEwx your "old school" side is showing and appreciated!!
topsfieldDPW @WesternMEwx .not trying to, Mike, but can be used as the same thing in same circumstances if set up correctly. Deeply respect your opinion.
topsfieldDPW @WesternMEwx more than 90% of Americans have cell phones. Many of those replace landlines. More have them on 24/7 than you think, Mike.
topsfieldDPW RT @wenhampolice: Water main break Topsfield Rd, Route 97 detour NB at Cedar St, crews working on the break. SB Topsfield Rd open.
topsfieldDPW @WCVB @LynchieWCVB @HarveyWCVB good stuff right there...Lynchie brought his A game! #wellplayed
topsfieldDPW RT @TopsfieldWater: House fire on Kinsman Lane. Water will likely be discolored in town due to firefighting operations.


Main Break 6/15/2016 - Ross Road

The water main on Ross Road near the River Road intersection broke at 4:20 PM on June 15th.  River Road from Washington Street to the Town Line, Brook Road, Ross Road and Williams Road will be without water service until the main is repaired.  Water service should over night.  Some customers will have discolored water as a result of the main break.  Do not drink the discolored water (Manganese Advisory) and do not use any hot water until the cold water clears.

Main Break 6/16/2016 - River Road

The water main on River Road near the Prospect Street intersection broke at 4:30 AM on June 16th.  River Road from Prospect Street to the #68 will be without water service until the main is repaired.  Some customers will have discolored water as a result of the main break.  Do not drink the discolored water (Manganese Advisory) and do not use any hot water until the cold water clears.

Single Family Residence Water Use Comparison

One of the common questions we receive is "How does my water use compare to the average home?".  Answering the question is not easy because volumes used by single family homes can vary over a wide range and depend on the number of occupants, water use habits, irrigation habits, etc. We analyzed the monthly water use records for the past 5 years for 1,582 single family home connected to our water system. The following table displays the results and attempts to give an idea of how water is used in the Town.

   Single Family Home

 Monthly Water Use in Average Gallons Per Day

 Percentile  Jan Feb  Mar  Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum   1,049  1,450  3,633 2,522 3,565 4,470 7,979 5,686 7,787 3,503 1,644 1,894
95%  269  256  259  306 383 640 630 526 413 315 271 265
80% 185 177 175 199 240 302 287 246 220 203 190 187
Median 128 121 123 137 149 169 164 148 141 134 130 131
20% 81 76 76 88 97 104 101 94 89 87 83 84
5% 45 40 37 49 54 56 54 47 49 49 45 48

Water Commissioners

The Board of Water Commissioners is comprised of three elected officials serving staggered three-year terms.  Current members are:

Philip Knowles, Chairman

Richard Stone, Clerk

Mark Gallagher, Member

Overdue Accounts

If your bill is not paid by the due date then a notice will be sent to you concerning the late payment. Your balance may be subject to a late fee. If your bill is not paid within 30 days after the due date then a second notice will be mailed to you. You may be subject to another late fee and your water service may be terminated if the bill is not paid within ten business days.

Unpaid bills represent a lien on your property by the Town of Topsfield pursuant to the Massachusetts General Law GLC 40, Section 42A-42F.

Local Permits

Prior to the creation of any cross connection or installation of a double check valve assembly or reduced pressure backflow preventer, the owner or their agent must file for a Cross Connection Permit. Click here to obtain the permit application form.

The permit will be reviewed to make sure the proper device is selected to protect the cross connection and that the proposed installation meets the requirements of 310 CMR 22.22. Applicants should take care to make sure all requirements are met otherwise the permit can not be issued.

Once the permit is approved and all other required permits have been obtained the applicant can proceed with installation of the device(s). Once installed the devices must be inspected and tested.

Online Banking Systems

Customers that use online banking systems should send payments to the Town Collector, 8 West Common Street, Topsfield, MA 01983 rather than the Post Office Box listed on the return envelope. Online banking systems, except for the Town's Unibank system, do not issue payments electronically - the bank issues a printed check and mails it. Sometimes the check isn't mailed for several days.

The PO Box on the return envelope is actually a Century Bank automated lock box that processes payments based on information printed on the bill stub. If the scan line beneath the stub's mailing address is unreadable, or the stub is missing, then the lock box rejects the payment and forwards it to the Town Hall for manual processing.

In the event you need to make a payment to avoid a late penalty or termination of service, the safest thing to do is drop your payment off at the Town Hall. The Town Treasurer & Collector's Office hours are posted online and there is a drop box at the front door near the Town Clerks' Office that is checked daily. Late fees are typically calculated seven days after the due date to allow for any payments that might have been in transit near the due date.

Including the bill stub with your payment helps reduce our labor costs by reducing the number of hours spent processing and posting manual payments.

Help prevent cross connections

What is a cross connection? It's an actual or potential connection between a potable water line and any waste pipe, soil pipe, sewer, drain or other unapproved source. These connections pose a threat to public health by allowing contaminants to be siphoned or forced into the public drinking water system under certain hydraulic conditions.

In a residential setting, cross connections include submerged hoses, lawn irrigation systems, chemical spray applicators, connections to private wells, boilers, solar heating systems and fire sprinkler systems. These connections, if left unprotected, could introduce contaminants to the water system. Consumers play an important role in protecting public health by notifying the Water Department of any cross connections and helping to eliminate or properly protect the connection by installing a backflow prevention device.

Read more: Help prevent cross connections

Bill Frequency

Beginning in July 2008, the majority of our customers are billed on a quarterly basis. One third of our customers are billed each month to distribute the workload and cash flow as evenly as possible over the year. Each quarter contains 3 billing cycles. Cycle #1 customers are billed during the first month of the quarter - January, April, July and October. Cycle #2 customers are billed in February, May, August and November. Cycle #3 customers are billed in March, June, September and December.

