TITLE X
PUBLIC HEALTH

Chapter 149-I
SEWERS

Section 149-I:1

    149-I:1 Construction. – The mayor and aldermen of any city may construct and maintain all main drains or common sewers, stormwater treatment, conveyance, and discharge systems, sewage and/or waste treatment, works which they adjudge necessary for the public convenience, health or welfare. Such drains, sewers, and systems shall be substantially constructed of brick, stone, cement, or other material adapted to the purpose, and shall be the property of the city.

Source. 1870, 5:1, 6. GL 78:6, 11. PS 79:2. PL 95:3. RL 111:3. 1945, 188, part 22:4. RSA 252:4. 1961, 120:4. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:1, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:2

    149-I:2 Taking Land. – Whenever it is necessary to construct such main drains or common sewers, stormwater treatment, conveyance, and discharge systems, sewage and/or waste treatment facilities across or on the land of any person and the city cannot obtain for a reasonable price any land or easement in land required by it, the mayor and aldermen may lay out a sufficient quantity of such land for the purpose and assess the owner's damages in the same manner as in the case of taking land for highways pursuant to RSA 230 and the owner shall have the same right of appeal, with the same procedure.

Source. 1873, 29:1. GL 78:13. PS 79:3. PL 95:4. RL 111:4. 1945, 188, part 22:5. RSA 252:5. 1967, 300:3. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:2, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:3

    149-I:3 Water Pollution. – Any city which shall have received an order by the department of environmental services under the provisions of RSA 147, 485, or 485-A shall proceed forthwith to acquire whatever easements and lands as are necessary to comply with said order and may enter upon, for the purpose of survey leading to land description, any land of any person. In so proceeding the mayor and aldermen shall institute any necessary land taking in accordance with the provisions of RSA 149-I:2 and, anything contained in RSA 231 or in the statutes generally notwithstanding, the decision of the mayor and aldermen shall not be vacated and any subsequent appeal or other action by the owner or owners shall be based solely on the amount of damages assessed, and the mayor and aldermen or their duly appointed agents shall have full right of immediate entry for the purpose of detailed surveys, borings, or the conduct of any and all other actions necessary or desirable to aid the city in the implementation of the order by the department of environmental services.

Source. RSA 252:5-a. 1969, 377:4. 1981, 87:2. 1986, 202:6, I(a). 1989, 339:19. 1996, 228:108, eff. July 1, 1996.

Section 149-I:4

    149-I:4 Contracts; Sewage or Waste Treatment Facilities. – The mayor and aldermen of any city may lease, enter into contracts to provide, sell, or purchase stormwater treatment, conveyance, and discharge systems, and sewage or waste treatment facilities to or from any other city, town, village district or person whenever they judge the same necessary for the public convenience, health and welfare.

Source. 1949, 77:1. RSA 252:6. 1961, 120:5. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:3, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:4-a

    149-I:4-a Contracts for Private Construction and Reimbursement. –
I. A municipality adopting this section may contract with a private nongovernmental entity for the design, construction, and funding of a new sewer or sewerage system, or addition or modification thereto, but not for the subsequent maintenance thereof, meeting approved governmental standards of design and construction, for any such project for which the municipality may incur indebtedness under RSA 33, and may hold, expend, or distribute funds pursuant to the terms of such contract with a private nongovernmental entity; provided that sewer rentals, fees, and other charges received from persons benefitting from the sewer project may be used for the repayment of costs of design and construction funded by the private nongovernmental entity.
II. A municipality may adopt the provisions of this section allowing the board of sewer commissioners, board of public works commissioners, sewer department, or appropriate governing body to enter into a contract with a private nongovernmental entity, as described in this section, by the following method:
(a) In a town, other than a town that has adopted a charter pursuant to RSA 49-D, the question shall be placed on the warrant of a special or annual town meeting, by the governing body or by petition pursuant to RSA 39:3.
(b) In a city or town that has adopted a charter pursuant to RSA 49-C or RSA 49-D, the legislative body may consider and act upon the question in accordance with its normal procedures for passage of resolutions, ordinances, and other legislation. In the alternative, the legislative body of such municipality may vote to place the question on the official ballot for any regular municipal election.
(c) The vote shall specify the provisions of this section allowing for a contract with a private nongovernmental entity for the design, construction, and funding of a sewer or sewerage system or addition or modification thereto. If a majority of those voting on the question vote "yes," the procedure shall be available within the town or city on the date set by the governing body.
(d) A municipality may rescind the adoption provided in subparagraph (c) in the manner described in this paragraph.
III. The contract may provide for the transfer of sewer rentals, fees, and other charges as follows:
(a) Sewer rentals assessed under RSA 149-I:8 and system development charges for persons benefiting from the sewer project, held in a sewer fund under RSA 149-I:10, may be used for repayment of the costs of design and construction incurred by a private nongovernmental entity pursuant to the terms of the contract.
(b) Sewer rentals which would otherwise have been assessed to the private nongovernmental entity may be considered as sewer rentals levied, paid, and credited to the repayment under subparagraph (a).
IV. The contract shall provide for the following:
(a) Sewer rentals, fees, and other charges collected from persons served by the sewer project shall be separately accounted for within the sewer fund.
(b) No repayment obligation in the contract shall be made from funds other than from such separately accounted for sewer rentals, fees, and other charges in the sewer fund.
(c) The total of repayments under the contract shall not exceed the total costs of design and construction incurred by a private nongovernmental entity for the project.
(d) The contract shall contain a clause stating that no municipal general funds shall be appropriated for the repayment obligations under the contract.
(e) The contract under this section shall not be considered complete and enforceable until the final agreement is approved by majority vote of the governing body of the municipality.
V. The repayment obligation pursuant to a contract under this section shall at no time be included in the net indebtedness of the municipality for the purposes of RSA 33.

