Published in the September 13, 2018 edition

NORTH READING — The North Reading Department of Public Works reminds the public of increases in its trash and recycling fees as well as the new format to its water bills and an update on the ongoing water meter replacement project.

Trash/recycling fee

The quarterly trash/recycling fee charged by the town of North Reading to residences that participate in the town’s solid waste and recycling program has increased, effective July 1, to an annual fee of $272 per dwelling unit. This fee is charged every three months on the water/trash bills at the rate of $68 per quarter per dwelling unit. The first bill that reflects the new fee was mailed in late August.

The fee increase is the first in 10 years, and reflects changes in the international market for recyclable materials. The current contract governing North Reading’s solid waste and recycling collection is in effect through June 30, 2019, and further modifications to the trash/recycling program may occur when the contract expires.

Water bills/water meter replacement

The North Reading Water Department is currently in the process of upgrading the town’s water meter system, which includes the replacement of all existing residential and commercial water meters connected to the municipal water system.

The new metering technology will allow the North Reading Water Department to provide more accurate and timely billing, to improve customer service through an enhanced ability to detect and stop leaks, and to better answer questions about water use. The new system will also provide customers the ability to track their water usage directly and receive alerts for unusually high water consumption.

Most customers will receive the standard water/trash and recycling bill combined in the mail. In areas of town where meters are being replaced, the water bills are slightly delayed due to the transfer of data associated with the meter replacements. If the water section of your recent water/trash bill is blank and does not show any “water usage information,” you will be receiving a separate water bill for this quarter within a few days.

The water rates for Fiscal Year 2019 remain unchanged from the water rates in Fiscal Year 2018. The new water meters are read and billed to the nearest gallon, as opposed to the older meter system which rounded down to the nearest 1,000 gallons.

It should be noted that if the start and stop date for your current bill exceeded the typical billing quarter of 91 days, the water volume allowed in each tier has been adjusted to account for the longer reading cycle. The town anticipates that the period of time between bills will become uniform once the new meter system is fully functional.

Residents are reminded that the current water bills reflect a summer billing quarter – in most cases beginning in May and ending in August. Water usage for a summer quarter can be significantly higher than for winter quarters due to outdoor water use, resulting in water bills that can be much higher than the last water bill you received.

Residents may contact the North Reading Water Department by email at or by phone at 978-664-6009 with any questions relative to the meter replacement project or with questions about their water/trash bill.