Infrastructure, Utilities, & Waste

New Bedford's critical infrastructure, utilities, and waste disposal services are up to date and integrate best practices that prepare us to be ready for the impacts of climate change and our growing economy and population.

Infrastructure, Utilities, & Waste

NB Resilient Goals

Climate change impacts New Bedford's infrastructure, utilities, and waste by damaging critical assets, filling landfills with storm debris, and overwhelming the capacity of our stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water systems. To reduce these impacts, NB Resilient has laid out two goals:

  1. Reduce waste tonnage 30% by 2030 and become a zero-waste community by 2050.
  2. Design, build, and maintain all infrastructure to be energy efficient and resilient to the impacts of climate change.

To learn more, read our Infrastructure, Utilities, & Waste Fact Sheet.

Total Waste Reduction

Waste Generation & Diversion

Since 2015, New Bedford has increased the quantity of material recycled by over 700 tons, improving the diversion rate to 37%. However, minimizing waste is not only about finding alternatives to landfills. Over the same time period, the average New Bedford household has increased the amount of waste they produce by 57 pounds each year. That adds up to nearly 1,500 tons of material that the city must manage every year.

Achieving the city's waste reduction targets will take everyone's effort to reduce the amount of waste we produce as well as helping to properly recycle the rest.

Total Waste Reduction

Help Reduce Waste in New Bedford

There are many ways you can help New Bedford reach its waste reduction goals. New Bedford's Department of Facilities and Fleet Management's Solid Waste and Recycling Division offer a wealth of information about minimizing waste and send alerts for special events like hazardous waste drop off days.

Keeping New Bedford's recycling free of contaminants ensures that the material can be remade into new products. 


Follow New Bedford Recycling

Facebook
Learn more about what materials are recycleable

RecycleSmart MA
Find locations to donate clothes instead of throwing them away

View the Map
A man in a safety vest is explains recycling in front of bales of recyclable material

Total Waste Reduction

Discover the Funbrary Collection @ the New Bedford Free Public Library

Wishing you had access to craft supplies or portable DVD players?  The New Bedford Public Library has put together the Funbrary, a collection of items that moves beyond the traditional materials found at a library.  This collection provides patrons with access to a collection of items that encourages exploration, waste reduction, and learning while saving money. Come visit the library and borrow an item!

A wide image of Quittacas Pond


Photo of Great Quittacas Pond by John Phelen. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Water Use

Water Supply

According to the US EPA, the average person in New Bedford uses 55.5 gallons of water per day.  That adds up to over 3.3 million gallons per day. That's enough water to fill Gillette Stadium every 6 months!

In order to supply all that water, New Bedford manages 12,352 acres of land surround five ponds, such as Great Quittacas Pond to maintain a health and clean watershed. Learn more about the City's efforts on the Department of Public Infrastructure's Water Division webpage.

Combined Sewer Overflow

Water Quality and Quality Fisheries

Much of the City’s sewage system is a combined system, the function of which is to collect sanitary flows and stormwater runoff and convey them to the interceptor system. Combined flow in excess of the interceptor capacity is discharged to receiving waters by the regulators through CSO outlets. The City presently has 35 permitted CSOs, most of which activate during rain events. (Three additional outlets have been eliminated through separation or abandonment). These outlets discharge to Clark’s Cove, New Bedford Harbor and Buzzards Bay. 

Since 1990, the Water Division has reduced the annual volume of CSOs to 183 million gallons, down from over 3 billion gallons per year. The Division's program has been successful in reopening two large shellfishing beds that had been closed for over 30 years. Shellfishing areas are particularly sensitive to the adverse impacts of CSO discharges and their reopening illustrates how protecting the environment yields economic benefits as well.

A bar chart with 3 bars, indicating the amount New Bedford has reduced combined sewer overflow events.  The Y axis: Volume, in Mega Gallons per Year. The X Axis: 2005 Conditions (2006 baseline report), 2012 Conditions (2012 Memo), 2014 Update. The trend of the graph is a reduction from nearly 455 megagallons to 225 megagallons per year. The greatest reduction was in Upper Inner Harbor a region of New Bedford.

The greatest reduction in CSO volume was in the Upper Inner Harbor

Actions You Can Take

Ready, Set, Sort!

Learn about the City of New Bedford's recycling, trash, and yard waste programs in a fun way with our brand new waste sorting game. Sort materials correctly and win fun items to build your own digital park.

Actions You Can Take

A Softer Solution

While the City of New Bedford excels at creating the engineered systems needed to keep the City running, the need and expense for those systems can be reduced by using trees and other green infrastructure to absorb stormwater and restore natural flows to the watershed. As a bonus, the shade given by trees will help keep the city cool as summer temperatures increase.


Get involved with Greening the Gateway Cities

I want to plant trees!
Install rain barrels to reduce stormwater and reduce water demand by using it to water plants.

NB Rain Barrel Program
Leave a legacy by donating to the New Bedford Preservation Society Re-Leaf program and create shade and enjoyment for generations to come.

Re-Leaf
An image of rain barrels