ATKINSON TOWN WATER SYSTEM ORDINANCE:
TO: PROVIDE FOR ITS OPERATION, MANAGEMENT, MAINTENANCE, AND REPAIR; ESTABLISH RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING IT; AND TO PROVIDE PENALITIES FOR VIOLATIONS.
SECTION 1. TITLE
This Ordinance shall be known as the “Water System Ordinance”.
SECTION 2. PURPOSE
It is hereby determined to be desirable and necessary for the public health, safety, and welfare of the Town of Atkinson, North Carolina, that a water system be operated by the town on a public utility basis.
SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS
Unless the context of usage indicates otherwise, the meaning of specific terms in this Ordinance shall be as follows:
3.01 “Town” shall mean the Town of Atkinson, North Carolina.
3.02 “Board” or “Town Board” shall mean the Town Council of Atkinson. 3.03 “Water System” and “System” shall mean the complete water supply and distribution system of the Town, including all properties, facilities and funds.
3.04 “Water Department” shall mean collectively those officials, employees and agents of the Town invested by the Board with authority over the system.
3.05 “Main” and “Water-main” shall mean those pipes, other than supply pipes and service pipes, used for conveying or distributing water.
3.06 “Service Stub” shall mean pipe tapped into a main and extending thence to and including the shut-off valve at the property line.
3.07 “Service Pipe” shall mean a pipe extending from the property line into premises supplied with water.
3.08 “Premises” shall mean the particular property connected to the system and includes appurtenant land and improvements.
3.09 “Shall” and “Must” are mandatory; “May” is permissive.
SECTION 4. SYSTEM OPERATION
The Town shall be the owner of the system. The water mains are under the exclusive control of the Town Board, and all persons other than agents and employees of the Board are forbidden to disturb, tap, change, obstruct access to, or interfere with them in any way. Any persons, firms, or corporations installing mains at their own expense shall first submit complete plans and specifications, prepared by a Registered Professional Engineer, for such work, to the Town Board for approval, at which time the Town Board shall determine the conditions for such installation.
4.02 Operation and Maintenance
The operation, maintenance, alteration, repair and management of the system shall be under the supervision and control of the Town Board. The Town Board shall retain the exclusion right to establish, maintain and collect rates and charges for system operations. The Town Board may employ such person or persons in such capacity or capacities, as it deems advisable and may make such rules, orders and regulations, as it deems advisable and necessary to assure the efficient establishment, operation and maintenance of the system and the collection of rates and charges.
4.03 Fiscal Year
The system shall be operated on the basis of an operating year commencing July 1 of each year and ending June 30 of the following year.
4.04 Free Service Prohibited
The system will not supply water to any person, firm or corporation, without charge except area fire departments.
All water service shall be metered and all meters are the property of the system. All meters shall be read at a reasonable time. Failure of the user to provide access to an authorized Town employee for meter reading will result in either, at the discretion of the Town, the user being issued a water bill based on the highest metered charge of a similar type user in the Town during the billing period in which access for reading the meter is denied or prevented, or such user’s water service being discontinued.
4.06 Access to Premises
Each user of this water system must permit entry to a Town maintenance employee for the required maintenance of this system. Failure on the part of any user of this water system to permit entry of the authorized Town maintenance employee upon the premises will authorized the Town to immediately terminate the use of the water system by the user.
4.07 Maintenance and Efficient Operation
The Town will maintain the system in good repair and working order and will operate the same efficiently, and will faithfully comply with all rules and regulations of the State Health Department and all statutes of the State of North Carolina, applicable to the operation of a municipal water system.
4.08 Notice of Users
Where in this Ordinance giving notice is required, such notice shall be deemed to have been given when it has been placed in the United States mails addressed to the Atkinson Town Board in card of the Town Clerk or to the user of the service at the premise to which service is being furnished.
