SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS
The Board of Directors for the West Autauga Water Authority has adopted the following basic rules and regulations that will be observed by both the Authority and its members.
01.0 SERVICE CATEGORIES Water services may be applied for under the following categories:
01.01 RESIDENTIAL SERVICE: Residential service is defined as service to a single family dwelling with customary non-commercial appurtenances and out building or single unit facilities where the usage does not fall within the definition of COMMERCIAL or AGRICULTURAL service as defined in subparagraphs 01.02 and 01.03. Residential service doesnot include service to multiple single family dwellings from a single service. Any such service arrangement is a violation of Authority rules and regulations and may result in the termination of service.
01.02 COMMERCIAL SERVICE: Commercial service is defined as service to any user with ¾ inch or larger meter for water used in large volume as an integral part of a business or commercial operation. The term also applies to any other location or facility where water is supplied to multiple sites for use by public customers or groups including (but not limited to) any hotel/motel, car wash, public laundry facility, or recreational/camping facility; and, to any other location which, based upon the nature of the operation and the volume of consumption, the Authority’s Board of Directors deems to be a commercial enterprise or operation.
01.03 AGRICULTURAL SERVICE: Agricultural service is defined as service to any facility or operation customarily recognized as an agricultural entity including (but not strictly limited to) any operation whose primary purpose is the production of crops or commodities for human or animal consumption, or that operation which the Authority Board of Directors deems to be an agricultural enterprise or operation.
02.0 RATE SCHEDULE DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL TERMS
02.01 SECURITY DEPOSIT: A cash security deposit is required of all customers prior to the commencement of water service. The security deposit is instituted to deter/offset any losses from customers who fail to pay for water services used. The security deposit for customers who rent the property where service is provided is established as two (2) times that for property owners. The term “property owner” applies to the person or corporation name which appears on a valid title or deed and/or is a mortgagee for property officially recorded at the Autauga County Courthouse. The term “renter” applies to customers who do not own or mortgage the property on which service is requested. Included in the definition are those customers who own their dwelling but rent/lease the property on which it is situated. If the customer applies for service as a property renter but later provides proof of property ownership, the difference between the deposit required for “property owners” and “property renters” will be refunded to the customer.
02.02 IMPACT FEE: An impact fee shall be charged to developers of single family dwellings, mobile home parks, apartment/condominiums/town homes, and hotel/motels based on the number of lots to be developed or individual living units/rooms to be developed. New commercial (corporate or business) developments will be charged on the basis of metering points. With the exception of hotels/motels and commercial developments, payment of the impact fee is due upon sale of the lot/unit or upon installation by the Authority of the service for the lot/unit, whichever comes first. Individual residential service applicants will be allowed to finance the impact fee along with the remainder of the tap fee if they desire. Developers of subdivision s must pay the impact fee in advance following the approval of the subdivision by the Board of Directors and prior to the beginning of construction. For subdivisions installed on existing lines, the impact fee must be paid for all lots immediately following the approval of the Board of Directors. The purpose of the impact fee is to partially compensate the Authority and its members for any current or future capital improvements to supply, pumping, treatment and storage facilities resulting from a significant and concentrated increase in demand for water services. The impact fee is in addition to the tap fee and other customer charges associated with the normal provision of water service. Furthermore, the impact fee is not designed to offset any costs associated with inspection of new distribution facilities. Those costs will be addressed in preconstruction negotiations between the developer and the Authority’s Board of Directors.
02.02.1 The Authority has adopted a subdivision policy. Copies of this policy are available upon request.
02.02.2 New trailer parks will be subject to an impact fee of $500 per lot whether served by one large meter or several small meters. Impact fee must be paid in advance of installation by system personnel. Where a two-inch or larger meter is installed, the developer will be required to state the maximum number of lots to be served. If, in the future, the number of lots exceeds the stated number, additional impact fees will be charged.
02.03TAP FEE: A tap fee is charged by the Authority for connection of a customer to the Authority’s distribution facilities. A tap fee is not required at a service location where an authorized service line and meter already exists. To assist customers (property owners only) with the cost of the tap fee, payments may be made in installments as set forth in Section 03.0 – Schedule of Rates & Charges.
02.04 CONNECTION FEE: Applies when a service line, meter housing (with all necessary components) exists but the service is inactive, i.e., no monthly charge is being assessed to the account. A meter must be installed to include new backflow valve (required) if necessary, meter read and service initiated.
02.05 NON-PAYMENT CUT-OFF FEE: Applies when a meter has been locked for non-payment of bill.
02.06 RETURNED CHECK CHARGE: Applies when a check submitted by a customer for payment is returned to the Authority’s Bank due to insufficient funds.
02.07 SPECIAL METER READING FEE: The Authority will, at an existing customer’s request, make special meter readings (additional to the normal monthly reading) for a fee. Provided, however, that such special reading discloses that the meter was over read, no fee will be collected, and further, that the fee may be waived in special circumstances at the discretion of the Authority’s Board of Directors. Customer is required to sign a “Special Meter Reading” request which explains the details and terms of the arrangement before such a request is honored by the Authority.
02.08METER TESTING FEE: Meters will be tested at the request of the customer for a fee to cover the actual cost of the test including postage/handling. Provided, however, that if the meter is found to register in excess of correct volume by more than three percent (3%) or greater, no charge will be made. The customer is required to sign a “Meter Testing” request which explains the details and terms of the arrangement before such a request is honored by the Authority.
02.09 TAMPERING FEE: Applies when a meter has been sealed and the seal is found to have been broken and water consumed (in relation to the final meter reading). The tampering fee, cost of repairing any damage to Authority property, plus any water usage will be paid by the customer. Any customer who tampers with a meter in such a way as to alter its readings will be prosecuted and/or the customer will, in action to the above fees and charges, be charged for the estimated additional usage which the customer acquired without payment. The additional usage will cover a period deemed reasonable by the Board (up to 12 months) and will be computed at 1 ½ times the measured rate.
