The Office of Superintendent of Sewers was established by ordinance passed June 6, 1837. The Superintendent of Sewers, appointed annually, had the general supervision of all sewers built, or permitted to be built, by the City, the charge of their building and repair, and the regulation of private drains entering into common sewers. The department also had charge of all catch-basins, their construction and cleaning. By ordinance approved March 9, 1891, in amendment of Chapter 18 of the Revised Ordinances of 1890, the Departments of Sewers, Sanitary Police, and Bridges, and the Office of Commissioner of Cambridge Bridges, were consolidated and placed under the administrative control of the Superintendent of Streets.
Chapters 1 and 3 of the Ordinances of 1906 re-established the Sewer Department. The Sewer Department had charge of the preparation of plans for sewerage works, the construction and maintenance of all drainage works, including the investigation of complaints in regard to defective drainage, the granting of permits for making sewer connections and the preparation of plans for the assessment of the cost of sewer construction; and made and delivered to the City Collector all bills for sewer assessments. Chapter 3 of the Ordinances of 1908, approved by the Mayor on 6 April 1908, consolidated the Bridge, Sanitary, Sewer and Street Cleaning and Watering Departments, created by Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the Ordinances of 1906 and the Lamp Department, created by Chapter 22 of the Revised Ordinances of 1898, with the Street Department, which was placed under the charge of the Superintendent of Streets.
The water works system and the sewer works system of the Public Works Department were abolished and the powers transferred to the Boston Water and Sewer Commission by Chapter 436 of the Acts of 1977.