The Town Board may provide public improvements by enlarging or extending the system, by combining with other water systems. The Town may make purchases, undertake construction of improvements and enlargements, and make repairs to the system as needed. The Town may collect charges, fees, rentals and establish rates for the services, and facilities resulting from public improvements.
SECTION 5. SERVICE PIPES AND CONNECTIONS
Before any new connection may be made to any water-main, a permit application shall be submitted in writing to the Town Clerk by the owner of the premises to be served, and a tapping permit secured. The owner, user and/or applicant for a water tapping permit agrees to abide by all rules and regulations of the Water Department in all respects. All connections and piping must be inspected by the Town or the Town’s agent before they are buried or covered up and must meet all applicable zoning and construction requirements of the State Plumbing Code.
5.02 Rules and Regulations
5.02.1 Before receiving a permit for a service connection, all connection fees must be paid.
5.02.2 The water service stub from the main to the property line shall be maintained by the Water Department. The service pipe from the meter to the premises is private plumbing and must be maintained by the owner of the premises.
5.02.3 Service pipe installation shall be the responsibility of the property owner and must meet the requirements of the State Plumbing Code.
5.02.4 Water shall be taken and used only through water service pipes under the supervision of the Water Department and no connection through which Water may pass from one property or premise to another shall be permitted even though the ownership of both properties or premises may be the same.
5.02.5 When a property is served by a single meter, a single charge will be made to the owners of the property even if the properties are occupied by two or families or businesses. A building or buildings under one ownership consisting of several premises must be served by individual water services and meters. In this case each service will be billed separately. In multiple meter installations, no master meter will be allowed.
5.02.6 Where a building, originally built as a single building or premise and fitted with one service pipe, but capable of being divided by sale or otherwise, has been or may be subdivided and each subdivision shall be separately owned, the resulting separate division or divisions must be connected to the main by separate service pipes within thirty (30) days after such division.
5.02.7 Where the authorized agent of the Town Board for any reason has turned off the water, only authorized personnel shall turn it on again.
5.02.8 All cross connections between any type of water supply and municipal water supply are strictly prohibited. In the event a cross connection is discovered, the water will be turned off until the cross connection is severed. No direct connection of any type to a sewer line shall be allowed.
5.02.9 No person, firm or corporation shall open or cause to be opened any fire hydrant.
5.02.10 The service stub and meter, installation charge for which provision is made in Section 6, shall include the cost of the water meter shall remain the property of the department and will at all times remain under its control. The department will furnish the meter couplings or flanges. The maintenance of the meter will be the obligation of the Water Department provided that where replacements, repairs or adjustments of the meter are made necessary by the act, neglect or carelessness of the owner or occupant of any premises, the resulting expenses for repair may be charged against and collected from the owner or occupant of the premises. The Town may elect to install meters with outside readers and increase charges to cover the additional cost.
5.02.11 If a meter fails to function or to register, the consumer shall be charged for the average quarterly consumption, as shown by the meter when in order.
5.02.12 All persons are forbidden to interfere with or move a water meter from any service connection with out first receiving permission from the Water Department. No person shall remove or break any seal on meters or by pass valves.
SECTION 6. SYSTEM RATES AND CHARGES
The Town Board shall fix rates for water and water service furnished customers of the system. Said rates and charges shall be sufficient to provide for the payment of all expenses of administration, operation, maintenance, repair and improvement of the system as may be necessary to keep the system in good working order. The schedule of rates and charges shall be revised or amended by ordinance or resolution from time to time by the Town Board.
6.02 Minimum Service Charge
The owner of each premises or property which is connected to the system with a service connection ready to be used, shall pay a minimum service charge for each service. Minimum service charges and consumption rates are contained in the Town’s service rate table. Should a property owner elect to provide service to an unimproved property which uses no water, the minimum fee shall be the same as the minimum service fee. This fee shall be applied toward debt service. Each improved property within the Town limits is required to connect to the municipal water system within 60 days of the system coming on line. Failure to connect is a violation of this ordinance and will be subject to the civil penalties set forth below. New construction must connect before a certificate of occupancy will be issued. The Town Council may, at its discretion, grant relief if a property owner can show compelling reasons for failure to meet the time limits contained in this ordinance.