02.10 SERVICE INTERRUPTION FEE: Applies when a customer (or their authorized agent) requests that service be reconnected at a meter location wherein the customer (or their authorized agent) has requested that service be discontinued within the previous 12 month period. This fee is designed to discourage/deter customers at vacation/recreation/second dwellings or seasonal businesses from acquiring water service and subsequently discontinuing service for a period of time during no/low use months in order to avoid the minimum monthly charge. The Authority, however, continues to incur costs associated with providing the capacity and facilities necessary for the customer’s ACCESS to service. Service interruption is not intended to apply to customers who legitimately sell the property where service is provided, or relocated from a rental property but later re-purchase the property or re-enter a rent/lease agreement with the landlord. The fee shall be calculated at six (6) times the minimum monthly charge for service and shall be added to the normal re-connection fee. Note: Water User’s Agreement and security deposit required before Authority can honor request for service.
03.0 SCHEDULE OF RATES & CHARGES
03.01 WATER USAGE: Rates subject to change per Board action.
03.01.1 MONTHLY RESIDENTIAL RATES
Minimum of 2,000 gallons and minimum bil
All over 2,000 gallons
03.01.2 MONTHLY COMMERCIAL RATES
Minimum of 10,000 gallons and minimum bill
All over 10,000 gallons
$10.28/ thousand gal
03.01.3 MONTHLY AGRICULTURAL RATES
Minimum of 10,000 gallons and minimum bill
All over 10,000 Gallons
03.01.4 MONTHLY TRAILER PARK RATES
Minimum of 10,000 gallons and minimum bill
All over 10,000 gallons
$10.28 / thousand gal
03.02 SECURITY DEPOSIT
03.03 IMPACT FEE
Per Lot/Living Unit (Home/Town Home)
Per Mobile Home Lot/Apartment
Commercial Service (Per Metering Site)
(Note: Impact Fee may be financed with tap fee if desired)
03.04 TAP FEE
Meter larger than ¾”
Actual cost including labor and equipment
(Note: Tap Fee may be financed. $500 down plus $100 per month)
03.05 BACKFLOW FEE
Meter larger than ¾”
03.05 BACKFLOW FEE
Meter larger than ¾”
03.06 CONNECTION FEE
03.07 DUPLICATE BILL FEE
03.08 LATE CHARGE
(Note: Late charge added to unpaid balance after 10th of month)
03.09 MEMBERSHIP FEE
03.10 METER TESTING FEE
Actual cost of test to include shipping
03.11 NON-PAYMENT CUT-OFF FEE
First two times within 12 months
Over two times within 12 months
03.12 RETURNED CHECK CHARGE
03.13 SERVICE INTERRUPTION FEE
6 times minimum billing rate
03.14 SPECIAL METER READING FEE
03.15 TAMPERING FEE
Second offense ( charges filed)
03.16 TRANSFER FEE
03.17 TRIP CHARGE
04.0 APPLICATION FOR WATER SERVICE
04.01.1 The term “customer” or “consumer” applies to the individual or legal corporation whose name (includes authorized officer or employee in the case of a corporation) appears on the Water User’s Agreement and to whom water service and/or access to water service is supplied by the Authority. The term may also be used, for the purposes of these rules and regulations, to designate individuals or corporations who are potential candidates for water service from the Authority.
04.01.2 The term “account” applies to the record of charges, payments and usage for each connection to the Authority’s distribution mains. Each consumer’s service (each service category, as referenced in paragraphs 01.01 through 01.03 constitutes a separate service, and therefore, a separate account) must be separately metered at a single delivery and metering point.
04.01.3 The term “acceptable identification” includes a valid Alabama Drivers License or Social Security card.
04.01.4 “Appropriate proof of property ownership” includes correspondence from the County Tax Assessor’s office, official Title, documents from a financial institution reflecting purchase of the property (papers associated with loan closing), an official court ordered divorce settlement, and other proof acceptable to the Authority.
04.02 WATER USER’S AGREEMENT
A Water User’s Agreement is required to establish responsibility for payment and to designate authorized agents for account transactions. The Authority will maintain a Water User’s Agreement for each customer account to include those existing customers who do not have a valid Water User’s Agreement on file in the Business Office. Failure and/or refusal by a customer to properly complete and submit to the Authority a Water User’s Agreement may result in denial/termination of service.
04.03 PROCEDURES FOR COMPLETING A WATER USER’S AGREEMENT
04.03.1 The Water User’s Agreement may be obtained at the Authority’s Business Office. The Authority will provide a copy of the instructions for completing the agreement and/or will assist the customer with completing the agreement.
04.03.2 Applicants for new service or for connection/reconnection must submit the agreement to the Authority’s Business Office and provide acceptable identification before the agreement is accepted.
04.03.3 The customer entering into the Water User’s Agreement will identify the name, relationship and Alabama Drivers License Number (or Social Security number) of individuals designated to act as the Water User’s authorized agent in matters related to the customer’s account.
04.03.4 The Water User’s Agreement must include an accurate description of the property location to include directions from the Authority’s business office, if necessary (a map is to be attached to the Authority’s copy, if required.) The customer will be required to place a stake along the property at the desired meter location. The Authority’s staff will determine distance from centerline of road, etc.
04.04 PROCEDURES FOR ESTABLISHING NEW SERVICE
04.04.1 The customer must satisfy any existing or previous delinquent payments or unpaid debts owed the Authority before any connection request is considered.
04.04.2 Customers will make application for service at the Authority’s business office during normal hours of operation. The Water User’s Agreement (para 04.02 through 04.03) and acceptable identification is required before any application for water service is honored.
04.04.3 Customers must provide acceptable proof of property ownership (reference para 04.01.4) to qualify for the security deposit applicable to property owners. Otherwise, the security deposit applicable to rental property will be assessed.
04.04.4 Property owners, desiring to take advantage of the installment payment option, must sign a promissory note. The customer must provide a legal property description (required for promissory note).
04.04.5 Where a service currently exists, the Authority will determine if sufficient capacity is available to serve the customer before the request can be approved.
04.04.6 At those locations where service does not exist, the Authority will determine if existing distribution facilities and capacity for providing water service are available, before the request can be approved. The Authority’s Board of Directors reserves the right to deny service to any customer or group of customers to whom the provision of normal service is determined by the Board to be uneconomical due to distance (or other geographical and topographical constraints) from existing distribution mains or due to limitations of supply, treatment, pumping, or storage of water. Such customers may be provided an opportunity to make a contribution in aide to construction for access to the Authority’s service. All such circumstances will be addressed by the customer, in person or in writing, with the Authority’s Board of Directors.
