Water leak policies affect rates in some small towns, and for local businesses this can be a hefty problem. Especially when the water lines are leaking and have been leaking or left unattended for some time.
Most small town board of directors are reviewing policies through which water bills can be adjusted for customers who repair unintentional leaks that result in large bills. We’ve found that in most policies, leaks in indoor plumbing and those in irrigation systems are currently excluded.
Additionally, fees are dropped for the estimated amount of water that hasn’t entered the sewer system.
Most towns with water services charges its customers according to a tiered rate structure. For example; customers of a small town in the south who use more than 9,000 gallons are charged $13.76 for every additional 1,000 gallons. The wholesale rate is $3.44 for 1,000 gallons.
in July of this year, a local man appeared before his town board to appeal a $3,400 water bill that was the result of a leak in his lawn sprinkler system which is excluded from the current policy. Over 165,000 gallons of water were lost before a meter reader discovered the problem. It is clear that while the mistake was with the homeowner, he should have been charged the wholesale rate.
As one board member put it, “The tiered rate is intended to encourage water conservation and not punish homeowners who have unfortunate leaks.”