Chapter 7.04 - WATER USE REGULATIONS AND FEES

7.04.010 Definitions.

The terms below shall have the following meanings when used in this chapter.

“Commission” means the board of commissioners of the district.

“Commercial customer” means a customer of the district utilizing the premises connected to the district system for commercial purposes, including without limitation, retail uses, grocery and/or convenience stores, restaurants or other eating establishments, bars or lounges, clubhouses, public or private community buildings, gas stations, auto repair or service stations, professional offices, banks or lending institutions, barber or beauty shops, warehouses, theaters or auditoriums, laundromats, schools, medical facilities, hospitals, resthomes, convalescent centers, or treatment facilities.

“Customer” means a property owner that has a connection to the district's water system.

“District” means the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District.

“Engineer” means any consulting engineer or any district employee performing engineering work for the district.

“Equivalent living unit” (“ELU”) and “residential customer equivalent” (“RCE”) mean unit estimated to have approximately the same water use and/or to produce the same sewer waste as one single-family residence, to be determined in accordance with this chapter.

“Extended service unit” means a water out-let or standpipe installed for the use of persons other than the owner or occupant of the premises. Extended service units shall be separately metered, and shall include washrooms, laundry rooms, bathhouses, standpipes in transient camping and/or picnic areas, and all other similar installations.

“Fixture units” as used in this title means that measure of the quantity of water a water plumbing fixture is capable of supplying as specified in the Uniform Plumbing Code, as adopted and amended in the most current Whatcom County ordinances. In situations where the plumbing fixtures for water supply are not listed in the Uniform Plumbing Code as specified above, fixture units shall be determined by the District Code and other applicable policies and procedures approved by the board of commissioners.

“General manager” means the general manager of the district or any authorized employee of the district performing work on behalf of the general manager.

“Mains” means water lines designed or used to serve more than one premises.

“Premises” means a continuous tract of land, building or group of adjacent buildings under a single control with respect to the use of water and responsibility for payment therefor. Subdivisions of such use or responsibility shall constitute a division into separate premises as defined in this section.

“Residential customer” means a customer of the district utilizing the premises connected to the district system for residential purposes.

“Service connection” means that portion of the district water supply system connecting the private service line on a premises to the district distribution main, including the tap into the water main, the water meter and appurtenances, the service line from the main to the meter and from the meter to the property line.

“Standard mains” or “permanent mains” means mains conforming to the standard specifications or the district with respect to methods, materials and/or minimum diameter.

“Standard specifications” means those standard specifications for water works construction which have been adopted by the board of commissioners of the district.

“Substandard mains” means mains not con-forming to the standard specifications of the district with respect to methods, materials and/or minimum diameter. (Res. 616 § 1, 2002)

7.04.020 Application for service.

Service and supply of water shall be rendered only after the signing of an application by the prospective customer and its acceptance by the district, such application to state fully and truly all the purposes for which water may be required; application will include agreement by the applicant to conform to the lawful rules and regulations established by the district. (Res. 75 § 2(A), 1974)

7.04.030 Fees, charges and assessments--Payment prerequisite to service.

Water service shall be supplied only after all fees, charges and assessments are paid in full. (Res. 75 § 2(B), 1974)