04.04.7 If existing distribution and/or water capacity is available to serve the request, the Authority will provide the customer with a copy of the Authority’s rules and regulations and provide an estimated service connection date.
04.04.8 If the estimated service connection date is greater than 5 working days from the then current application date, all applicable rates and fees are due from the customer.
04.04.9 The Authority has determined that the nature of the Authority’s water system is such that an approved backflow prevention device will be required at the water service connection of all of the Authority’s customers for the safety of all of the users of the Authority’s water system. Backflow prevention devices shall be installed, maintained and inspected in accordance with the Authority’s Cross-Connection Control program, a copy of which may be obtained at the offices of the Authority. It is the customer’s responsibility to insure that an approved backflow prevention device is installed prior to the commencement of water service. As a convenience to the customer, the Authority, at customer’s expense, will install an approved backflow prevention device on the customer’s water line at the time the Authority installs its water line to the customer’s premises. The charge for the purchase and installation of the approved backflow prevention device will be $15.00 for a residential service. The customer may install the customer’s own approved backflow prevention device so long as such device and the installation thereof meets the requirements of the Authority’s Cross-Connection Control Program. In either case the approved backflow prevention device will be the property of the customer and the customer shall have full responsibility for maintaining the backflow prevention device in good working order and shall be responsible for the payment of any damages to the Authority’s water system or to other water customers of the Authority caused by the failure to install or properly maintain an approved backflow prevention device. The Authority may perform routine inspection of the backflow prevention device as provided under the Cross-Connection Control Program, but no such inspection by the Authority shall release the customer from any responsibility or liability for failure to have and maintain at all times an approved backflow prevention device on the customer’s water line. At the time the customer makes application for water service the customer shall indicate to the Authority whether the customer or the Authority is to install the approved backflow prevention device.
04.04.10 The customer shall at all times comply with the Authority’s Cross-Connection Control Program and at no time permit any cross-connect, directly or indirectly, with the Authority’s water system. The customer shall be responsible for all damages to the Authority and to its other customers caused by the failure to comply with the Authority’s Cross-Connection Control Program.
04.05 LIMITED AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE WATER SERVICE
Agreement by the Authority to serve the customer does not constitute any guarantee, expressed or implied, with regard to service interruptions or customer satisfaction with the Authority’s services; nor does it constitute any acceptance of liability by the Authority, expressed or implied, for damage to customer property on the customer’s side of the water meter. The Authority will not refund any fees and charges paid to the Authority due to customer dissatisfaction resulting from service interruptions and/or other customer dissatisfaction with services provided by the Authority, nor will the Authority pay for damage to customer property on the customer’s side of the water meter.
Hydrants purchased by consumers must be equipped with an isolation valve. Hydrants will not be placed on private property and, when installed, become the property of the Authority.
05.0 RECONNECTION & SERVICE TRANSFERS
Applies when a customer requests that service at the same metering point be reconnected after service has been disconnected:
05.01.1 At the customer’s request
05.01.2 By the Authority for delinquent or nonpayment
05.01.3 By the Authority for the customer’s willful violation of the established rules and regulations (determination to be made by the Board of Directors)
05.01.4 By the previous occupant/tenant/owner/renter.
05.02 RECONNECTION PROCEDURES
All of the procedures identified in para 04.04 apply to reconnection:
05.02.1 The customer must satisfy any existing delinquent payments or unpaid balances from previous accounts with the Authority before any reconnection request is considered.
05.02.2 Acceptable identification and proof of property ownership (if applicable) must be provided and a new Water User’s Agreement completed.
05.02.3 Determination of capacity to serve the customer must be analyzed.
05.02.4 The applicable security deposit and fees are required to be paid in full at the time of application.
05.02.5 Those customers subject to a service interruption fee (para 02.10), must pay the fee in full in addition to the applicable security deposit and reconnection fee upon application.
05.02.6 Any customer who breaks a seal on the Authority’s meter for the purpose of consuming water prior to the re-establishment of service by the Authority will be charged a tampering fee plus usage. Refusal by the customer to pay the tampering fee and usage may result in immediate disconnection and removal of the meter. Any security deposit that the customer has paid for the service will be applied toward the amount owed the Authority and collection action instituted for the unpaid balance. The Board reserves the right to waive the tampering fee and disconnection requirements for cases in which, to the Board’s satisfaction, extenuating circumstances apply.
05.03 SERVICE TRANSFERS
Applies when the water service is transferred from the existing customer to a different customer at the same metering point. Service transfers are normally requested to avoid any delay in acquiring water service.
05.03.1 Not less than three (3) days notice must be given in person or in writing by the existing customer at the Authority’s office, to transfer service.
05.04 TRANSFER TERMINOLOGY
05.04.1 The “transferee” is the existing customer from which service is to be transferred.
05.04.2 The “prospect” is the customer to which service is to be transferred.
05.05 TRANSFER PROCEDURES
05.05.1 Requests for transfers must be initiated by the transferee. The exceptions to this policy are:
05.05.1.1 When the transferee has “abandoned” the service to include separation or divorce;
05.05.1.2 At the death of the transferee.
05.05.2 Service transfers can only be made prior to any disconnection action by the Authority. After service is disconnected, the terms and conditions associated with reconnection apply.
05.05.3 The prospect must comply with the application requirements identified in para 04.02 and 04.03, the proof of ownership requirements in para 04.04 and pay the applicable security deposit and a reconnection fee before a final meter reading is scheduled.
05.05.3.1 In cases of abandonment and death, prospects who agree to accept responsibility for the amount owed the Authority by the transferee will not be charged a reconnection fee. Otherwise, a reconnection fee is required and para 05.05.4 and 05.05.5 apply
05.05.4 The Authority will make a final meter reading within five (5) business days. If the Authority fails to read the meter prior to close of business on the fifth (5th) business day as referenced above, the transferee will only be charged the minimum bill and the prospect’s beginning meter reading will be as recorded by the Authority when the meter is read.
05.05.5 The transferee is responsible for all usage through the final meter reading and a final bill will be submitted to the transferee. No security deposit refund will be made until the amount owed the Authority is paid in full. Otherwise, the amount owed the Authority will be deducted from the transferee’s security deposit. Collection procedures will be initiated for any remaining indebtedness.
