Chapter 13.28
MINERAL WATER SERVICE SYSTEM

Sections:

13.28.010    Application for service.

13.28.020    Mineral water rates.

13.28.030    Mineral water service connection charges.

13.28.040    Turn-on charges.

13.28.050    Service and billing requirements.

13.28.060    Delinquent accounts.

13.28.070    Joint charging.

13.28.080    Permission required for service to additional premises.

13.28.090    Double charge for unauthorized service.

13.28.100    Service connection removal.

13.28.110    Service reinstallation after discontinuance.

13.28.120    Shut-off by city.

13.28.130    Termination or refusal of service for utilities.

13.28.140    Repair of service equipment.

13.28.150    Connection compliance with this title required – Recovery of costs of illegal or unsafe connection.

13.28.160    Entry for inspection and testing.

13.28.170    Unlawful acts.

13.28.180    Dispute resolution.

13.28.190    Severability.

13.28.200    Mineral water rates.

13.28.010 Application for service.

A. It is the intent of the city that all utility deliveries, whether mineral water, water, sewer, garbage or some combination thereof, shall be deliveries of services and/or utilities to the property served. All such delivery of utilities and/or services shall be a claim against the property and a claim against the owner of that property served or furnished utilities and/or services. It shall be the responsibility of each property owner served by city utilities to determine the extent of utility services and deliveries being made and/or furnished to the owner’s property. It shall be the responsibility of the property owner to pay all claims, charges, penalties and/or costs imposed by the city for the furnishing and/or delivery of utilities and/or services to the owner’s property. The property owner’s responsibility shall exist independent of any claim of lien the city may have or make pursuant to any statute, rule or regulation. The fact the owner has directed or allowed the billings for utilities furnished and/or services delivered to the owner’s property to be delivered to a tenant or other third person does not in any way reduce or extinguish the property owner’s responsibility for water, sewer and/or garbage billings, charges, costs or penalties imposed by the city. All delinquent charges for water, sewer, garbage, or some combination thereof, shall bear interest at the maximum rate allowed by law.

B. All applications for residential water service shall be made by the property owner of the property to be delivered water service, and responsibility for billing payment shall be borne by the property owner except as to tenant accounts as provided in this chapter. All charges for water service will be sent directly to the property mailing address unless the property owner directs otherwise. No charge will be made for meter reading for closing accounts, except as provided in this chapter.

C. Applications for industrial and commercial water service may be by the property owner, lessee or other consumer. However, a deposit, as determined by the city clerk, will be required of such account in lieu of the deposit required under SLMC 13.28.050.

D. Upon a failure to pay the charges for water service, the amount thereof shall become a lien against the real property furnished the service as provided by law.

E. The city of Soap Lake is a combined utility system. All billings to a property for utility services are combined utility billings. To the fullest extent permitted by law, all payments received from a customer for utility services shall be credited first to charges for account charges, next to interest charges, if any, next to sewer charges, if any, and last to water charges, if any. Penalties are deemed charges of the appropriate utility. Payments are credited first to the oldest charge or penalty appearing on the billing. A delinquency in payment for any utility service to a subject property may result in the termination of any other utility service to the subject property. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.020 Mineral water rates.

A. Inside City Limits. There exists a city mineral water system which delivers water drawn from Soap Lake to service locations within the city limits. To be eligible for mineral water service, a property must be connected to the city’s potable water system and remain so during the period of mineral water service. This is a delivery of nonpotable water for therapeutic, relaxation or other nonpotable uses. The monthly rate charges for mineral water from the city mineral water system for all residential and commercial users serviced by the mineral water system shall be as set forth in SLMC 13.28.200.

B. Outside City Limits. Because of the higher costs associated with the delivery of mineral water to users outside the city limits, there shall be no delivery from the city mineral water system to service locations located outside the city limits. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.030 Mineral water service connection charges.

A. All mineral water service connections shall be approved by the city and all separate buildings or separately owned businesses carried on within a single building with a divided ownership shall be separately connected to the city mineral water system, except that separate buildings which are an integral part of a single business or industry may be served by a master connection serving the property if the city consents. Such service to separate buildings shall be terminated and separate services installed upon the separate sale or segregation of that business or industry so served. Such new service to the parts of the separated industry or business shall be deemed new services for the purposes of this chapter.