Source. 2014, 4:2, eff. April 11, 2014.

Section 149-I:5

    149-I:5 Inconsistent Charter Provisions Repealed. – The provisions of any city charter inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter are hereby repealed as to the extent of such inconsistency.

Source. 1949, 77:2. RSA 252:7. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981.

Section 149-I:6

    149-I:6 Bylaws and Ordinances. –
I. In municipalities where the sewage is pumped or treated, the mayor and aldermen may adopt such ordinances and bylaws relating to the sewage system, pumping station, treatment plant or other appurtenant structure as are required for proper maintenance and operation and to promote the objectives of the sewage system.
I-a. In municipalities where stormwater is collected and discharged, the mayor and aldermen or town governing body may, with the advice of the planning board when requested by the governing body, adopt such ordinances and bylaws as are required for the proper maintenance and operation of the stormwater system or stormwater utility and any appurtenant structures, and to promote flood control and erosion control, water quality management, ecological preservation, management of annual pollutant load contained in stormwater discharge, and municipal compliance with applicable state and federal stormwater laws and regulations.
II. Any person who violates any ordinance or bylaw adopted pursuant to paragraph I of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per day of such violation.
III. A municipality shall give notice of the alleged violation to the department of environmental services within 10 days of commencement of any action under this section.

Source. 1941, 201:1. RL 111:5. 1945, 188, part 22:6. RSA 252:8. 1973, 531:83. 1981, 87:2. 1988, 241:1. 1994, 95:4. 1996, 228:108, eff. July 1, 1996. 2008, 295:4, eff. Aug. 26, 2008. 2015, 247:1, eff. Sept. 11, 2015.

Stormwater Utilities

Section 149-I:6-a

    149-I:6-a Definitions. –
In this chapter:
I. " Equivalent residential unit " or " ERU " means the fee unit basis for all fees assessed by a stormwater utility.
II. " Stormwater " means surface runoff and drainage that is generated from precipitation and snowmelt, including any debris, chemicals, sediment, or other substances carried along with the water.
III. " Stormwater utility " means a special assessment district established to generate funding specifically for stormwater management.
IV. " Stormwater utility commission " means the governing body managing the activities of the stormwater utility. When the utility encompasses more than one municipality, representation on the commission shall be proportional to the number of fee units within each jurisdiction.

Source. 2008, 295:5, eff. Aug. 26, 2008. 2012, 132:1, eff. Aug. 4, 2012.

Section 149-I:6-b

    149-I:6-b Stormwater Utility Authorized. – The formation of a stormwater utility is hereby authorized upon approval by a majority vote of the legislative body of a municipality. In the case where a stormwater utility encompasses land within more than one municipality, the utility may be authorized by majority vote of the legislative bodies within each affected jurisdiction. Inter-municipal stormwater utilities shall be governed by a stormwater utility commission.

Source. 2008, 295:5, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:6-c

    149-I:6-c Criteria for Stormwater Utilities. –
The stormwater utility shall address flood and erosion control, water quality management, ecological preservation, and annual pollutant load contained in stormwater discharge.
I. Utilities may collect reasonable fees that are directly related to the cost of providing services.
II. Properties charged assessments shall have equal opportunity to receive proportional benefit from the utility.
III. The utility shall offer credits or fee abatements based on on-site management of water quality impairment or peak runoff storage, or both. The utility shall adopt design standards to determine the amount of abatement.
IV. In assessing fees, the stormwater utility district shall forecast the annual cost of each component in the district's stormwater management program. This forecast shall be the basis for annual assessments distributed equally among the number of fee units within the district.
V. A minimum assessment may be established for fee units based on single family residences. This equivalent residential unit (ERU) can serve as the fee unit basis for all fees. Government property and non-profit organizations shall be subject to the fee structure.
VI. Boundaries of the district are not required to coincide with municipal boundaries.