05.05.6 The prospect will apply for water service within 48 hours after occupying the premises. Failure to do so will make him liable for the water consumed since the last meter reading.
05.05.7 In case of abandonment, any remaining balance of the transferee’s security deposit will only be refunded to the transferee.
06.0 BILLING PROCEDURES
06.01 BILLING PERIOD
Meters will be read and customer bills issued monthly. Every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that the meters are read at approximately the same period each month so as to provide the customer with a consistent basis for comparing monthly consumption and to reduce fluctuations in monthly payments resulting from variations in the length of the billing period. Nevertheless, the Authority reserves the right to vary the dates or length of period covered, temporarily or permanently, if necessary or desirable.
06.02 CHARGES AND MINIMUM BILLS
Charges for water usage during the billing period will be calculated in accordance with the Authority’s rate schedule. No less than the minimum bill will be charged to include those accounts which were connected or disconnected at any time during billing period. Readings from multiple meters will not be combined for billing.
06.02.1 The minimum charge shall be paid for a period of not less than 24 months.
06.03 INSTALLMENT BILLING
Customer bills for the installment payment option associated with tap fees (para 02.03) as an adjustment on their regular bill.
06.03.1 The bill will show the applicable service for which installment payment was requested, installment amount, due date, delinquent date and cutoff date.
06.03.2 Installment payments may be made separately from payments for water usage either by mail or in person at the Authority’s Business Office. Payment in full is required, however, before the cut-off date to guarantee continuation of service.
06.04 DATE OF BILL ISSUE
The Authority will make every reasonable effort to ensure that customer bills are mailed by no later than three (3) days prior to the last calendar day of the month so that customers receive their bills near the last day of the calendar month.
06.05 CUSTOMER RESPONSIBILITIES
Customers who have not received a bill by the third day of the calendar month are responsible for contacting the Business Office to obtain information on the amount owed the Authority. Claims that no bill was received or that the bill was misplaced, destroyed or lost will not exempt the customer from responsibility for on-time payment nor from the assessment of any late charges.
06.06 PAYMENT LOCATIONS
Payment of water bills may be made in person at the Authority’s Business Office, by mail or at BankTrust, downtown Prattville branch.
06.07 PAYMENT DUE DATE, DELINQUENT DATE AND CUTOFF DATE
As shown on the customer bill are defined as follows;
06.07.1 Generally, the due date is established as the first business day of the calendar month which immediately follows the close of the billing period.
06.07.2 The delinquent date is established as the tenth day after the due date; providing, however, that if the 10th day after the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday for U. S. Postal Service employees, the next business day will be established as the delinquent day.
06.07.3 The cutoff date is defined as the fourth Monday of the calendar month immediately following the delinquent date.
06.07.4 The Authority reserves the right to extend the due date and cutoff date in those circumstances when it fails to achieve the mail out goal established in para 06.04.
06.08 LATE CHARGE
Payment for customer bills not received by the Authority by close of business on the delinquent date will be assessed a late charge of 10 percent (of the amount due, less taxes) which, unless paid by the customer at submittal, will be carried over to the bill for the succeeding period.
07.00 COLLECTION PROCEDURES
07.01 DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS
Applies to those accounts wherein the Authority has not received payment, by close of business on the fourth Monday of the calendar month.
07.01.1 If the customer’s payment is not received at the Authority by the close of business on the cutoff date, water service will be discontinued on the next business day and a final meter reading obtained.
07.01.1.1 As a safety measure, all payments must be made by one of the accepted payment methods prior to cut-off time. Employees are not allowed to accept payments from customers outside of the office.
07.01.2 If it seems evident that the customer has no intention of reestablishing service, the customer’s security deposit will be applied toward the amount owed to the Authority to include the usage based on the final meter reading. The balance of the security deposit, if any, will be mailed to the customer.
07.01.3 Any future application for water service from the customer will not be accepted until the unpaid balance owed the Authority is satisfied.
07.01.4 Any requests for reconnection made after 3:00 in the afternoon will be processed on the following business day. No after-hours reconnects will be made. Reconnection fees and all other charges must be paid at the office of the Authority before the work order will be issued for reconnection.
07.02 RETURNED CHECKS
07.02.1 The Authority shall issue a written notice informing the customer of the returned check. The notice will include:
07.02.1.1 The date, number and issuing bank of the returned check, the returned check charge and total due the Authority;
07.02.1.2 A summary of the procedures for payment;
07.02.1.3 The established cutoff date, which will be established as ten (10) days after the date of the notice (if 10th day falls on weekend or a holiday recognized by the Authority, the next business day will be established as the cutoff date);
07.02.1.4 The consequences to the customer if payment is not made.
07.02.2 The customer is responsible for making a cash or money order payment equivalent to the amount of the returned check plus a RETURNED CHECK CHARGE (para 03.12), at the Business Office (or by mail if a money order is utilized).
07.02.3 If payment is not received from the customer by close of business on the cut-off date, water service will be discontinued and a final meter reading taken on the next business day.
07.02.4 The customer’s security deposit will be applied toward the amount owed to the Authority to include the returned check amount, returned check charge and the usage based on the final meter reading. The balance of the security deposit, if any, will be mailed to the customer. Administrative/collection action will be initiated with the credit bureau and appropriate collection agency for any unpaid balance.
07.02.5 Repeated returned checks, defined as three (3) returned checks, shall be grounds for “cash or money order only” status.
08.0 REQUESTS FOR DISCONNECTION
08.01 AUTHENTICATION REQUIRED
Telephone requests for disconnection require authentication to protect the customer as well as the Authority from fraud. The Alabama Drivers License number or social security number will be required from the customer or their authorized agent and compared to the information contained on the Water User’s Agreement. Requests from anyone other than the individual whose name appears on the Water User’s Agreement or their authorized agent (as specified on the Water User’s Agreement will not be accepted. Additionally, requests will not be accepted from individuals who fail to properly authenticate.
08.02 DISCONNECTION PROCEDURES
08.02.1 ADVANCE NOTICE REQUIRED: Customers will provide the Authority with five (5) business days advance notice for disconnection of service.
