Frequently Asked Questions
TOPIC: Health & Public Safety
When Can I get a flu shot?
The Board of Health receives its vaccine supply from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. When enough supply is delivered, flu clinics will be scheduled sometime between October and December. The clinics will be advertised on the Town's website and in the local newspapers. You can also find clinics throughout the State by visiting the flu.masspro.org website.
How do I get a Certificate of Compliance for my septic system?
A Certificate of Compliance is issued by the Health Department after your engineer submits a certified as-built system plan and your contractor signs off on the Certificate. Any registry stamped deeds and contracts for maintenance plans will also need to be submitted to the Health Office. The Health Director will review all of this information and, if approved, will sign off on the Certificate. A Certificate of Compliance is valid for three years, provided the system has been pumped within the last year. Please note: Certificates can be for the whole system or for just one of the components of the system.
Do you have a copy of the Title 5 Inspection Report for my property?
The Health Department would only have a Title 5 Inspection Report on file if the property owner had previously filed one with the office. All Title 5 inspectors need to be permitted by the Health Department. The Inspector has 30-days to submit a copy of the inspection report to the Health Department after the system is completed. A Title 5 inspection provides the following information:
- What type of system is used for sewage disposal.
- Where the system is located and the condition of the system.
- A Title 5 inspection report is good for three years, provided the system has been pumped within the last year.
How far does a foundation have to be from a septic tank?
The foundation will need to be 20-feet from the cesspool or leaching area and 10-feet from the septic system. If the structure is on sonotubes you may build closer, but you will need the Health Director's approval.
How do I get a smoke and CO detector inspection?
Call Scituate Fire Department at 545-8748 and request an appointment. Inspections are performed Monday through Thursday mornings between 9:00 and 12:00. The fee is $30 and can be paid by check made out to Town of Scituate, or cash.
Why does the fire Department send 2 or 3 vehicles when I call for medical aid?
The ambulance has two paramedics on board. An engine is also dispatched for a medical call to provide additional personnel to take care of the safety and welfare of the patient and others. There is a lot of equipment/gear that needs to be brought to the scene and the additional personnel can assist in bringing it to the patient, leaving the lead paramedic to focus on the patient. In addition, things such as bringing the patient down a flight of stairs, providing medical treatment both at the scene and during transport, etc., as well as handling any additional needs discovered once on scene, all require the assistance of additional personnel. The vast majority of our firefighters have at least an EMT license and almost half have their Paramedic license. Having additional personnel on scene for any medical call provides an extra level of professional patient care for any situation.
When/How can I get a Burning Permit?
Burning permits are issued at the Fire Department Dispatch Office at 149 First Parish Road, from January 15 through May 1 of each year. The cost is $10.00 and can be paid by either cash or check made out to the Town of Scituate. Each day you plan to burn, you must call the Fire Department at 545-8748 after 10am to ask if burning is allowed that day. If burning is being allowed, give the Dispatcher your permit number. Determination regarding burning each day is made by checking the wind and general conditions. The State Fire Marshal may also make a ruling based on overall fire danger conditions, which overrides local decisions.
Can I have a small bonfire on the beach?
All outside burning is illegal except for permitted burning as described above. No fires are allowed on the beach at any time, for any reason, per State Fire Marshal regulations.
Are Chiminias allowed?
A Chiminias are illegal in Massachusetts per the State Fire Marshal. They are considered outside burning and as such, are illegal.
What's going on with the property where Young's Boatyard used to be? (Scituate Marine Park)
The 3.2 acre parcel of property on the eastern edge of the inner harbor (formerly Young's Boatyard) was purchased by the Town in 2004. The intent was to continue to maintain the property as a public marina, a working boatyard, and to include park features for boaters and non-boaters to enjoy. In addition to these three core functions, the property is also home to two historical buildings and the newly constructed Scituate Maritime Center, a multi-function building where in addition to public bathrooms and showers, sailing classes are taught, educational and recreational programs are conducted and small functions may be held.
Why are my taxes paying for the Harbormaster services? I don't have a boat or use the harbor?
Costs associated with operating the Harbormaster's office, salaries, materials, supplies, purchase of services and capital improvements are paid for by the Waterways Enterprise Fund. Expenditures from this fund are paid for by revenues derived from mooring fees, slip fees, commercial fees, etc. The Waterways Enterprise fund is self-sustaining and does not receive any funding from the Town of Scituate's general fund.
Are there slips and/or moorings available in Scituate and how can I get one?
Yes, through two different processes:
- Slips at the Town-owned marinas (Cole Parkway and Scituate Marine Park) are assigned using an annual waiting list. Every August 1st, a new list is started, and anyone may sign up, resident or non-resident. There is no cost associated with signing the Slip Waiting List. The Slip Waiting List is used to fill slips vacated by existing patrons.