6.03Water Consumption Rates
6.03.1 The minimum service charge will be contained in the Town’s service table, including charges for each gallon of water used. The services rate table is reviewed, revised as necessary, and adopted each budget year by the Town Council and is available to the public at the Town Clerk’s office in the Town Hall.
6.03.2 All temporary connections will be billed at the rate contained in the Town’s service rate table.
6.03.3 Connection charges after the initial hook up period, for new users of the system, shall pay the connection charge as contained in the Town’s service rate table.
6.04 Reconnection Charges
Whenever it becomes necessary to shut off the water service, whether requested by the customer or required as a result of delinquency, a reconnection charge will be assessed. The reconnection charge is contained in the Town’s service rate table.
SECTION 7. COLLECTION OF RATES AND CHARGES
7.01 Rates and charges shall be billed and collected monthly by the Town of Atkinson.
7.02 Failure to receive a bill shall not excuse failure to pay the bill when due.
7.03 Bills shall be due and payable not more than fifteen (15) days after billing. Due dates shall be indicated on the face of each bill. If any rates, fees or charges are not paid on or before the due date the Town will disconnect service on the next business day. Service so disconnected shall not be restored until all sums then due and owing, including a turn-on charge have been paid in full.
7.04 Failure of an owner to pay all applicable fees and charges shall result in the town pursuing every means legally possible to satisfy the debt.
7.05 Consumption charges and reconnections charges shall be the obligation of the owner of the premises.
SECTION 8. GENERAL PROVISIONS
8.01 Use of Existing Wells
Property owners may continue to maintain and use existing wells for non portable uses. There must be no cross-connection between well water and the municipal system.
8.02 Disruption of Services
Should it become necessary to shut off the water from any section of the system because of accidents or for the purpose of making repairs or in case of construction, the Town Board will endeavor to give timely notice to the consumer affected, and will, as far as practical, use its best efforts to prevent inconvenience and damage arising from any such causes, but failure to give such notice will not render the Town Board responsible or liable for damages that may result, or from any other cause.
8.03 Penalties and Enforcement
8.03.1 No unauthorized person shall maliciously, willfully, or negligently break, damage, destroy, uncover, deface or tamper with any structure, appurtenance, or equipment which is a part of the municipal water works.
Any person violating any provision shall be subject to immediate arrest.
8.03.2 Any person found to be violating any provision of this ordinance except 8.02.1 shall be served by the Water Department with written notice stating the nature of the violation and providing a reasonable time limit for the satisfactory correction there of. The offender shall, within the period of time stated in such notice, permanently cease all violations.
8.03.3 Any person who shall continue any violation beyond the time limit provided for in 8.02.2, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in the amount not exceeding $500.00 for each violation. Each day in which any violation shall continue shall be deemed a separate offense.
8.03.4 Any person violating any of the provisions of this ordinance shall become liable to the Town for any expense, loss or damage occasioned the system by reason of such violation.
8.03.5 The Town Council may ameliorate the penalty at its discretion if the owner is able to document compelling reasons for non-compliance but in no circumstance is the Town Council required to grant relief.
8.03.6 The provisions of this ordinance shall be enforceable through the bringing of appropriate action for injunction, mandamus, superintending control, or otherwise, in any court having jurisdiction. Any violation of this ordinance is deemed to be a nuisance per se.
The invalidity of any section clause, sentence, or provision of this ordinance shall not affect the validity of any other part of this ordinance which can be given effect without such invalid part or parts.
8.05 Ordinance in Force
8.04.1 This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage, approval, recording and publication as provided by law.
8.04.2 Passed and adopted by the Town of Atkinson, County of Pender, State of North Carolina, on June 7, 2012.