08.02.2 The Authority will brief the customer on the policy for service interruption and the cost for reconnection
08.02.3 The Authority will make a final meter reading, shut off service, and seal the meter.
08.02.4 The customer is responsible for all usage prior to disconnection and a final bill will be issued. The security deposit will not be refunded until all charges due from the customer have been paid. Refunds will be made to the customer whose name appeared on the Water User’s Agreement. In case of death, any refund balance due the customer will be paid to the customer’s spouse or beneficiary (proof of probated estate required for non-spouse.)
08.02.5 If the Authority fails to disconnect service by close of business on the fifth (5th) business day after notification (as recorded in the customer’s file), the customer will only be charged the minimum bill for the billing period.
08.02.6 If relocating, the customer is responsible for providing the Authority with an accurate forwarding address for return of their security deposit.
08.02.7 Any customer who breaks a seal on the Authority’s meter for the purpose of consuming water after service has been disconnected will be charged a tampering fee plus usage and the Authority will immediately remove the meter. The customer will be issued a bill for the total charges. Collection procedures will be initiated for any balance not paid by close of business, fifteen (15) days after the date of the bill.
09.0 AUTHORITY’S RESPONSIBILITY AND LIABILITY
09.01The Authority shall install a service line from its distribution main to the boundary of the easement, or road right of way, of said distribution main upon payment (under the terms and conditions specified herein) of the applicable tap fee and security deposit.
09.02 The Authority may install its meter at such place it deems expedient to include, at the Authority’s option, on the customer’s property within three feet of the property line.
09.03 The Authority may extend mains to service properties not adjacent to its mains upon payment of all reasonable costs for the extensions as may be required to render such service.
09.04 If the Authority displaces the existing distribution main which services the customer, the Authority is responsible for reconnecting the service line to the customer.
09.05 The Authority reserves the right to refuse service unless the customer’s lines or piping are installed in such a manner as to prevent cross-connections and backflow.
09.06 The Authority’s water system does not provide fire protection. Fire hydrants are installed for purposes of testing the system, flushing lines during maintenance and other operational functions.
09.07 While the Authority will strive to furnish sufficient water pressure and service to the meter, according to ADEM regulations, the Authority will not guarantee performance beyond the meter. Thus, a disclaimer must be signed and retained in the user’s file for these meters.
09.08 RIGHTS RESERVED FOR AUTHORITY
The Authority reserves the right to restrict, interrupt or discontinue water service to its customers:
09.08.1 in order to perform emergency repairs to the system (without prior notice);
09.08.2 when the water supply is insufficient to meet customer demand; (intended as a contingency measure to establish demand priorities when system failures or reduced volume in the water table make it necessary to limit certain types of usage, e. g. lawn/garden watering, swimming pools, construction use, etc.).
09.08.3 to prevent fraud or abuse;
09.08.4 at the direction of public authorities
09.08.5 because of the customer’s willful disregard for the Authority’s rules and regulations;
09.08.6 in widespread emergencies such as floods, fires, strike, riot, accident or any unavoidable cause;
09.08.7 because of actual or suspected system sabotage and/or threats to public health;
09.08.8 legal processes.
10.0 ACCESS TO PREMISES/PROPERTY
10.01 Duly Authorized agents of the Authority shall have access, at all reasonable hours, to the customer’s premises:
10.01.1 for the purpose of installing, removing, repairing and inspecting Authority property;
10.01.2 to connect or reconnect service as required;
10.01.3 to shut off (disconnect) service at the water meter based on a customer request for disconnection or in accordance with the Authority’s rules and regulations in cases of noncompliance,
10.01.4 to read/test meters and/or to notify the customer of any suspected leaks or problems on the customer’s side of the meter;
10.01.5 to inspect the customer’s lines or piping and/or facilities for compliance with the Authority’s rules and regulations;
10.01.6 to collect water samples as may be required;
10.01.7 to perform water loss/leak inspections at the request of the customer.
10.02 System extensions shall be made only when the customer shall grant or convey, or shall cause to be granted or conveyed, the Authority a permanent easement or right of way for property transverse by the Authority’s mains and/or lines.
11.0 CUSTOMER’S RESPONSIBILITY
11.01 ACCESS TO METER
Where a meter or meter box is placed on the premises of a consumer, the meter and/or meter box shall be unobstructed and accessible at all times to the Authority.
11.02 REQUIRED EQUIPMENT
11.02.1 CUSTOMER PROVIDED EQUIPMENT: The customer shall furnish, install and maintain the service line and all piping on the customer’s side of the meter. The customer’s lines shall be installed and maintained in a safe and efficient manner; shall be in compliance with the Authority’s rules and regulations; and shall be in complete compliance with all applicable building codes, regulations of the county and State Health Department and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
11.02.2 The customer shall, for their protection, furnish, install and maintain a cut-off valve and a pressure regulator on their side of the meter.
11.02.2.1 The customer’s cut-off valve provides immediate access to shut off the water supply in cases of leaks on the customer’s side of the meter. Since the customer is financially responsible for all water use as registered at the meter, it may prove advantageous to the customer to install the cut-off valve as close to the water meter (on the customer’s side) as possible.
11.02.2.2 The pressure regulator, if properly installed and maintained, is designed to reduce water pressures to acceptable levels. Consequently, the Authority is not responsible for any damage to customer property that may result from the customer’s failure to install and properly maintain a pressure regulator.
11.02.3 CROSS CONNECTION POLICY: The backflow valve will be furnished and installed by the Authority at a cost of $15.00. The customer may choose to furnish the backflow valve, however, the meter will remain locked until such time as system personnel shall check the installation of such valve. Backflow valves are required by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to protect the water supply from possible contamination resulting from the backflow of water from a customer’s line into the distribution mains. Various degrees hazards may require more sophisticated and expensive protection for the system. The Cross Connection Policy adopted by the Board requires that the cost of such equipment be paid by the user. A copy of the policy is available upon request.
11.03 LIMITS ON CUSTOMER USE OF WATER
Water furnished by the Authority shall be used for consumption by the customer only. The customer shall not sell water nor provide a service of water to any other customer. Irrigation of any type is strictly prohibited.
11.04 DOUBLE CONNECTIONS
Double connections shall not be allowed. They are a direct violation of these rules and regulations, the Water User’s Agreement, and Federal and State Regulations. If such a violation is suspected, the Authority shall issue, by mail, a notice to the customer which:
11.04.1 explains the suspected violation;
11.04.2 specifies a cut-off date of 15 days from the date of the notice (if 15th day falls on the weekend or a holiday, the next business day will be used);
11.04.3 requires that the customer provide to the Authority, in writing, a clarification as to the existence or nonexistence of an improper connection prior to close of business on the cut off date; OR, that the customer request an inspection by the Authority of any action taken to correct the improper connections, prior to close of business on the cut off date;
11.04.4 explains the consequences of noncompliance.