- Moorings are acquired through the Mooring Application Process which includes a one time fee of $20.00 and the applicant must complete the application form, indicating the size vessel they are requesting mooring for. This list is perpetual and the applicant is responsible for the reconfirming their intent to remain on the list between the dated of August 1st and December 31st of each year. As existing mooring patrons relinquish a mooring space the next applicant with the appropriate size boat is offered the space. There will be a grace period from January 1st through January 31st during which time an applicant can pay a $50.00 late fee and be re-instated to the mooring waiting list, retaining their original date of application. Applications not reinstated by January 31st will remain off the waiting list.
Do you have bathrooms for public use?
Yes, the restrooms at the Harbormaster's Office are the only public bathroom facilities in the Harbor, unless you include the portable unit at the Town Pier.
Have you heard or do you know what the weather is going to be?
The Harbormaster's Office maintains a daily weather board with information provided by NOAA and local weather stations.
General Town and Tourist information questions, and questions pertaining to local restaurants, pharmacy, Laundromat and market, etc.
All full-time and part-time seasonal employees for the Harbormaster's Office are trained to ensure they give all pertinent information without prejudice or opinion concerning local businesses and places of interest. The harbormaster's Office created and printed a brochure that provides visitors and patrons of the Harbor with information concerning these areas of interest.
Department of Public Works
How do I get a copy of the Town's Assessors map?
The Department of Engineering Division has wide format copies of the Town's Assessors maps up to 30"x 42" for a fee.
Where is the Water Department located and what are their hours?
The Water department is located at:
4 Old Oaken Bucket Road
Scituate, MA 02066
At the junction of Route 3A and Route 123 (Rotary).
The hours are Monday through Friday 7:00 A.M until 3:30 P.M.
Is there Fluoride in the Scituate Water?
Yes, there is fluoride in the Scituate Water except in the Humarock section of Town.
How often are water bills issued?
The Town issues water bills quarterly. A quarterly service charge occurs whether you have used water or not.
Why is my water brown? Can I drink it?
The brown color comes from naturally occurring iron oxide, stirred up by flushing pipes or a main break. It is not a health issue. Flushing occurs in the early spring and fall.
How do I get rust stains out of my clothes?
The Scituate Water Department offers a rust stain remover that is available to all Scituate residents. We recommend you check your water prior to doing laundry during flushing seasons.
How do I verify if my property is tied into Town Sewer or obtain a diagram of my sewer connection?
The Sewer Division maintains maps and records of the Town's sewer system. If you are unsure if your property is connected to Town sewer, you can contact the Sewer Division at 781-545-8736 for verification. If you need to obtain a copy of a diagram showing the location of your sewer connection you may visit our office which is located at the Wastewater Treatment Facility at 161 Driftway. Our hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM.
What does it cost to tie into Town sewer?
To connect to Town sewer, you are required to hire the services of a Drainlayer licensed by the Town of Scituate. A list of Drainlayers licensed by the Town is available on the Town of Scituate website http://www.town.scituate.ma.us on the Department of Public Work's Sewer Division page or by fax, or U.S. mail by calling the Sewer Division (781-545-8736). You may also send an e-mail to email@example.com to receive a copy of this list via e-mail.
The Sewer Division charges $10.00 for a Sewer Connection Permit. Typically, the Drainlayer selected to perform the work on the property completes the application and takes care of pulling the permit for the homeowner. The Sewer Division cannot provide information as to what each individual connection in Town would cost because each property is different. We do strongly recommend property owners obtain a few quotes from the Licensed Drainlayers on the Town's list to get an idea of what the actual cost to tie in their property will be.
Will the Sewer Division fix my Sewer Backup Problem?
You can always call the Sewer Division at 781-545-8736 if you are experiencing overflows, backups or for any sewer related question. The Sewer Division is responsible for problems in the lateral sewer from the property line cleanout to the main sewer line. Property owners are responsible for the portion of the building lateral sewer line that is on private property from their residence to the property line cleanout. The Sewer Division will respond to any calls regarding backups to check if the source of the problem is on our end. If it isn't, we typically recommend that homeowners contact a reputable plumber to help clear any clogged indoor lines of your portion of the lateral sewer within your property.
I am razing a property that is currently on Town sewer in order to build a new structure. Does the Sewer Division cap off the sewer line?
The Sewer Division does not cap off the line. The homeowner should have their contractor take care of that. You will need to fill out an application when you are ready to reconnect however. In addition, if the pipes on your property are the old clay type, you must replace those with PVC piping. The Sewer Division will inspect the sewer reconnection and sign off on the Building Permit once the work has been completed.
I have an RV, can I empty it at the Sewer Division's Wastewater Treatment Plant?