Source. 2008, 295:5, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:6-d

    149-I:6-d System for Fee Units. –
Each stormwater utility commission shall establish a system for fee units based on at least one of the following property-specific attributes:
I. Total impervious area.
II. Calculated lot runoff.
III. Total lot area.
IV. Land use classification developed for assessment of fees.

Source. 2008, 295:5, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Assessment for Sewers

Section 149-I:7

    149-I:7 Levying. – The mayor and aldermen may assess upon the persons whose drains enter such main drains, common sewers, stormwater treatment, conveyance, and discharge systems, or treatment facilities, or whose lands receive special benefit therefrom in any way, their just share of the expense of constructing and maintaining the same or paying off any capital debt or interest incurred in constructing and/or maintaining the same.

Source. 1870, 5:2. 1872, 25:1. GL 78:7. PS 79:4. PL 95:5. RL 111:6. 1945, 188, part 22:7. RSA 252:9. 1961, 120:6. 1973, 483:1. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:6, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:8

    149-I:8 Sewer Rentals. – For the defraying of the cost of construction, payment of the interest on any debt incurred, management, maintenance, operation, and repair of newly constructed sewer systems, including newly constructed sewage or waste treatment and disposal works, the mayor and aldermen may establish a scale of rents to be called sewer rents, and to prescribe the manner in which and the time at which such rents are to be paid and to change such scale from time to time as may be deemed advisable. Except in the case of institutional, industrial or manufacturing use, the amount of such rents shall be based upon either the consumption of water on the premises connected with the sewer system, or the number of persons served on the premises connected with the sewer system, or whether the user is on a pressure or gravity system, or upon some other equitable basis.

Source. 1933, 98:2. RL 111:7. 1945, 188, part 22:8. RSA 252:10. 1961, 120:7. 1971, 289:1. 1981, 87:2. 1987, 142:1, eff. July 6, 1987.

Section 149-I:9

    149-I:9 Combined Billing Permitted. – In municipalities which assess sewer rents, or have established fees for a stormwater utility, such assessments may be combined in a bill with assessments for other municipal services.

Source. RSA 252:10-a. 1975, 299:1. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:7, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:10

    149-I:10 Sewer Funds. –
I. The funds received from the collection of sewer rentals shall be kept as a separate and distinct fund to be known as the sewer fund. Such fund shall be allowed to accumulate from year to year, shall not be commingled with town or city tax revenues, and shall not be deemed part of the municipality's general fund accumulated surplus. Such fund may be expended only for the purposes specified in RSA 149-I:8, or for the previous expansion or replacement of sewage lines or sewage treatment facilities.
II. Except when a capital reserve fund is established pursuant to paragraph III, all sewer funds shall be held in the custody of the municipal treasurer. Estimates of anticipated sewer rental revenues and anticipated expenditures from the sewer fund shall be submitted to the governing body as set forth in RSA 32:4 if applicable, and shall be included either as part of the municipal operating budget or as a separate warrant article submitted to the local legislative body for approval. In a town or district that has adopted the official ballot referendum form of meeting, any such separate warrant article shall include a default amount as provided in RSA 40:13, XI-a. If the municipality has a properly-established board of sewer commissioners, then notwithstanding RSA 41:29 or RSA 48:16, the treasurer shall pay out amounts from the sewer fund only upon order of the board of sewer commissioners. Expenditures shall be within amounts appropriated by the local legislative body. The sewer commission shall also remit to the municipality those costs incurred by the municipality in support of sewer operations, including but not limited to financial audit, facility insurance, treasurer compensation, and office support.
III. At the option of the local governing body, or of the board of sewer commissioners if any, all or part of any surplus in the sewer fund may be placed in one or more capital reserve funds and held in the custody of the trustees of trust funds pursuant to RSA 35:7. If such a reserve fund is created, then the governing body, or board of sewer commissioners if any, may expend such funds pursuant to RSA 35:15 without prior approval or appropriation by the local legislative body, but all such expenditures shall be reported to the municipality pursuant to RSA 149-I:25. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the establishment of other capital reserve funds for any lawful purpose relating to municipal water systems.
IV. The sewer fund may be used for the repayment of the costs of design, construction, and funding provided for by contract under RSA 149-I:4-a.

