CHAPTER 923

Water

923.01 General provisions.
923.02 Quality and service not guaranteed.
923.03 Water mains may be shutoff without notice.
923.04 Right to enter premises. charge.
923.06 Request for water service; service contracts.
923.07 Duties of Director of Public Service.
923.08 Water lines; responsibility.
923.09 Bylaws and regulations.
923.10 Water services to be metered.
923.11 One meter for each service.
923.12 Water for construction projects; exceptions.
923.13 Meters furnished by the Water Department.
923.14 Maintenance and replacement of meters.
923.15 Water meter exchange.
923.16 Responsibility for loss or theft of meters.
923.17 Charges for unlawfully breaking seal.
923.18 Repairing or testing of meters.
923.19 Accessibility of meters.
923.20 Billing unmetered water.
923.21 Establishment of water rates.
923.22 Assessment and collection of water rates.
923.23 Reading water meters.
923.24 Billing; delinquent accounts.
923.25 Service contract required.
923.26 Shut off of delinquent accounts.
923.27 Water service may be refused for unpaid bill.
923.28 Bills to be delivered.
923.29 Water service to rental property.
923.30 Collection of delinquent accounts.
923.31 Broken services and mains.
923.32 Premises ready for water service.
923.33 Prohibition.
923.34 Theft of water service.
923.99 Penalty.

CROSS REFERENCES

Power to provide and regulate water system - see Ohio R.C. 715.08, 717.01, 743.01
Water pollution - see Ohio R.C. 715.08, 743.25
Tampering - see Ohio R.C. 4933.22
Fluoridation - see Ohio R.C. 6111.13
Water pollution control - see Ohio R.C. Ch. 6111
Backflow - see OAC 4101:2-51-38; S.U. & P.S. Ch. 924


923.01 GENERAL PROVISIONS.
The regulations and procedures hereinafter set forth shall be considered a part of the contract with every person, firm, company or corporation that is supplied with water through the Water Department System of the City of Bellaire, Ohio, and every such person, firm, company or corporation using water shall be governed thereby. The City reserves the right to alter, amend or add to the regulations and procedures at any time.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.02 QUALITY AND SERVICE NOT GUARANTEED.
The supply of water to all parties for any reason whatever is subject to the following conditions. The Water Department does not guarantee to the consumer a fixed or continuous pressure, nor does it guarantee the water delivered as to quality, purity or temperature, these all being subject to the variable conditions which may arise in the operation and maintenance of the Water Department.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.03 WATER MAINS MAY BE SHUT OFF WITHOUT NOTICE.
In case of breaks in mains, services, pumping machinery, reservoirs or other Water Department appurtenances, and for the purpose of tapping, extending, repairing, replacing or cleaning mains, or other disruption, the water may be shut off without giving notice and no claims will be considered for damages of any nature whatsoever arising from such action. The Water Department shall whenever possible, in such cases, attempt to notify consumers before shut-offs.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.04 RIGHT TO ENTER PREMISES.
The Water Department reserves the right through its authorized agents to enter at all reasonable hours the premises to which its service extends, for the purpose of reading, repairing, installing, removing or inspecting meters, or for any other purposes which it may deem necessary in properly safeguarding the interests of the Water Department and the consumer. When such access is refused, the water may immediately be turned off and not turned on again until the request of the Water Department has been complied with and an "off and on" charge has been paid.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.05 "OFF AND ON" CHARGE.
The "off and on" charge is the fee charged for turning on service to a property which has had water service discontinued for nonpayment, violation of a Water Department regulation or where the water meter has been removed for a period of time to eliminate minimum charges. This fee shall be seventy-five dollars ($75.00).
(Ord. 98-004. Passed 3-6-97.)


923.06 REQUEST FOR WATER SERVICE; SERVICE CONTRACTS.
Requests for water connections shall be made at the Water Department in the City Building. Tap fees shall be paid at the office before any tap is made. The amount of the tap fee shall be whatever is required by the current ordinance. Requests for water service shall also be made at the Water Department. The property owner of the premises applying for water service must sign a service contract with the Water Department before services will be provided. No existing service shall be continued to any customer if the owner of the premises served fails and refuses to sign a service contract with the Water Department upon request.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.07 DUTIES OF DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SERVICE.
The Director of Public Service shall manage, conduct and control the water works of a municipal corporation, furnish supplies of water, collect water rents and appoint any necessary officers and agents.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.08 WATER LINES; RESPONSIBILITY.