If the customer fails to comply with these requirements by close of business on the cut off date, the Authority will discontinue water service on the next business day. Future requests for water service, at the same metering point by the customer, will be subject to the terms and conditions for reconnection.
11.05 TAMPERING FORBIDDEN
The customer shall not tamper with any meter or equipment of the Authority, to include any security device used when water service has been disconnected. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the assessment of a tampering fee, charges for any usage, and removal of the meter. Further, the customer is responsible for reimbursing the Authority the actual cost for any repairs made as a result of damage from customer tampering with Authority property. After removal of the meter, future requests for water service, at the same metering point by the customer, will be subject to the terms and conditions for connection. The Authority may, in addition to prosecution by law, permanently refuse service to any customer who tampers with a meter or other measuring device
12.0 INQUIRIES AND ADJUSTMENTS
12.01 SERVICE QUALITY INQUIRIES/COMMENTS
It is the goal of the Authority to provide our customers with the best possible water service. The Board of Directors is very interested in and solicits comments from customers with regard to the quality of service provided by the Authority. The following procedures apply to customer inquiries or comments with regard to service quality:
12.01.1 The customer shall make all inquiries/comments in writing to the Authority’s Board of Directors or in person at the Board’s monthly public meeting. Written correspondence shall identify the customer’s name, billing address, service address (if different), telephone number and a detailed discussion of the inquiry and/or comments. For comments/inquiries made before the Board, the customer will be asked to follow up their oral comments in writing at the Board meeting or for later submission at their convenience. This requirement ensures that the customer’s comments/inquiries are recorded accurately and reduces the potential for improper interpretation and/or loss of key details to include identification.
12.01.2 The Secretary-Treasurer of the Board will present to the Board at its monthly public meeting any written comments/inquiries regarding service quality received by mail prior to the meeting and will collect any comments/inquiries written during or presented but submitted subsequent to the Board meeting.
12.01.3 The Board will review the comments/inquiries submitted or presented by customers and will either address the comments/inquiries at the Board meeting or direct that an investigation be conducted by its employees.
12.01.4 Subsequent to the review of any investigation directed by the Board, the Authority will issue a written response to the customer which details the results of the investigation and any comments from the Board regarding remedial actions.
12.01.5 The Secretary-Treasurer of the Board will bring to the attention of the Board at its monthly public meeting (under the category of “old business”) any customer comments/inquiries (from subpara 12.01.4 above) which have not been resolved in writing to the customer.
12.02 VARIATIONS IN THE CUSTOMER’S WATER USAGE
Water usage varies by season, length of the billing period (days of recorded usage), changes in the customer’s lifestyle, in accordance with water loss on the customer’s side of the meter, and, on rare occasions, due to errors in recording usage either through misreading the meter or due to a malfunctioning meter.
12.02.1 SEASONAL VARIATIONS: Water usage during the summer months is typically higher than that for the winter months because children may be at home during the summer, customers water plants and gardens during dry periods, customers wash vehicles more frequently than in colder months, customers bathe more often with increased perspiration, and so on.
12.02.2 LENGTH OF THE BILLING PERIOD: The length of the billing period (days) can lead a customer to believe that their recorded usage is excessive in comparison to other months. Average daily consumption, however, is a more reasonable basis for comparison and may prove that the customer’s usage has not changed at all.
12.02.3 CHANGES IN LIFESTYLE: Changes in customer lifestyles such as the addition of a swimming pool or dishwasher, an increase in water users in the household, or visits by live-in guests during a billing period can significantly change usage patterns.
12.02.4 WATER LOSSES: Water usage may also increase because of water loss on the customer’s side of the meter to include leaks in lines or leaking faucets/toilets (may not be easily detected by casual observation).
12.02.5 HISTORICAL USAGE: Historical usage records from the same season (when available) should be used for comparing recorded to “expected” water usage. For a proper comparison, average daily usage should be calculated based on the length of the billing period. Average daily usage is defined as the total usage for the billing period divided by the number of days in the billing period. To “smooth” any “peaks or valleys” that may occur between periods, quarterly averages (i.e., average of Jan-Mar, average of Apr-June, etc.) will be used as the basis for historical daily usage. For this calculation, the total usage for the quarter will be divided by the total days in the billing period for the quarter.
12.03 BILLING REVIEWS
The Authority cannot adjust bills simply because the customer believes it to be excessive. The Authority must rely on the usage as recorded at the meter unless it can be demonstrated that the reading is erroneous. Consequently, the customer remains responsible for paying the amount due plus any late charge though such payment may be made under “protest”. Customers who believe that the usage, as shown on their bill, is erroneous will immediately contact the Authority Business Office.
12.03.1 The Authority will calculate average daily usage for the billing period and historical usage based upon the quarter within which the billing period falls (para 12.02.5). Recorded usage which is 1.25 times historical usage (or greater) will be considered a significant variation.
12.03.2 In cases where significant variations in usage appear to have occurred, the customer will be questioned with regard to any interim changes in lifestyle (as referenced in para 12.02).
12.03.3 If subpara 12.03.2 (above) proves inconclusive, the customer will be instructed to read the meter and report the results for verification that the Authority’s reading is accurate. If the meter reading reported by the customer shows that the Authority’s reading may be in error.
12.03.3.1 The Authority will reread the customer’s meter at no charge and, if verified, an adjustment will be performed.
12.03.3.1.1 ADJUSTMENTS: The Authority will attempt to determine the “misread” reading based on historical usage and/or reasonable deduction. An adjustment will then be made immediately to the customer’s account based on the charge, less tax, which the customer should have been charged. The amount of usage for the month in the account history screen will be adjusted accordingly. The same procedure will be used for accounts which are determined to have been misread following the subsequent month’s reading.
12.03.3.2 If the meter reading is believed to be accurate, the customer will be briefed on the procedures for checking their side of the meter for any leaks and/or sources for water loss.
