T he village unanimously approved a new water law on Oct. 15 that delineates the rights and responsibilities of individuals and business that use municipal water.
The law clarifies and updates a previous ordinance that has been in place since 1967.
Village Trustee Ken Bartholomew said the new law expands on the previous one, more clearly defines the village’s authority to read and service meters, details the conditions under which the village can terminate service and consolidates several water-related ordinances into a single law.
The law also defines the responsibilities of water users.
Anyone who would like to use village water must fill out an application in writing and consumers will be required to provide a “suitable location” for water meters that can be inspected and read by a village representative “at any reasonable hour during the business day.”
Users are also responsible for the installation and maintenance of a service pipe from the curb stop to the meter, as well as any supply pipes connected to the water main. The village reserves the right to shut off water if deficient or damaged pipes are not properly repaired.
The law gives the village authority to discontinue service for reasons of nonpayment or if the user willfully inflicts damage on any part of the water system belonging to the village.
For nonpayment, the village has the right to shut off water to any users whose bill remains unpaid for 90 days and water service will not be restored until the bill has been paid in full, as well any costs incurred by the village shutting the service off.
The law includes a provision that the village can shut off or regulate water at any time to anyone if it’s done to protect the water system or ensure compliance with state or federal laws.
It also addresses the issue of illegal, unmetered hook-ups and states that no water shall be furnished to any consumer unless that property has a water meter in good working order.
Unmetered hook-ups make it impossible for the village to determine how much water a user consumes and is a problem the village has been hoping to resolve for the past several months.
An audit released earlier this year by the state comptroller’s office revealed that the village was losing a significant amount of treated water, and while damaged and leaky pipes can be blamed for some of the loss, meterless hook-ups are also believed to have played a role.
The village has taken a number of steps during the past few months to address the problem and according to Don Williams, the superintendent of public works, the amount of water loss has been cut by 200,000 gallons per day. Eliminating unmetered hook-ups is expected to further reduce the volume of water loss.
A public hearing was held prior to the board voting on the law, but no one spoke.