(a) The City is responsible for and has a duty to install all water lines from the main line to the curb line, or it there is no curb line, to the property line.

(b) The City shall install a shut-off valve at the curb line or property line as the case may be, and the maintenance of the shut-off valve shall be the responsibility of the City.

(c) The property owner shall have the duty of installing and maintaining a water line from the shut-off valve, whether it be at the curb line or at the property line, to the building serviced with water.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.09 BYLAWS AND REGULATIONS.
The Director of Public Service may make such bylaws and regulations as he deems necessary for the safe, economical and efficient management and protection of the water works of a municipal corporation. Such bylaws and regulations shall have the same validity as ordinances when not repugnant thereto or to the Constitution or laws of the State.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.10 WATER SERVICES TO BE METERED.
All water services shall be metered.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.11 ONE METER FOR EACH SERVICE.
Each individual service shall have a water meter as installed by the City or an authorized plumber. At his discretion, the Service Director may allow the installation of more than one meter on a service supplying an apartment building or duplex when the plans showing the piping arrangements are submitted to and approved by the Water Department. In cases where such additional meters are permitted, it shall be required:

(a) That the meters shall be contained in one convenient location or in a meter room, subject to the approval of the City, and that each meter be controlled independently of the others with a valve on each meter.

(b) That the owner assume all responsibility for the installation and maintenance of the meters other than that assumed by the Water Department.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.12 WATER FOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS; EXCEPTIONS.

(a) Water for construction projects, except City-financed projects, pools and tanks shall be furnished at the regular water rates plus the cost of labor and twenty-five percent (25%). Included in this labor shall be the time to set and remove the meter. In cases where construction water is taken from a permanent water connection, minimum quarterly charges shall be made in addition to the charges listed. Where water is used for less than a full quarter, the minimum shall be one-third of the quarterly charge for each month or part thereof temporary service is in use. In no case shall water be used for construction purposes unless it is metered.

(b) A deposit may be required to cover costs of temporary meters used for construction projects. During construction, these meters shall be the responsibility of the contractor. When water is used from a temporary connection such as a hydrant, a service fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) for use of the hydrant meter, wrench and hose shall be charged in lieu of a minimum charge. In addition, regular water charges shall be in effect along with charges for any labor involved plus twenty-five percent (25%) on any of the labor charges. Water used to fill swimming pools or tanks shall be charged in the same manner as listed above.

(c) Water shall not be permitted from fire hydrants during freezing weather per the Service Director.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.13 METERS FURNISHED BY THE WATER DEPARTMENT.
Meters shall be paid for in accordance with the current ordinance by the person or persons applying for the service, but shall remain the property of the Water Department.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.14 MAINTENANCE AND REPLACEMENT OF METERS.
The maintenance and/or replacement of City meters shall be at the expense of the Water Department. However, the customer shall be charged and held responsible for all repairs or costs of replacement due to any act of negligence on the part of such customer. It shall be the customer's responsibility to prevent meters at inside and/or outside settings from freezing. The City shall supply the replacement meter at a cost of one hundred seventy-five dollars ($175.00) for each one inch line; and five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each two inch line.
(Ord. 97-004. Passed 3-6-97.)


923.15 WATER METER EXCHANGE.

(a) The Director of Public Service shall exchange any water meter for the property owner where the meter is to be installed, which does not possess remote read capability that is found by him to be inoperable and which has not been mishandled, abused, neglected or permitted to deteriorate by freezing, without cost to the property.

(b) The Director of Public Service shall not exchange any water meter, regardless of whether the meter possesses remote read capability or not, that is found by him to be inoperable due to mishandling, abuse, neglect or which has been permitted to deteriorate by freezing, without first collecting from the owner of the property where the meter is to be installed the sum of fifty dollars ($50.00).
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.16 RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSS OR THEFT OF METERS.
Property owners shall be held responsible for and shall reimburse the Water Department for the loss or theft of any meter furnished and maintained as hereinbefore provided.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.17 CHARGES FOR UNLAWFULLY BREAKING SEAL.