Source. 1933, 98:2. RL 111:8. 1945, 188, part 22:9. RSA 252:11. 1973, 483:2. 1979, 492:1. 1981, 87:2. 1994, 95:5, eff. July 8, 1994. 2012, 138:1, eff. Aug. 4, 2012. 2013, 191:1, eff. Aug. 31, 2013. 2014, 4:3, eff. April 11, 2014.

Section 149-I:10-a

    149-I:10-a Stormwater Utility Fund. –
I. The funds received from stormwater utility fees shall be kept as a separate and distinct fund to be known as the stormwater utility fund. Such fund shall be allowed to accumulate from year to year, shall not be commingled with town or city tax revenues, and shall not be deemed part of the municipality's general fund accumulated surplus. Such fund may be expended only for stormwater treatment, conveyance, and discharge systems.
II. Except when a capital reserve fund is established pursuant to paragraph III, all stormwater utility funds shall be held in the custody of the municipal treasurer. Estimates of anticipated revenues and anticipated expenditures from the stormwater utility fund shall be submitted to the governing body as set forth in RSA 32:6 if applicable, and shall be included as part of the municipal budget submitted to the local legislative body for approval. If the municipality has a properly established stormwater utility commission, then notwithstanding RSA 41:29 or RSA 48:16, the treasurer shall pay out amounts from the stormwater utility fund only upon order of the stormwater utility commission. Expenditures shall be within amounts appropriated by the local legislative body.
III. At the option of the local governing body, or of the stormwater utility commission if any, all or part of any surplus in the stormwater utility fund may be placed in one or more capital reserve funds and placed in the custody of the trustees of trust funds pursuant to RSA 35:7. If such a reserve fund is created, then the governing body, or stormwater utility commission if any, may expend such funds pursuant to RSA 35:15 without prior approval or appropriation by the local legislative body, but all such expenditures shall be reported to the municipality pursuant to RSA 149-I:25. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the establishment of other capital reserve funds for any lawful purpose relating to municipal water systems.

Source. 2008, 295:8, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:11

    149-I:11 Liens and Collection of Sewer Charges. – In the collection of sewer charges or stormwater utility fees under RSA 149-I:7 and 149-I:8, municipalities shall have the same liens and use the same collection procedures as authorized by RSA 38:22. Interest on overdue charges shall be assessed in accordance with RSA 76:13.

Source. 1870, 5:3. 1872, 25:1. 1875, 36:3. GL 78:3, 8. PS 79:5. PL 95:6. 1933, 98:3. RL 119:9. 1945, 188, part 22:10. 1949, 80:1. RSA 252:12. 1981, 87:2. 1985, 110:2. 1991, 269:12, eff. July 1, 1991. 2008, 295:9, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:12

    149-I:12 Repealed by 1985, 110:5, I, eff. July 9, 1985. –

Section 149-I:13

    149-I:13 Repealed by 1985, 110:5, II, eff. July 9, 1985. –

Section 149-I:14

    149-I:14 Correction of Assessments. –
I. If any error is made in any assessment under RSA 149-I:7 or RSA 149-I:8, it may be corrected by the mayor and aldermen by making an abatement and a new assessment, or either, as the case may require. The same lien, rights, liabilities and remedies shall attach to the new assessment as to the original.
II. If any error is made in any assessment under RSA 149-I:6-c or RSA 149-I:7, it may be corrected by the governing body by making an abatement or a new assessment, or both. The same lien, rights, liabilities, and remedies shall attach to the new assessment as to the original.

Source. PS 79:6. PL 95:9. RL 111:12. 1945, 188, part 22:13. RSA 252:15. 1981, 87:2. 1985, 110:3, eff. July 9, 1985. 2008, 295:10, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:15

    149-I:15 Petition to Court. – If the mayor and aldermen neglect or refuse to correct an assessment under RSA 149-I:14, any person aggrieved may apply by petition to the superior court for relief at any time within 90 days after notice of the assessment, and not afterwards. The court shall make such order thereon as justice may require.

Source. PS 79:7. PL 95:10. RL 111:13. 1945, 188, part 22:14. RSA 252:16. 1981, 87:2. 1985, 110:4, eff. July 9, 1985.

Section 149-I:16

    149-I:16 Assessment Installments. – The mayor and aldermen of any city may, in their discretion, in making any assessment under this chapter, assess the same to be paid in annual installments extending over a period not exceeding 20 years, and in such case their assessment so made shall create a lien upon the land on account of which it is made and the lien of each installment so assessed shall continue for one year from October 1 of the year such installment becomes due.