12.03.3.3 If the customer reports that no leaks and/or water losses are believed to exist on their side of the meter, they will be briefed on the following options:
12.03.3.3.1 OPTION ONE: The customer must first pay the bill to include any late charges, under “protest”. The customer may request that their meter be tested (customer must first sign a meter testing request and pay a meter testing fee as per para 02.08). If the meter is found to register in excess of correct volume by more than 3% or greater, the meter testing fee will be refunded along with an adjustment for overpayment due to erroneous usage. The customer will be issued the refund, by check, from the Authority.
ADJUSTMENT: The adjustment will cover the billing period under “protect” (hereafter referred to as Period A) plus the number of days prior to meter replacement in the succeeding billing period (hereafter referred to as Period B). The correction factor is the error rate determined from the meter test.
Recorded usage – (Recorded Usage X Correction Factor) = Revised Usage
(Amount Charged Customer – Amount Due for Revised Usage) = Refund for Period A.
Recorded usage for period B is the usage for the entire billing period both before and after meter replacement. Replacement Usage is the usage through meter replacement only.
Replacement Usage = Meter Reading upon replacement – Meter Reading for Period A
Recorded Usage – (replacement Usage X Correction Factor) = Revised Usage
Amount Charged Customer – Amount Due for Revised Usage = Refund for Period B
Total Refund Due Customer
Refund for Period A + Refund for Period B + Refund of Meter Testing Fee = Total
12.03.3.3.2 OPTION TWO: The customer must first pay the bill to include any late charges, under “protest”. The customer may then write a letter to be presented to the Board at its monthly public meeting which explains the circumstances and justification for adjustment. The Secretary/Treasurer of the Board will ensure that such letters are accompanied by historical usage analysis as calculated in subpara 12.03.1, above. The Board’s response will be submitted in writing to the customer to include (if applicable) a check for any refund deemed necessary by the Board.
12.03.3.3.3 OPTION THREE: The customer must first pay the bill plus late charges, if applicable, under “protest.” The Authority will change out the meter and “watch” usage for 3 months. At the end of the 3 month period, if the customer still feels that he was charged for too much water before the meter change-out, a letter must be written to the Board of Directors requesting an adjustment.
12.04 LIMITED ADJUSTMENT FOR CUSTOMER’S WATER LOSS
Applies when a residential customer’s recorded usage during a billing period exceeds historical usage by more than 2.5 times the average historical usage (para 12.02.2). The customer must notify the Authority of their intention to request this adjustment prior to the delinquent date to avoid any late charge and/or disconnection for nonpayment. Customers who fail to meet the qualifying criteria will be subject to a late charge and disconnection for nonpayment.
12.04.1 QUALIFYING CRITERIA
12.04.1.1 The customer has received service from the Authority for 12 consecutive months previous to the billing period under review.
12.04.1.2 The customer does not owe an outstanding balance to the Authority for the metering point under review or any other existing or previous metering point (other than the current charges and any authorized installments.)
12.04.1.3 The customer proves that the excess usage was the result of a leak either in their lines or in a water fixture such as a toilet or faucet. Such proof may include a statement from a certified plumber or from an inspection of leaks and/or repairs, as requested by the customer, from Authority personnel.
12.04.1.4 The customer has received no prior adjustment under the terms and conditions of para 12.04.
12.04.1.5 The customer submits a written request for adjustment to the Board to include the proof referenced in subpara 12.04.1.4.
12.04.1.5.1 ADJUSTMENT: The Authority will allow a one-time adjustment of one-half of the amount of the bill for excessive usage due to an unexpected or undetected leak. The customer will be given the option of taking the adjustment or paying in installments (amount to be determined by personnel on a case-by-case basis) until the excessive balance is paid. If the customer chooses the installment option, the Authority will waive late charges until the account is “caught up.”
12.05 If the seal of a meter is broken by other than the Authority’s representative or if the meter fails to register correctly or is stopped for any cause, the consumer shall pay an amount estimated from the record of his previous bills and/or from other proper data.
13.0 UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS/USE OF AUTHORITY SERVICE
13.01 Under no circumstances will water service be provided, free of charge, to anyone. The only exception to this policy is for the Authority’s use in the normal conduct of business and for fire fighting efforts/normal operations by recognized local fire fighting organizations. Board members, Authority employees and all other individuals and corporations are fully subject to these rules and will not be granted any special rates, concessions or treatment not provided or available to every other customer.
13.01.1 Fire departments are required to report use of any water in writing. Reports shall state date, estimate of amount of water used (location of hydrant, estimated flow and number of minutes.) Reports shall be submitted to the Authority by the first day of each month.
13.02 Any individual or corporation who is found to have unauthorized access to and/or use of the Authority’s water service will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Authority, however, reserves the right to settle any such incident through financial restitution from the violator and other terms and conditions of settlement established by unanimous approval of the Authority’s Board of Directors in its monthly public meeting.
14.0 EMPLOYMENT POLICY
14.01 West Autauga Water Authority (WAWA) recognizes the economic state of its Area of Jurisdiction and will strive to be an impartial and fair employer. All conditions of the Equal Opportunity laws and the Fair Employment Acts will be strictly adhered to. WAWA’s basic employment policy will be as follows:
14.01.1 First consideration for a Manager/Director will be limited to the WAWA area. This means persons who are qualified and reside in the WAWA Area of Jurisdiction.
14.01.2 Second consideration will be given to the remainder of Autauga County residents.
14.01.3 Third consideration will be given to rural areas of any surrounding counties.
14.01.4 For all support personnel, clerks, secretaries, office personnel, laborers, etc., first consideration will be given to those who reside in Autauga County. This applies to full-time, part-time and seasonal employees.
14.02 In the event WAWA enters into a Contract with any Water Service Organization for the day-to-day operation of WAWA’s System, the following will be strictly adhered to:
14.02.1 Applications received for a Manager/Director position will be sent to WAWA’s Board of Directors. It will be fully reviewed by the Board. If the applicant meets the basic requirements for the position, he/she will be interviewed by the Board.
14.02.2 In the event the Board is satisfied that the applicant meets their standards of employment, they will advise the WSO that the applicant meets their standards and may be hired. If, after review and acceptance, the WSO may hire the person so recommended by the Board. At that time, the person is the employee of the WSO and under the complete guidance and supervision of the WSO. WAWA will in no way interfere or presume any responsibility for his/her actions. Instead, they will, if the Board deems it necessary, contact the WSO for any needed corrective action.