B. The city shall make all connections to the water system for service to properties within the city except as otherwise provided herein. Charges shall be made by the city for making water service connections. Such charges shall be paid in full before the connection is made by the city to the city mineral water system for the property to be served. Those charges are set forth in SLMC 13.28.200.

C. A property owner may, with the permission of the city’s public works director, after establishing that installation of the service by the property owner is cheaper than installation by the city, upon such reasonable conditions as the public works director shall determine, make service connections from a city mineral water main to the property to be served. In such case, the property owner shall be responsible to pay all costs of such connection, including repair of any pavement, curbs, gutters, driveways or streets disturbed or damaged. In addition, the property owner shall pay the cost of the city’s inspection of the installation as set forth in SLMC 13.28.200. The installer shall be required to guarantee such a connection, including repaired pavement, curbs, gutters, driveways or streets, for one year after installation against defects in such installation. Upon proper installation of such lateral and its acceptance by the city, it shall become the city’s responsibility to maintain and repair such lateral including enforcement of the one year guarantee against the installer.

D. The installation of mineral water service laterals from mains to the property line of the service location shall be required with the installation of infrastructure related to the platting of property, water mains, streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and the like. This is done to avoid later damage to streets, curbs, gutters and driveways. The process described in subsection C of this section shall be followed in these situations where the platting party makes mineral water service lateral installations. Upon payment of the connection fees to the city, the city shall make those mineral water connections.

E. Once a mineral water service lateral running from a mineral water main to a service location is installed and/or accepted by the city, ownership and responsibility for maintenance of that lateral from the property line to the main shall be the city’s. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.040 Turn-on charges.

In addition to the charges for services provided for in this chapter, there shall be a charge to any account for turning on mineral water service. Those charges are set forth in SLMC 13.28.200. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.050 Service and billing requirements.

A. All billings for mineral water service provided by the city shall be sent to the owner of the property served at the property owner’s mailing address, unless the owner shall designate in writing a different address to receive the utility bill for the property, and such owner will be fully responsible for all charges due the city for providing mineral water and all other utility service to the property, except as to tenant accounts as provided in this chapter.

B. Mineral water service will be delivered only upon request of the property owner of the property to be served, except as to tenant accounts as provided in this chapter.

C. An additional charge as set forth in SLMC 13.28.200 shall be paid to the water/sewer operating fund as a charge for turning on the mineral water service.

D. Tenant Accounts. Mineral water service will be delivered to a single-family residential rental property at the request of the tenant if the tenant claims an owner/tenant dispute exists and the owner has allowed the mineral water service account to become delinquent. If such a situation exists, a secondary tenant account may be established for water/sewer/garbage utility/mineral water service of the property to be served. Upon making any such request, a deposit shall be made by the tenant in an amount determined by the city clerk based on past use. That deposit will be held in the utility deposit fund to secure the payment of mineral water service charges as provided in this chapter. The process outlined above will be used to establish a temporary tenant account for residential tenants of any dwelling to which the utility service has been discontinued for failure to pay the utility billings as required herein. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.060 Delinquent accounts.

A. Payment for mineral water service for any property shall become due and payable on the fifth day of the month following the month within which the service was rendered. If any amount remains unpaid after the twenty-eighth of the month being first billed, a late penalty in an amount of $25.00 shall be added to the utility account on the date stated on the billing. The city clerk shall give notice in writing to the owner or owner’s agent as officially listed in the city records, or the best address available to the clerk, of such delinquency, advising that the mineral water service shall be discontinued at the expiration of 10 days thereafter unless the account is paid in full. Such notice shall indicate that the delinquent user may contact the city clerk at City Hall during business hours to make arrangements to bring the account current.

B. In the event the mineral water supply is turned off, the same shall not be turned back on until all delinquent utility charges have been paid in full. The account shall be charged the mineral water turn-on charge as set forth in SLMC 13.28.200. (Ord. 1168 § 1, 2013; Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.070 Joint charging.

All charges for water, mineral water, sewer, garbage, penalty and interest payments due the city of Soap Lake shall be billed jointly on one statement. All payments received from a user shall be credited first to charges for account charges, second to charges for interest, third to charges for penalty, fourth to charges for garbage service, fifth to charges for sewer service, sixth to charges for mineral water service, and seventh to charges for water service. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.080 Permission required for service to additional premises.