Source. 1909, 24:1. PL 95:11. 1933, 98:4. RL 111:14. 1945, 188, part 22:15. 1949, 80:2. RSA 252:17. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981.

Section 149-I:17

    149-I:17 Assessment Not Required. – Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent any city from providing, by ordinance or otherwise, that the whole or a part of the expense of constructing, maintaining and repairing main drains, common sewers, stormwater treatment, conveyance, and discharge system, or sewage and waste treatment facilities shall be paid by such city.

Source. 1870, 5:5. GL 78:10. PS 79:8. PL 95:12. RL 111:15. 1945, 188, part 22:16. RSA 252:18. 1961, 120:8. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:11, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:18

    149-I:18 Abatement of Assessments. – For good cause shown, the mayor and aldermen may abate any such assessment made by them or by their predecessors.

Source. PS 79:6. PL 95:8. RL 111:11. 1945, 188, part 22:12. RSA 252:14. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981.

Sewer Commissions

Section 149-I:19

    149-I:19 Establishment; Duties. – Any town or village district which adopts the provisions of this chapter may, at the time of such adoption or afterwards, vote to establish a board of sewer commissioners, consisting of 3 members, which board shall perform all the duties and possess all the powers in the town or district otherwise hereby conferred upon the selectmen.

Source. 1923, 16:1. PL 95:13. PL 111:16. 1945, 188, part 22:17. RSA 252:19. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981.

Section 149-I:20

    149-I:20 Election. – At the annual town or district meeting when such board is established, there shall be chosen, by ballot and by major vote, 3 sewer commissioners, to hold office for 3 years, 2 years, and one year, respectively, and thereafter, at every annual meeting, one commissioner shall be so chosen to hold office for 3 years; provided, that such election shall be by plurality vote in towns or districts which, under existing laws, elect officers in that manner.

Source. 1923, 16:1. PL 95:14. RL 111:17. 1945, 188, part 22:18. RSA 252:20. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981.

Section 149-I:20-a

    149-I:20-a Appointment. – The commissioners may be appointed by the mayor and board of aldermen or city council, by the selectmen of the town, by the town council, or by the commissioners of the district if the municipality fails to elect or votes to provide for appointment.

Source. 1996, 197:2, eff. Aug. 2, 1996.

Section 149-I:21

    149-I:21 Compensation. – The compensation of such sewer commissioners and the sewer commission's responsible portion of the municipal treasurer's compensation shall be fixed in towns by the selectmen, and in village districts by the commissioners of the district.

Source. 1923, 16:1. PL 95:16. RL 111:19. 1945, 188, part 22:20. RSA 252:22. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2012, 138:2, eff. Aug. 4, 2012.

Miscellaneous Provisions

Section 149-I:22

    149-I:22 Entering Without Permit. – Any person who digs or breaks up the ground in any street, highway, lane or alley in any city, for the purpose of laying, altering, repairing or entering any main drain, stormwater treatment, conveyance, and discharge system, or common sewer therein, without permission from the mayor and aldermen, shall be guilty of a violation.

Source. 1870, 5:7. GL 78:12. PS 79:9. PL 95:17. RL 111:20. 1945, 188, part 22:21. RSA 252:23. 1973, 531:84. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:13, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:23

    149-I:23 Malicious Injury; Penalty. – Any person who shall wantonly or maliciously injure any part of any sewer system, stormwater treatment, conveyance, and discharge system, or sewage disposal plant shall be liable to pay treble damages to the owner thereof, and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if any other person.

Source. 1945, 188, part 22:22. RSA 252:24. 1973, 529:44. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:14, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:24

    149-I:24 Application of Chapter. – The provisions of this chapter shall be in force in such town and village districts as may adopt the same by vote of the legislative body; and the governing body shall perform all the duties and possess all the powers in the town or the district, as the case may be, conferred by this chapter upon the mayor and aldermen, and the rights of all parties interested shall be settled in the same way.

Source. 1870, 5:8. 1873, 29:1. GL 78:14. 1883, 77:1. PS 79:10. 1923, 16:1. PL 95:18. RL 111:21. 1945, 198, part 22:23. RSA 252:25. 1981, 87:2, eff. April 20, 1981. 2008, 295:12, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.

Section 149-I:25

    149-I:25 Reports. – In towns and village districts adopting this chapter, the selectmen or district commissioners, or board of sewer commissioners if any, or stormwater utility commission shall annually, at the time other town or district officers report, make a report to the municipality of the condition of the plant financially and otherwise, showing the funds of the department, the expenses and income thereof, and all other material facts. This report shall be published in the annual report of the municipality.

Source. 1994, 95:6, eff. July 8, 1994. 2008, 295:15, eff. Aug. 26, 2008.