15.0 SUBDIVISION POLICY
15.01 GENERAL: The decision by someone to subdivide or otherwise develop property may have an adverse affect on the water system, the surrounding communities, and the developer if sufficient water resources are not available or construction methods and materials are not to specification. Experience has shown that a definite policy is needed for continued control and growth of the water system. This policy must coincide with Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) regulations, state and county health department regulations and other regulations by local agencies including standards set by the West Autauga Water Authority (the System.)
15.02 POLICY: The Farmers Home Administration, USDA, the holder of the System’s bonds, severely restricts the system’s ability to finance expansions without a corresponding rate increase. Therefore, the property developer must pay all cost for providing water and extending water mains to and into his development.
The developer may employ any qualified, licensed engineer for the project including the System’s engineer on terms agreeable between the parties. If the developer chooses an engineer other than the System’s Engineer, the System’s Engineer, nevertheless, shall review the plans and specifications for the project to ensure that they meet the required standards of the System. During the period of the construction, the System’s Engineer and/or the System’s other inspectors shall have the right, but not the obligation, to inspect the project as to materials used and construction methods and techniques to insure compliance with System standards.
The developer shall utilize only state licensed contractors approved by the System and shall insure that the construction is acceptable in all respects. Upon completion of the project, title to the water main extensions, connections to individual’s meters and other improvements shall be transferred to the System.
15.03.1 When a subdivision or mobile home park developer approaches the system for water service, he is required to deposit $100 in advance for initial engineering services to be provided by the System’s Engineer. The developer shall provide a plat of the land prepared by a licensed surveyor. Services by the System’s Engineer will include a brief review of the developer’s proposal and preparation of a written opinion to the Board of directors of the System (the “Board”) as to the availability of water service in the reviewed area. This opinion must state that the existing customers will still retain a minimum of 20 psi as required by ADEM. In addition, this opinion will also include a statement of anticipated effect on the particular section of the water system, old or new, and on the overall system. System personnel will certify pressure at designated points, as determined by the maintenance superintendent, to the System in writing. If the minimum pressure is not available, or other impediments to the furnishing of water are determined, water service will not be authorized. The developer will be notified in writing by the Board of its decision. The decision of the Board shall be noted in the minutes of the Board meeting at which the decision is made.
15.03.2 The developer’s engineer shall prepare plans, specifications and bid documents for the project, manage the process of receiving bids and inspect the construction of the project as work progresses. If the engineer for the project is other than the System’s Engineer, prior to taking bids on the project, the developer shall submit the plans and specifications therefore to the System’s Engineer for approval.
15.03.3 If the developer is using an engineer other than the System’s Engineer, he must deposit a minimum of $25 per lot, in advance, as payment for engineering services in the review of the plans and specifications by the System’s Engineer. He must further deposit in advance 10% of the estimated water line construction costs as payment for inspection and administrative costs incurred by the System for the project. These funds are to be used by the System for the project and will not be returned to the developer.
15.03.4 Strict compliance with the specifications is an absolute must to insure total compatibility with the existing system. During the construction phase it is to be clearly understood that the System inspector or System’s Engineer will have the authority to stop construction at any point he finds materials being used that are not compatible with the specifications provided, or that acceptable standards are not being followed in the course of construction. Specification changes or variances must be approved by the System.
15.03.5 When the construction is completed, it is understood that the System will own and maintain all of the water system additions to the metering point for individual connections. The System shall not be required to accept or maintain any additions which do not fully meet the approved plans and specifications therefore of which have not been fully paid for. Before acceptance of any project by the System, the developer shall furnish the System appropriate lien waivers from all contractors indicating all costs of the project have been paid. No costs reimbursement will be made for any expenses of the project. The developer should include the cost of all improvements in the selling or leasing price of his lots or be prepared to otherwise pay for the same. The developer will also be held responsible for substandard construction or noncompliance to specifications. The acceptance of a subdivision creates no guarantee that at any future date water will be available to serve lots not then connected to the water system.
15.03.6 At the time that water is made available to the subdivision or development, the developer shall pay an impact fee of $500 per lost to the System or such other impact fee as shall be in effect at the time of approval by the System of the developer’s plans and specifications for the subdivision.
15.03.6.1 As an alternate, if the developer chooses, he may provide a cash Surety Bond that guarantees the payment of the monthly minimum water bill, then in effect, for each lot over a period of the following five years.
16.0 POLICY FOR THE CONTROL OF BACKFLOW AND CROSS-CONNECTIONS
Cross-connections can allow nonpotable water or other substances to contaminate the public drinking water supply and present the possibility of certain liabilities to the officials of the water system including the threat of significant economic loss due to interrupted water service. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management requires the adoption of a cross-connection control policy.
16.01 CROSS-CONNECTIONS ARE PROHIBITED
16.01.1 No person shall install, cause to be installed, or maintain a cross-connection between any system of piping supplied by water from the potable water supply of the WEST AUTAUGA WATER AUTHORITY and any other source, including piping or equipment containing water or other substances of unknown or questionable quality that may present a health or system hazard to the potable water supply, unless such connection has been controlled to the satisfaction of the officials of the WEST AUTAUGA WATER AUTHORITY and the ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT.
16.01.2 No person shall install or maintain a water service connection to any premises where cross-connections to the consumer’s water system may exist or until such actual or potential cross-connections are eliminated or controlled.
16.02 RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORITY
16.02.1 The West Autauga Water Authority has established a program of cross-connection control that will adequately protect the water supply by isolating, at the service connection, such contaminants or pollutants within the consumer’s water system that may backflow through cross-connections into the public water supply.
16.02.2 If, in the judgment of the officials of the West Autauga Water Authority, the installation of a cross-connection device at the service connection of any facility is required, the Authority shall require such device. The owner, customer or operator of the facility shall at his own expense be responsible for the purchase, installation, maintenance, and testing of the device.
16.02.3 The failure, refusal, or inability on the part of the customer to install, repair and have tested any required device, shall be grounds for discontinuance of water service to the premises until such time as these requirements for protection have been satisfactorily met.
16.02.4 The West Autauga Water Authority has a written policy which provides such cross-connection control information as needed to assist customers with carrying out the provisions of this policy.