It is unlawful for any person whose premises are supplied with mineral water to furnish mineral water to additional premises unless such person first makes application in writing to do so and permission is granted by the city council. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.090 Double charge for unauthorized service.

When additional premises are connected or furnished with mineral water without the application prescribed in SLMC 13.28.080, the property owner served with the unauthorized service shall pay to the city two times the rate for the service provided as calculated by the city in its sole discretion. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.100 Service connection removal.

When it is desired by the property owner to change the location of the old service connection, a new service shall be placed only upon the owner making application and paying for a new tap at the actual cost involved. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.110 Service reinstallation after discontinuance.

When service has been discontinued from any premises, upon the application of the owner thereof, or for nonpayment of mineral water charges, or for any other causes, it is unlawful for any person to again connect the premises with mineral water until all arrearage for the premises have been paid, and application made for reinstallation of service, and other cause or causes corrected to the satisfaction of the city. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.120 Shut-off by city.

The city reserves the right at any time, without notice, to shut off the mineral water supply for repairs, extensions, emergencies or any other reason, and the city shall not be responsible for any damage, such as lost profits, the breaking of any pipes or fixtures, stoppages or interruption of mineral water supply or any other damage, resulting from the shutting off of the mineral water. The city will attempt to notify the users in nonemergency situations when the mineral water supply is shut off. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.130 Termination or refusal of service for utilities.

The city shall have the right and power to deny connection to city mineral water, water and/or sewer utilities or to terminate a connection to city water and sewer utilities upon a determination by the mayor that any of the violations contained in Chapter 13.22 SLMC have occurred. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.140 Repair of service equipment.

The mineral water pipes, connections and other apparatus within the premises to be delivered mineral water service must be kept in good repair and protected from freezing at the expense of the owner, who will be responsible for all damages resulting from leaks or breaks. No person shall be allowed to dig into any street or sidewalk for the purpose of laying, moving or repairing any service unless they have a permit issued by the city. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.150 Connection compliance with this title required – Recovery of costs of illegal or unsafe connection.

A. The public works director shall specify how connections shall be made until all rules contained in this chapter for the same shall have been complied with.

B. All connections to the mineral water system shall comply with the state building code, particularly UPC Section 601.2.2, as now enacted or hereafter amended, in that all piping for this utility shall inside all buildings be color coded with yellow background with black lettering with the words “Caution: Nonpotable water, do not drink.” All faucets and outlets which dispense mineral water shall be clearly marked with a warning that the faucet dispenses nonpotable water and such water is not safe to drink. In service locations existing on the date of the adoption of this chapter, the property owner shall have 60 days to install warning signs on all faucets and dispensing points for the system with all buildings serviced with mineral water.

C. Any person making a connection not permitted by this chapter shall be responsible for all costs incurred by the city in causing such connection to be removed from the city’s mineral water system. Such costs shall include all wages, benefits and other compensation paid to city employees to cause such connection to be removed and/or all charges incurred by the city in employing contractors, including a 16 percent overhead fee for city administration of such contracted work, to accomplish such disconnection. Such charge shall become a mineral water utility charge against the premises where the connection was improperly made and shall be recoverable by all means used to collect mineral water utility account payments. Such charge shall be billed in the ordinary course of billing mineral water utility charges except that if such charge shall be more than twice the ordinary utility charge for that account location, the billing shall be sent as soon as it has been calculated.

D. Any person making a connection not permitted by this title, especially a cross-connection to the city’s potable water system, shall be responsible for all costs incurred by the city in causing such connection to be removed from the city’s potable water system and all costs of restoring the city’s potable water system to a safe condition after such illegal connection. In the case of a cross-connection in violation of Chapter 13.22 SLMC, such costs shall include all costs of employee wages and benefits, consultants, contractors, laboratory fees including sample transportation costs, expert inspection fees, and all materials or chemicals consumed to effect the restoration of the potable water system. A 16 percent overhead fee for city administration shall be added to all costs of consultants, contractors or experts. Such charge shall become a water utility charge against the premises where the cross-connection was improperly made and shall be recoverable by all means used to collect water utility account payments. Such charge shall be billed in the ordinary course of billing water utility charges except that if such charge shall be more than twice the ordinary utility charge for that account location, the billing shall be sent as soon as it has been calculated. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.160 Entry for inspection and testing.