7.04.040 Change of use.

  • A. Increase or Decrease in ELUs. Changes made to a premises connected to the district's system may change the number of ELUs for said premises. As a result of any changes in premises, the number of ELUs shall increase, decrease, or remain the same, all in accordance with the standards set forth in this chapter. Within thirty days of making any change in the premises resulting in a higher number of ELUs, the customer shall pay additional general facilities charges for the increased amount of ELUs. Upon making any change in the premises resulting in a lower number of ELUs, subject to compliance with other requirements of this section, the customer shall be eligible for a credit in general facilities charges for the decreased amount of ELUs, which credit shall remain with the premises until used. The obligation for additional general facilities payments for increased ELUs and the potential credit toward future general facilities charges for decreased ELUs shall be calculated based on the general facilities charge in effect at the time the change in premises is made. Upon completion of any change in premises resulting in an increase or decrease in ELUs, the customer shall pay new monthly rates commensurate with the new number of ELUs for the premises.
  • B. Charges and Collection for ELU Increase–Implementation. The customer shall have an obligation to notify the district in writing of any changes to his/her premises that increase the number of ELUs for said premises within thirty days of making the change. The district may learn of a change in customer's premises resulting in an increase in ELUs for said premises–from the customer directly, through building permits, report of third parties, through its own investigation, or other means. Upon learning of an increase in ELUs, the district shall bill the customer for any additional general facilities charges owed and begin charging and collecting from the customer a monthly service charge based on the actual number of ELUs for the premises. In the event a customer fails to notify the district within thirty days of a change in the use of his premises as required herein, the district will charge said customer for interest on any additional general facilities charges owed as a result of increased ELUs at a rate of twelve percent per annum beginning from the date the changes in premises resulting in increased ELUs were completed; and the district shall also charge the customer the difference between the monthly rates actually paid and the monthly rates that should have been paid based on the actual number of ELUs, relating back to date said customer changed the premises; provided that, said back charges for monthly rates more than six years delinquent shall not be collectible.
  • C. Reduction in Rate/General Facilities Charge Credit for ELU Decrease–Implementation. Whenever the customer desires to discontinue the use of water for any special purpose or through any fixtures mentioned in the original application, he/she shall first cause the fixture to be removed and the branch pipe or service supplying the same to be capped or plugged and shall notify the district in writing before any credit for general facilities charges or reduction in rate will be made. Upon receipt of such written notice from the customer and verification by the district of fixture removal or capping or plugging of facilities, the district shall recalculate the number of ELUs for said premises. Any reduction in ELUs shall result in a credit for general facilities charges and a commensurate reduction in monthly rates as provided in subsection A of this section. In no event shall there be any reimbursement or refund for general facilities charges collected, other than a credit for such future charges for the premises.

(Res. 616 § 3, 2002)

7.04.045 Status of district customers.

Customers of the district shall not experience any change in their previously assigned number of ELUs until such time as said customers change the nature of their use (e.g., from residential to commercial), add additional uses or fixtures, or otherwise experience an increase or decrease in ELUs as described in this chapter; except that, existing or future customers of the district vested with a complete building permit application for a particular premises, filed with the appropriate local permitting authority on or before the date of this resolution, shall be assigned a number of ELUs for the new building or addition on said premises in accordance with the assignment of ELUs in effect prior to adoption of this resolution. (Res. 616 § 4, 2002)

7.04.050 Termination of service.

Service will be discontinued upon the customer giving the district official written notice prior to the date of disconnection. The customer will be responsible for all charges accruing prior to the date specified in the notice, or in case of failure to give notice, then until the water is turned off. (Res. 75 § 2(D), 1974)

7.04.070 Service connection charge--Meter only charge.

  • A. A service connection charge or meter-only charge must be paid to the district before water service will be made available to the premises. A service connection charge shall be a fee determined by the cost for installing a service connection to the property line, including meter and all necessary fittings. The meter-only charge shall be a fee determined by the cost for installing a meter only on an existing service line. Such charges for a primary service connection shall be as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code.
  • B. As set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code, a charge per account shall be made when there is a change of ownership after the initial application for service. This amount is to be paid at the time of notification of ownership change or with the first billing for service.

(Res. 499 § 1, 1991: Res. 491 § 2, 1990: Res. 419 § 1, 1985: Res. 373 § 1 (part), 1981: Res. 362 § 1 (part), 1980: Res. 232 § I (part), 1977: Res. 75 § 3(A), 1974) (Res. 683, § 1(F), 6-11-2009)

7.04.080 Regional connection charge.

Any application for water service shall be subject to a regional connection charge (“RCC”) for each equivalent living unit (“ELU”) to be connected to the district's water system. The RCC shall be imposed and collected as defined by and in accordance with the First Amendment To Agreement For Wholesale Water Supply (“First Amended Agreement”) entered into on May 27, 2008, between the district and the City of Blaine, and as hereafter amended. The RCC per ELU to be connected to the district water system shall be as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code. The RCC shall be in addition to a general facilities charge and any other applicable charges and shall be imposed on all new connections or increases in service demand as of the effective date of this resolution, regardless of the date of application. (Res. 674, § 1, 12-11-2008; Res. 683, § 1(G), 6-11-2009)

7.04.081 General facilities charge.

Any application for water service shall be subject to a general facilities charge per equivalent living unit to be connected to the district's water system, as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code. Said general facilities charge shall be in addition to any connection, permit or inspection fees otherwise applicable. (Res. 639 § 1, 2004: Res. 629 § 1, 2003: Res. 578 § 1, 1997: Res. 522 § A, 1993: Res. 516 § B, 1993) (Res. 660, § 1, 11-9-2006; Res. 683, § 1(H), 6-11-2009)

