Name: Engineering Division
Phone: (617) 625-6600 x 5400
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Somerville has a complex network of more than 180 miles of sewer and storm drainage pipes located beneath our streets–much of this network is more than 100 years old. These pipes must be regularly cleaned and inspected so we can identify areas in need of repair before any issues arise.
Unlike a burned-out lightbulb on a lamppost, it can be difficult to know where problems exist in our underground infrastructure. To remedy this, the City uses a process known as CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) inspection to inspect our sewer and drainage infrastructure.
City contractors will first clean and clear debris from pipes. Cleaning restores full capacity flow within the pipe and also allows for a better view of the interior. An above-ground operator will then drive a wheel-mounted camera through the pipe to collect high-resolution video from inside the pipe.
Once the video has been processed, City engineering staff and contractors review to identify any deficiencies in the pipe. During this review, we are looking for evidence of defects that challenge a pipe’s structural integrity, such as large cracks, collapsing walls, missing bricks, etc. Structural issues such as these can impede flows, increasing the risk of sewer/drainage backups.
During this review, we are also looking for any evidence that groundwater may be entering the pipe through fractures and reducing system capacity.
Other potential issues we look to uncover through inspection are illicit connections. An example of such a connection is a property that has connected its sewer service to a pipe that is meant to convey stormwater.
Occasionally, we will find issues that must be fixed immediately (such as collapses) through emergency work. Less severe issues are added to annual sewer rehabilitation projects.
The City is committed to the annual cleaning and maintenance of our sewer and drain infrastructure and will continue these inspections over the coming years.
Throughout out 2020 and 2021, the City inspected approximately 180,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer around Winter Hill. In 2022, the City inspected approximately 170,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer primarily in the East Somerville and Winter Hill Neighborhoods.
For the 2023, the City plans to clean and inspect approximately 110,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer and 60,000 linear feet of storm drain in the green areas on the map below. This work is expected to begin in July 2023 in West Somerville.
Below are a number of ways you can stay up to date on this project and others around the city:
Sign-up for City Alerts - Receive important notifications about this project and work in your area.
Sign-up for the City's Construction Newsletter - Receive a monthly digest on infrastructure work across Somerville.
Follow us on Twitter - Tweets about curb-cuts, culverts, and more.
Please submit website feedback using this form. Be sure to include:
Thank you for your feedback!