Yes, we are open for recreational dumping Monday thru Friday from 7:00 AM till 3:00 PM. There is no charge for this service. If you are not familiar with the facility, you can stop by the office area and we will be happy to have one of our Wastewater Treatment Operators assist you.
Who do I call to request that my street to be plowed, sanded, bermed or repaired?
All public street repairs including potholes, plowing, sanding and damaged roadways go through the Highway Department at 781-545-8734. Requests for berm repairs are taken in the summer months only. The Town does not repair or plow private ways.
Does the Town repair streetlights?
The Town does not repair streetlights. You will need to call National Grid directly at 800-322-3223.
Who do I call about a damaged or dead tree?
You will need to call the Highway Department at 781-545-8734 and they will send someone out to examine the tree. If the tree is dead they will either trim it or remove it. The Town only has one stump grinder in use, so it may take awhile for the Town to return for the stump.
How do I get a street opening permit?
Street opening permits are issued through the Engineering office from April through December for $125.00 per permit. A $10, 000 bond is also required and an additional $5,000.00 fee if it is a moratorium street. Permit applications can be downloaded from the Town's website or picked up in the Engineering office located in the Town Hall.
What are the Transfer Station (Dump) hours?
Hours of operation at the Transfer station are:
- Friday through Tuesday 8:00A.M. Until 3:30 P.M.
- Closed Wednesdays, Thursday, and Holidays.
How do I get a Transfer Station (Dump) sticker?
Residents may obtain stickers in any one of the following ways:
- On-Line: On-line payment for stickers will be available. Stickers will be mailed within a few days of receipt. PAY ONLINE Go to Transactions > "Other".
- Mail in: Mail-in forms will be available for download on the Town's website (Mail In Form) Forms will also be included in the April-June water bill mailings.
- In-Person: Stickers may be purchased in person at Town Hall during regular business hours.
Transfer Station Sticker prices:
First car ……………………….. $80.00.
Additional Cars…………….. $25.00.
Senior (Age 70 or older)……. $55.00.
Can I use my own trash bags or do I need to use the Towns "blue bags"?
The Transfer Station is operated as a "Pay-As-You-Throw" and a Recycle facility. Household waste ("garbage") will be accepted only in Pay-As-You-Throw trash bags ("blue bags"), which can be purchased at the Transfer Station or several local retail stores. These "Blue Bags" cost $20.00 for a package of ten 30-gallon bags or $10.00 for a package of ten 15-gallon bags.
Retailers selling Pay-as-You-Throw trash bags ("blue bags") include Scituate Pharmacy, Tedeschi's Food Mart, Fitts Mill, Raymond's Paint, Hennessey News and the Village Market.
Does the Town have a recycle program?
Recycling is mandatory in Scituate and recyclable items should not be disposed of in the Blue Bags. Please see the Transfer Stations webpage for a list of recyclable items.
Do you have a copy of the plot plan/site or septic plan for my property?
The Building Department would only have a plot plan/site plan on file if the property owner filed one with a previously issued permit. The Health Department would have a septic plan on file if your septic system was installed after 1985. The DPW may have reference to your property in their files. If the Building Department, DPW or Health Department does not have this information on file you can check with the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds or you will need to hire a professional surveyor or septic designer.
What type of work requires a building permit?
A building permit is required for:
Roofing, siding, window replacement, decks, additions, earth removal, alterations, repairs, remodel, raze, elevate, renovation, tool sheds, above and inground swimming pools, woodstoves, chimney, signs and all new construction.
Can I apply for a permit online and pay with a credit card?
Yes, you can apply for electrical, plumbing, gas or building permits online at www.town.scituate.ma.us/inspection/index.html. You may pay your permit fee online with a credit card. We do not accept credit card payments in the office, only cash or check.
Can I install plumbing, gas or electrical fixtures in my own home?
To install plumbing, gas or electrical fixtures you must be a licensed contractor. Only licensed plumbers and electricians can pull permits and call for inspections.
When will I need to call for building inspections?
We require building inspections for:
- Foundations and footings.
- Chimney throat inspections and wood stove installations.
- Rough frame, after the rough plumbing and electrical inspections.
- Final building, after the final plumbing and electrical inspections. If bedrooms wereincluded in the renovation, the Fire Department will need to inspect also.
Please have the red permit card available for all the inspectors to sign off on. There is $30.00 fee to receive a duplicate if your permit card is lost.
What will I need in order to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy?
You will need to submit the following information to the Building Department in order to receive a Certificate of Occupancy to occupy your dwelling:
- For new construction/additions you will need an as-built plan of the foundation.
- Final Inspections from the Electrical, Plumbing, Fire and Building Inspectors (you will need to return the red building permit card with all required signatures to the Building office).
- Certificate of Compliance from the Fire Department.
- Certificate of Compliance from the Health Inspector if there is a septic system.
- Fee of $30.00.