7.04.082 Commencement of payment of rates and charges.

Upon submission to the district of an application for water service, and payment of a general facilities charge, monthly water service charges shall begin immediately. Any persons who have previously submitted an application for water service, but who have not yet connected to the water system, shall be given notice that they have ninety days to begin paying the monthly service charges; or, if they elect not to begin paying monthly service charges, they will be required to pay any increase in general facilities charges enacted after the date of their application for water service. (Res. 525 § 2, 1993: Res. 516 § H, 1993)

7.04.083 Equivalent living unit calculations.

  • A. The number of equivalent living units (“ELUs”) for water per service or project, as applicable, shall be as follows:
    • 1. Single-Family Residence. For each single-family residence, one ELU; except that, single-family residence served by a meter greater than 5/8 inch in size shall be the greater of one ELU, or the number of ELUs established pursuant to the calculation method for commercial uses;
    • 2. Multiple Family Residence or Condominium. For each residential unit, one ELU;
    • 3. Mobile Home Park or Trailer Court. For each space in a mobile home park or trailer court or other premises where water and sewer service is available to a space which is used or may be used for living purposes, on a full- or part-time basis, one ELU;
    • 4. Camping Mobile Home Park or Camping Trailer Park (Not Intended for General Year Round Use, i.e., Camping Type). For each space in a mobile home park or trailer court or other premises where water and sewer service is available to a space which is used or may be used for living purposes, on a part-time basis, 1/2 ELU;
    • 5. Campgrounds (With Water Service Only to Individual Sites). For each space in a campground used for camping on a full- or part-time basis, 1/3 ELU;
    • 6. Campgrounds (Without Sewer or Water Service to Individual Sites). For each space in a campground used for camping on a full- or part-time basis, 1/4 ELU;
    • 7. Motel or Hotel. For each two rooms/units or fraction thereof, one ELU;
    • 8. Commercial Uses. For each commercial use and/or extended service unit, the number of ELUs shall be the greater of one, or the number established based on the number of fixture units serving the commercial use and/or extended service unit. The number of fixture units shall be determined in accordance with this code and other applicable policies and procedures approved by the board of commissioners. The number of ELUs for a commercial use and/or extended service unit shall be determined by dividing the number of fixture units for “public-general use” serving the commercial use and/or extended service unit by twenty-five; provided that in no event shall the number of ELUs for any commercial use or extended service unit be less than one. Partial ELUs resulting from the division of fixture units by twenty-five shall be rounded to the nearest 1/2 ELU, except for campgrounds described in subsections (A)(5) and (6) of this section;
    • 9. Churches. For each church, one ELU; except that, churches served by a meter greater than 5/8 inch in size shall be the greater of one ELU, or the number of ELUs established pursuant to the calculation method for commercial uses;
    • 10. Combined Facilities. For each property which has more than one business or function on one water connection, the number of ELUs will be based on the combined sum of the individual units which are applicable to each business or function involved;
    • 11. When a customer is not specifically listed in this section, the general manager or his/her designee may determine which category the customer most closely resembles in quantity of water used and classify each customer accordingly; provided that, any residential unit added to a commercial use shall be charged for a minimum of one additional ELU, and the total number of additional ELUs for such residential unit shall be determined in accordance with subsection (A)(1) of this section;
    • 12. The minimum number of ELUs for any premises shall be one ELU.
  • B. Any property, which has previously paid for water service, and has continually received water service from the district, but has paid either no general facilities charge or less than the current general facilities charge, shall receive a credit of four hundred twelve dollars against the charge levied in Section 7.04.081 of this chapter. Any property which has previously paid a general facilities charge, but is not currently paying for water service, shall receive a credit against the charge levied in Section 7.04.081 of this chapter. The credit will be the amount originally paid multiplied by 1.373.

(Res. 645 § 1, 2005; Res. 634 §§ 1, 3, and 4, 2004; Res. 616 § 5, 2002; Res. 516 § C, 1993 )

7.04.100 Charges--Advance payment required.

Payment of all charges shall be made at the time of application for service. (Res. 232 § 1 (part), 1977: Res. 75 § 3(D), 1974)

7.04.110 Dispatch/shut-off and turn-on charge.

  • A. Charges for dispatching to shut off a service for nonpayment of delinquent charges, charges to turn back on a service after the payment of delinquent charges, and charges for meter service or lock damages caused by the customer shall be as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code.
  • B. There shall be no charge for turning off a water service during normal business hours of the district at the customer's request.