(a) If the Water Department finds that a meter seal has been broken or any bypass inserted or there is evidence that the meter has been tampered with, the water shall be shut off and shall not be turned on again until the consumer or owner of the premises pays for the estimated quantity or water which has been used, the cost of repairing or replacing the seal and, in addition, the applicable "off and on" charges.

(b) The charges hereinabove are in addition to the penalties provided by the criminal laws of the State and City and making the payment hereinabove shall not in any way relieve any person from criminal prosecution.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.18 REPAIRING OR TESTING OF METERS.
The Water Department reserves the right to remove a meter from any premises and substitute another meter in its place for the purpose of making repairs or testing. The Water Department may test any meter, which in its judgment is registering incorrectly, without charge to the owner.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.19 ACCESSIBILITY OF METERS.
Meters must be freely accessible to meter readers and other authorized employees of the Water Department and must not be covered with or obstructed by rubbish or other material regardless of whether such meters are located in meter vaults, meter tile or basements. If due to location of a meter the meter reader is unable to read it, the customer shall be charged according to the rates established in Section 923.20. All meter locations must be approved by the Water Department. The Water Department may shut off water when violations of this regulation are not corrected following due notice of such violation by the Water Department, and water service shall not be turned on until corrections are made and applicable "off and on" charges are paid.
(Ord. 1313. Passed 12-28-89.)


923.20 BILLING UNMETERED WATER.
If the customer knowingly has a broken meter or no meter (straight pipe) and makes no attempt to replace the meter, he will be charged as follows:


First billing - no less than 16,000 gal.
Second billing - no less than 20,000 gal.
Third billing - no less than 24,000 gal.
Fourth billing - no less than 30,000 gal. and subject to service shut off.

(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.21 ESTABLISHMENT OF WATER RATES.
Water rates shall be established by the Director of Service under the authority of Ohio R.C. 743.04.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.22 ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF WATER RATES.

(a) The Director of Public Service may, for the purpose of paying the expense of conducting and managing the water works of a municipal corporation, assess and collect a water rent of sufficient amount and in such manner as he deems most equitable from all tenements and premises supplied with water.

(b) The Director of Public Service may also assess and collect a tap-in fee for connecting a water line to a shut-off valve. Such tap-in fee shall be based upon the sum of fourteen dollars ($14.00) per running foot from the shut-off valve to the applicant's property line, plus the cost of materials, but in no event less than five hundred dollars ($500.00).

(c) When water is supplied to a tenant and the water rent is not paid when due, the Director may look directly to the owner of the property for so much of the water rent as remains delinquent, which shall be collected in the same manner as other taxes.
(Ord. 1313. Passed 12-28-89.)


923.23 READING WATER METERS.
Meters shall be read quarterly, except for meters of major users, which may be read monthly. When a meter reading cannot be obtained, or the water meter does not register, the City reserves the right to estimate and bill for the water consumed by establishing a fair and just pro-rate based on knowledge of current usage and a review of a preceding comparable quarter or an average of the past four quarters.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.24 BILLING; DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS.
Bills for water rent shall be rendered monthly and shall be due in full on the fifteenth day after mailing. Any sum not paid within the fifteen-day period shall be classified as delinquent. Any and all delinquent accounts shall be charged a ten percent (10%) penalty.
(Ord. 1313. Passed 12-28-89.)


923.25 SERVICE CONTRACT REQUIRED.

(a) Water shall not be turned on to new customers at properties where bills are outstanding unless a service contract has been signed. In some instances a new property owner may desire water service before the previous owner has paid his final bill and cleared the account for water services from the books. In this case, the new owner may elect to sign the service contract with the full understanding that the Water Department shall reconnect water service at the property with the new owner agreeing to pay any unpaid water or sewer bill against the property. Failure to collect the charges due from the previous owner and failure of the part of the new owner to clear the charges by payment in full shall be cause for discontinuation of service.

(b) The Water Department shall make reasonable efforts to collect its final bills and reserves the right to refuse water service to a customer who has an outstanding water bill from another property.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.26 SHUT OFF OF DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS.

(a) Any account more than two months past due is subject to service shut off.

(1) Service shall not be supplied until all delinquencies are paid in full.

(2) A thirty-five dollar ($35.00) fee must be paid by the property owner before water service is reinstated.

(b) Any unpaid account shall be subject to filing with the City Law Director of legal action.
(Ord. 1313. Passed 12-28-89.)