We are happy to bill customers monthly if they wish. This is a popular option for some residents that participated in the monthly billing pilot study and with customers that want to monitor their water use and related expenses at a finer scale.

Why are backflow prevention devices tested?

Most backflow devices do not need to be tested or are not testable. However, two types of devices used to protect connections that pose the highest hazards need to be tested regularly.

Double Check Valve Assemblies (DCVA) are typically found on fire protection systems that are made of non-potable materials and have a fire truck connection. These devices prevent contaminated water from being drawn into the distribution system during main breaks or water being forced into the distribution system if the Fire Department uses the truck connection. DCVAs need to be tested on an annual basis.

Reduced Pressure Backflow Preventer (RP) are found on the highest hazard connections. These devices are designed to protect the water system even if part of the device fails. They are found on connections that a high risk such as chemical mixing tanks, heating systems containing chemical additives, fire protection systems with chemical additives and x-ray developers. RPs are tested once every six months.

Testing these devices ensures they are being maintained and in proper working order. The owner of the device has 14 days to repair or replace a device that has failed a test.

MassDEP Backflow Requirements

sinkWe are required to run a Cross Connection Control Program by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. DEP regulations, 310 CMR 22.22, along with the plumbing code govern cross connections.

According to DEP regulations, public water suppliers are required to:

  1. Control cross connections to the last free flowing outlet of the consumer.
  2. Have an approved Cross Connection Control Program (CCCP)
  3. Inspect all non-residential properties connected to the distribution system for cross connections.
  4. Maintain records including all correspondence, program plan, testing records, violation notices and other documents for inspection by DEP.
  5. Ensure all devices are tested by a DEP Certified Backflow Prevention Device Tester and all surveys are conducted by a DEP Certified Cross Connection Control Surveyor.
  6. Establishing a cross connection control program for residential customers including an educational component.
  7. Not allowing any cross connections in the system unless properly permitted and approved.
  8. Ensuring all double check valve assemblies and reduced pressure backflow preventers are tested according to schedule.
  9. Notifying owner's of the connections when they are in violation of the regulations.

Owners of the connections are required to:

  1. Notify the public water supplier of any connections protected by a double check valve assembly or reduced pressure backflow preventer.
  2. Make suitable arrangements so the devices can be inspected and tested during normal business hours.
  3. Maintain spare parts kits and any special tools needed to repair their devices.
  4. Overhaul, repair or replace any device that fails a test or is otherwise defective within 14 days of the initial inspection.
  5. Submit copies of inspection and maintenance forms to the water supplier.
  6. Maintain on premises testing records, approvals and other documents pertaining to the device(s).
  7. Make certain devices are tested according to DEP regulations or as required by the water supplier.

Water Department FY2015 Capital Requests

The Water Department is requesting four capital items for FY2015.  The requests inlcude:

  • $100,000 for the Perkins Row Station Rehabiiltation Project design work
  • $250,000 for storage tank repairs and improvements 
  • $1.1 million for water main replacement on Washington Street from Colrain Road to River Road
  • $800,000 for the Water Treatment Plant design work

More information is available in this presentation or by contacting the Water Department.

May 2014 Update: Town Meeting approved all of the requests.


  • Water Commissioners
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  • Billing

    The Water Department bills for water usage and other fees based on rates set by the Board of Water Commissioners. A rate hearing is usually held in the spring and is advertised in local papers. Click here for a listing of our current rates and charges. The revenue generated funds the Department's activities and capital improvements. We operate on an enterprise accounting system that keeps our funds completely separate from other Town departments.

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  • Cross Connection Control Program (Backflow)

    Welcome to our cross connection section. These connections are a specific class of connections to the distribution system that pose or could pose a health risk. Some of the more common cross connections in Topsfield include:

    • Filling a swimming pool with a garden hose while the end of the hose is below the flood rim of the pool.
    • Certain types of fire suppression systems.
    • Chemical mixing tanks.
    • Certain types of heating, ventilation and cooling systems.

    Cross connections are pathways that could introduce contamination to the water distribution system under certain hydraulic conditions. We are required by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to run a Cross Connection Control Program to make sure these connections are properly protected by a backflow prevention device or eliminated. Some devices require annual or semi-annual testing based on the degree of hazard and we are required to make sure tests are done according to MassDEP's schedule.

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  • Projects
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    • Capital Projects & Planning
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    • Hydrant Flushing

      Hydrants are flushed twice a year.  The spring flushing program typically begins in April and the fall program begins in October.  Each round takes approximately five weeks.

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  • Water Resources Management
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    • MassDEP Regulations

      The Water Management Act gives the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection the authority to regulate ground water and surface water withdrawals in excess of 0.100 million gallons per day (MGD). The Water Management Act was enacted during the 1980's and there were quite a few water suppliers that fell under the new regulations. The regulations created what is refered to as a "registration" volume which is the amount of water historically withdrawn by the supplier at the time DEP's regulation took affect. Some suppliers have filed for water management permits to allow withdrawals in excess of the registration volume. The Town of Topsfield currently has a registration volume of 0.430 MGD and a permitted volume of 0.170 MGD.

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    • Unaccounted For Water
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    • Outdoor Water Use Restrictions
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  • Water Quality
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  • Water Rates
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  • Water Department Rules & Regulations
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  • Finances

    This section contains information about the Water Department finances.

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Water Department

279 Boston Street

Topsfield, MA 01983


978.887.1543 (Fax)

911 -  After Hours Emergency

Hours: Monday-Friday 7 AM to 3:30 PM

Highway Department

279 Boston Street

Topsfield, MA 01983


978.887.1543 (Fax)

Hours: Monday-Friday 7 AM to 3 PM