Chapter 13.96


13.96.010    Definitions.

13.96.020    Unlawful to damage.

13.96.030    Criminal penalty.

13.96.040    Civil liability for reimbursement.

13.96.050    Notice of violation to be given.

13.96.010 Definitions.

As used in this section:

“Customer” means the person in whose name a utility service is provided and/or the owner of the subject property.

“Divert” means to change the intended course or path of water, sewer, irrigation, or stormwater without authorization or consent of the public works director.

“Person” means any individual, partnership, firm, associate, or corporation or government agency.

“Reconnection” means the commencement of utility service to a customer or other persons after the service has been lawfully disconnected by the utility.

“Tamper” means to rearrange, injure, alter, interfere with, or otherwise prevent from performing the normal or customary function.

“Utility” means the water, sewer, irrigation, and stormwater system operated by the city of West Richland. [Ord. 37-06 § 1, 2006].

13.96.020 Unlawful to damage.

No person shall maliciously, willfully, or negligently break, damage, destroy, uncover, deface or tamper with any structure, appurtenance, or equipment which is a part of a city-owned utility. No person shall commit, authorize, solicit, aid, abet, or attempt to:

A. Divert, or cause to be diverted, utility services by any means whatsoever.

B. Make, or cause to be made, any connection or reconnection with property owned or used by the utility to provide utility service without the authorization or consent of the public works director.

C. Prevent any utility meter or device used in determining the charge for utility services from accurately performing its measuring function by tampering or by other means.

D. Tamper with any property owned or used by the utility to provide utility services.

E. Use or receive the direct benefit of all or a portion of the utility service with knowledge of, or reason to believe that, the diversion, tampering, or unauthorized connection existed at the time of use or that the use or receipt was without the authorization or consent of the public works director. [Ord. 37-06 § 1, 2006].

13.96.030 Criminal penalty.

Any person violating any provision of this title shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine in any sum not exceeding $1,000, or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day’s violation of the provisions of this title may be deemed a separate offense. [Ord. 37-06 § 1, 2006].

13.96.040 Civil liability for reimbursement.

The city may bring civil action against any person in violation of WRMC 13.96.020. Per RCW 80.28.240, in any civil action brought under this section, the city may recover from the defendant as damages three times that amount of actual damages, if any, plus the cost of the suit and reasonable attorney’s fees, plus the costs incurred on account of the bypassing, tampering, or unauthorized reconnection, including but not limited to costs and expenses for investigation, disconnection, reconnection, service calls, and expert witnesses. [Ord. 37-06 § 1, 2006].

13.96.050 Notice of violation to be given.

Any person found to be violating any provision of this title shall be served by the city with written notice stating the nature of the violation and providing a reasonable time limit for the satisfactory correction thereof. The offender shall, within the period of time stated in such notice, permanently cease all violations and make all necessary corrections. [Ord. 37-06 § 1, 2006].