The duly authorized employees of the city are permitted to enter all properties at a time agreed to between the city employee and the property occupant or owner, for the purpose of inspecting, observation, measurement testing and testing in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.170 Unlawful acts.

A. It is unlawful for any person to make connection with any fixture or connect any pipe with any mineral water main or mineral water pipe belonging to the city mineral water supply, without first obtaining the permission to do so from the city. Any person violating this section shall be subject to a C-6 penalty.

B. It is unlawful for any person other than an employee of the city authorized to do so to either turn on or off mineral water service to any property. Any person determined to have committed the civil infraction of violation of this subsection shall be subject to a C-10 penalty. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.180 Dispute resolution.

A. The city clerk shall inform all customers of the water/sewer/garbage/mineral water utility of the city of the availability of a dispute resolution system in the event of a disputed water/sewer/garbage/mineral water utility billing. Such notification shall occur via a notice on each billing that the customer may dispute the correctness of that billing by contacting the city clerk’s office.

B. Customer Dispute.

1. At any time before the date of termination of water service for nonpayment of the amount shown on a water/sewer/mineral water/utility bill, or a notice of termination, a customer may dispute the correctness of all or part of the amount shown in accordance with the provisions of this section. A customer shall not be entitled to dispute the correctness of all or part of the amount if all or part of the amount was the subject of a previous dispute under this section.

2. The procedure for customer disputes shall be as follows:

a. Before the date of termination, the customer shall notify the clerk’s office in writing, that the customer disputes all or part of the amount shown on a water/sewer/mineral water utility bill or a notice of termination, stating as completely as possible the basis for the dispute.

b. If the city clerk, or the clerk’s designee, determines that the present dispute is untimely or that the customer previously disputed the correctness of all or part of the amount shown, the clerk’s office shall mail to the customer a notice stating that the present dispute is untimely or invalid. The city shall then proceed as if the customer had not notified the city of the present dispute.

c. If the city clerk determines that the present dispute is not untimely or invalid under this section, the city, within three days after receipt of the customer’s notice, shall arrange an informal meeting between the customer and the clerk.

d. Based on the city’s records, the customer’s allegations and all other relevant materials available to the clerk, the clerk shall resolve the dispute, attempting to do so in a manner satisfactory to both the city and the customer.

e. Within five days of completion of the meeting, the clerk shall mail to the customer a copy of its decision resolving the dispute.

f. That decision shall be final and binding on the customer.

3. Utilization of this dispute procedure shall not relieve a customer of his obligation to timely and completely pay all other undisputed charges and/or installments and surcharges, and the undisputed portion of the amount which is the subject of the present dispute.

Notwithstanding this section, failure to timely and completely pay all such undisputed amounts shall subject the customer to termination of water service in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

4. Until the date of the decision of the city clerk, the city shall not terminate the water service of this customer and shall not issue a notice of termination to this customer solely for nonpayment of the disputed amount. If it is determined that the customer must pay some or all of the disputed amount, the city shall promptly mail to, or personally serve upon the customer, a notice of termination, following the procedure set forth in SLMC 13.28.060. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.190 Severability.

The invalidity of any part of this chapter shall not affect the validity of any other part of this chapter which can be given its full force and effect without the invalid portion or portions. (Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).

13.28.200 Mineral water rates.

A. Turn-On Charge. The turn-on charge for turning on a mineral water service within the city is $20.00.

B. Connection charge for a single mineral water connection to the city’s main is $250.00 together with the costs of materials and repairs to infrastructure.

C. Inspection charge to inspect repairs or installations not performed by the city public works department is $50.00 per hour measured in quarter-hour increments with a one-hour minimum.

D. Monthly Service Fee.

1. Residential connection serving one point of use in a single-family residence: $30.00 for the May-October billings, and $15.00 for the November-April billings.

2. Commercial connection for each point of use shall be $30.00 for the May-October billings, and $15.00 for the November-April billings.

E. The definitions found in SLMC 13.18.290 apply to the mineral water utility.

F. Standby fee for availability of mineral water service at a property without any active service: $8.16 per month. (Ord. 1170 § 1, 2013; Ord. 1168 § 1, 2013; Ord. 1036 § 1, 2006; Ord. 1029 § 1, 2005).