923.27 WATER SERVICE MAY BE REFUSED FOR UNPAID BILL.
Water shall not be turned on until the bill plus penalty has been paid in full together with an "off and on" charge. Under no circumstances are the City employees involved authorized to accept payment for the water bill. Should the customer fail to pay the water bill as guaranteed in the agreement, the water service shall be turned off and remain so until the bill plus penalty and all "off and on" charges are paid in full at the Utilities Office in the City Building.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.28 BILLS TO BE DELIVERED.
The Water Department shall undertake to deliver bills for water by depositing same in the U.S. Post Office only as a matter of convenience to the owner or consumer. Failure to receive a bill shall not relieve any person from his obligation to pay the bill. Bills shall be sent to owners of rental properties upon their request.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.29 WATER SERVICE TO RENTAL PROPERTY.

(a) The landlord shall be directly responsible for water charges for his/her rental property. If the landlord has a separate agreement his/her tenant that the water bill is to be sent to the tenant, the landlord must notify the Water Department of such agreement.
(Ord. 1313. Passed 12-28-89.)

(b) A one hundred dollar ($100.00) deposit is required of all tenants who have water service in their name and must be paid to the Water Department before service is supplied. Guaranteed deposits shall be held for a period of thirty-six months. If at the end of the guaranteed deposit period there is an outstanding balance, the deposit shall be applied to the outstanding balance, and the remainder, if any, shall be returned to the tenant or depositor. If there is no outstanding balance at the end of the guaranteed deposit period, the deposit shall be returned to the tenant or depositor.
(Ord. 97-004. Passed 3-6-97.)

(c) If the tenant becomes more than two months past due on his account, the Water Department shall notify the landlord in writing of the delinquency, if the landlord has filed a written service contract identifying them as the owner of that property. If the arrears are not paid by the next month's billing, the total bill shall be placed in the landlord's name and sent to him/her until the arrears are paid in full.

(d) It is the landlord's responsibility to report any vacancies or new occupancies for his rental property. If the landlord fails to report a vacancy, he/she shall be charged minimum rate until the vacancy is reported.
(Ord. 1313. Passed 12-28-89.)


923.30 COLLECTION OF DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS.
When an account is delinquent, the Service Director may proceed to collect the same by any of the following methods:

(a) Shut off of service; but only after notice sent to both landlord and tenant, if any;

(b) The filing of an action at law for the balance due against the owner of the property, the consumer or both;

(c) Publication of the names of those who are delinquent, if they have been delinquent for at least two months;

(d) Certification to the County Auditor for placement on the tax duplicate and collected as other City taxes;

(e) Employment of a collection agency to collect delinquent accounts.
(Ord. 1313. Passed 12-28-89.)


923.31 BROKEN SERVICES AND MAINS.

(a) The City is responsible for and has a duty to install all water lines from the main line to the curb line, or if there is no curb line, to the property line.

(b) Every water line must have a shut-off valve at the curb line or property line as the case may be.

(c) The property owner shall have the duty of installing and maintaining a water line from the shut-off valve, whether it be at the curb line or the property line, to the residence to be serviced with water.

(d) Any person who causes a main or a service between the main and the curb stop to be broken or damaged shall be responsible for exposing the line. Subsequently, repairs shall be made by the Water Department at the expense of the person causing such damage.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.32 PREMISES READY FOR WATER SERVICE.
Before water service is turned on to a property, the property owner or his authorized representative must be present to inspect the plumbing and assure that the premises are ready for water service.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.33 PROHIBITION.
No person shall knowingly engage in any of the following conduct:

(a) Damaging, altering, or destroying a water meter installed in premises serviced with water from the Water Department of the City;

(b) Tampering with a water meter for the purpose of having the meter give a false reading as to the amount of water consumed by the premises for which that meter has been installed;

(c) Removing a water meter and installing a straight pipe;

(d) Damaging, destroying, removing or filling with foreign objects any access to a curb line shut-off valve.
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


923.34 THEFT OF WATER SERVICE.
No person shall knowingly consume any water or knowingly use water service that has been discontinued by the Water Department and reconnected or recontinued without the consent of the Water Department. Whoever violates this section is guilty of theft of utility service, a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(Ord. 1319. Passed 3-1-90.)


923.99 PENALTY.
Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of this chapter shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00).
(Ord. 1189. Passed 10-2-86.)


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