In December 2004, House Bill 5001, An Act Authorizing Water Sub-Metering in Residential Tenancies, was signed into law and became effective March 16, 2005. The new law allows landlords to install sub-meters for residential tenants and to bill tenants for water and sewer use. As outlined in the Winter 2004 issue of "In the Main", MassDEP supports sub-metering as a means to promote water conservation.

While the new law does not directly affect public water suppliers, systems should be aware of it and may receive calls regarding meter installation and bill payment. Landlords should be reminded that they are still responsible for payment of the water and sewer bills. The master water meter at any building remains under the jurisdiction of the public water supplier.

Public water suppliers are encouraged to read a fact sheet posted on the website for Massachusetts Housing Consumer Education Centers (scroll to the end of the page and click "Water Metering Fact Sheet"). Water suppliers should also work closely with local plumbing inspectors to insure installations meet all legal requirements.