Lancaster Sewer District Commission

Lancaster Massachusetts

Home > Customer Service > General Abatements

Abatements

From time to time, there may be circumstances where customers can quantify water use that was clearly not discharged to the sewer, such as a new pool fill up.  Additionally, customers may run into circumstances where there has been an error in the calculation of their bill.  These calculation errors can occur due to bad data reported to the District or prior payments being recorded incorrectly.  Billing adjustments and abatements are made in accordance with this Abatement policy adopted by the Commission June 11, 2014.  

Requests for abatements may be filed with our online form submission at left or may be downloaded and submitted in paper form.

In general, for an abatement to be considered the customer must file an Abatement Request within 6 months of the usage bill date, the account must otherwise be in good standing with no late payments due, and the abatement must fit into one of the four general categories in the policy.

The District also has a special program and an associated separate policy for Second Meter / Outdoor Water Use Abatements which utilizes a second meter for outdoor water usage.


Requests

Requests for billing changes (adjustments or abatements) must be submitted within six (6) months of the usage bill date.  Applications received after 6 months will be evaluated at the discretion of the Commission. In general, no retroactive adjustments will be made for billing periods ending more than twelve (12) months before the request was submitted.  

Those customers requesting an abatement of charges must complete a Sewer Usage Abatement Request Form signed by the property owner and submit it to the Sewer Commission.  Customers seeking an abatement of charges due to a leak or pool filling must submit repair invoices and proof of payment with their application.  

No application for abatement or adjustment will be accepted on any account unless all amounts due on that account, including interest and penalties, for all billing periods prior to the contested period covered by the abatement or adjustment application have been paid in full.  

The filing of a Sewer Use Abatement Request Form does not relieve the applicant of the responsibility to pay their current sewer usage bill in full by the due date specified.  

Customers are eligible to apply for abatement adjustments for specific one-time incidents such as pool fill-ups or water leaks once every three years.  It is incumbent upon the customer to correct the issues causing the need for the abatement in as timely a manner as possible.  This provision may be waived by the Sewer Commission in extraordinary cases.


Abatement Types

The Commission categorizes abatements into four different uses: Seasonal Outdoor, Pool Abatements, Leak/Meter Abatements and Miscellaneous One-Time Abatements.  Applications for abatements or requests for adjustments for reasons other than those stated in this policy must be made in writing to the Commission which will determine the validity of the request and the amount of any abatement or adjustment.  A customer's inability to pay a water or sewer bill shall not be grounds for abatement under this policy.


     1. Seasonal Outdoor Water Use Abatements: For metered seasonal outdoor water use will only be considered when a second water meter is installed and pre-approved by the Commission.  Please review the Commission’s Policy for the Second Meter Program for more details.  

     2. Pool Abatements:  For abatements of water volumes used for one time pool fill-ups.  This adjustment does not apply to seasonal refilling or topping off.    A calculation will be performed (based on the size of the pool) to determine the amount of water used to fill the pool.  The sewer charge for that volume of water will be abated.  Customers requesting a pool abatement must provide details on the capacity and size of the pool and must state the billing period in which the filling of the pool occurred.  

     3. Leak and Meter Abatements: For abatements of water volumes caused by leaks that were not discharged to the sewer.  This includes leaks on outdoor water pipes or on pipes prior to plumbing fixtures.  This does not include leaking toilet valves or faucets.  If the actual volume of the leak cannot be confirmed by the water department the total usage for the period in which the leak occurred will be compared to 1.5 times the averaged usage for the same period from the preceding three years.  The abated amount will be equal to the amount of water usage recorded less the calculated average.

     4. Miscellaneous One-Time Abatements:  For one time abatements and billing adjustments not anticipated by the Commission.  These will be considered on a case-by-case basis and any adjustment granted will be based on the circumstances described by the customer and by review of historical usage data.


Submission of Requests for Adjustments and Abatements

Customers seeking abatements or requesting adjustments must file a Sewer Use Abatement Form with the Sewer Commission as soon as possible after identification of a need for abatement.

Forms may be filed with our online form submission or may be downloaded and submitted in paper form.

The Form shall be filled out to the best of the Customer’s ability and include all requested documentation.  An administrative fee will be charged for the review of the abatement in accordance with the abatement type.  There are no fees charged for abatements or adjustments deemed to be caused by a meter or billing error.

The completed form, and any applicable documents and fees, must be submitted as a complete package for consideration.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.

If the customer has not submitted a Sewer Use Abatement Form or needs assistance in filing the form a representative of the Commission may assist and fill out the form for the customer. By so doing, the Commission undertakes no responsibility for the correctness or the completeness of the application or request except with regard to information furnished from the records of the Sewer Commission.

Submission of a Sewer Use Abatement Form does not guarantee that an abatement will be granted nor does it relieve the customer from paying any outstanding bills on time.

The Commission will review all outstanding abatement requests as part of the regular public meeting agenda and customers are encouraged to attend and further explain the basis for their request.  If the Commission determines that a billing adjustment or abatement as provided in this policy is necessary, the Commission will approve the abatement at a meeting of the Commission and provide notice to the customer noting that the approved amount has been credited to their account.  If the Commission determines that an adjustment or abatement is not due on the account the customer will be notified in writing as to the reasons for denial.  

The Commission will endeavor to respond promptly to abatement applications and requests for adjustment within 30 days after the date that a completed application is submitted.  In some circumstances additional information may be needed which may delay response times.  

In a small number of cases abatements have been submitted that are speculative, fraudulent, or clearly do not meet the criteria for an abatement.  These abatement requests take up valuable staff time to process and review. If a submission is determined to fall into this category or if extensive hand calculations and account research is necessary to quantify a request the Commission may charge an administrative calculation fee.

File an

Abatement

Use this form to file a General Abatement

.