(Res. 739, § 1, 2015: Res. 683, § 1(I), 2009: Res. 564 § 1, 1995: Res. 363 § 1, 1980: Res. 362 § 1 (part), 1980: Res. 232 § 1 (part), 1977: Res. 222 § 1, 1977: Res. 75 § 3(D), 1974)

7.04.120 Water rates.

  • A. Minimum Monthly Charge. The minimum monthly water availability charge for each equivalent living unit shall be as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code.
  • B. Water Use Charges.
    • 1. Water Use Within the District: In addition to the above monthly charges set forth in Section 7.04.120.A, customers using water inside the district shall be charged as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code.
    • 2. Water Use Outside the District. In addition to the above monthly charges set forth in Section 7.04.120.A, customers using water outside the district shall be charged as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of the this code.

(Res. 637 § 1, 2004; Res. 623 § 1, 2003; Res. 609 § 1, 2001; Res. 603 § 2, 2000; Res. 593 § 1, 1999; Res. 591 § 1, 1999; Res. 576 § 1, 1997: Res. 539 § 1, 1994: Res. 524 § 1, 1993: Res. 502 § 1, 1992; Res. 496 § 1, 1991: Res. 439 § 1, 1987: Res. 433 § 1, 1986: Res. 412 § 1, 1984: Res. 389 § 1, 1983: Res. 382 § 1, 1982: Res. 361 § 1, 1980: Res. 320 § 1, 1979: Res. 222 § 2, 1977: Res. 151, 1976: Res. 75 § 4(A), 1974) (Res. 666, § 1, 3-27-2008; Res. 678, § 1, 3-12-2009; Res. 683, § 1(J), 6-11-2009)

7.04.145 Water use charge.

Separate meters installed for fire protection purposes shall be treated as extended service units as provided in this section; except that, this provision shall not apply to detection meters and meters measuring flow to single-family residences. (Res. 616 § 8, 2002: Res. 564 § 2, 1995: Res. 491 § 5, 1990)

7.04.150 Billing and handling charge.

In addition to all other charges set forth herein, each billing unit shall be charged a billing and handling charge as set forth in Chapter 13.01 of this code. (Res. 637 § 2, 2004: Res. 623 § 2, 2003; Res. 609 § 2, 2001: Res. 603 § 3, 2000: Res. 593 § 2, 1999: Res. 576 § 2, 1997: Res. 539 § 2, 1994: Res. 433 § 4, 1986) (Res. 666, § 2, 3-27-2008; Res. 678, § 2, 3-12-2009; Res. 683, § 1(K), 6-11-2009)

7.04.170 Billing period.

For the purposes of this section, the terms “per month” and “monthly” mean the billing period of the district for each customer if the district bills monthly, or one-half of the billing period if the district bills bi-monthly. If the district billing period is other than monthly or bi-monthly, “per month” or “monthly” means any thirty-day period following the last day of the prior billing period and any period of fewer days where the billing period contains more than an even multiple of thirty-day periods, provided, however, that the monthly service charge shall be prorated for any portion of a month within any billing period where that portion of a month is less than twenty-four days. Any proration shall be based upon a presumption that every month contains thirty days. (Res. 560 § 2, 1995)

7.04.190 Water bills--When due.

Water service charges shall be billed every two months. The billing will be for the preceding two months for both the usage charge and for the monthly per unit charge. Bi-monthly statements of charges for water service shall be due and payable at such place or places designated by the district on or before the due date as printed on the statement and shall be delinquent thereafter. The statements shall cover service charges for the period shown thereon and shall be issued and forwarded by mail to the customer as soon as practical.

New customers' first billing shall be for the entire two-month period reduced pro-rata by the number of days between the beginning of the billing period and the day the property is deemed connected to the district's system. (Res. 739, § 1, 2015: Res. 619 § A, 2002: Res. 564 § 3, 1995; Res. 390 § 1, 1983: Res. 386 § A, 1982: Res. 222 § 4, 1977; Res. 75 § 5(A), 1974)

7.04.200 Delinquent accounts.

The district may, by act of its board of commissioners, shut-off water service to any user who is delinquent in payment of water charges. Notice of intent to shut-off for nonpayment shall be mailed to the user at least one week prior to actual shut-off. The District may charge a fee for delinquency as set forth in chapter 13.01 of this code. Water service shall not be turned on again until all delinquent charges are paid or a satisfactory arrangement for payment has been made with the district. Any charges of the district to the customer which become delinquent shall constitute a lien against the property being served. (Res. 739, § 1, 2015: Res. 727 § 2, 2013: Res. 75 § 5(B), 1974)

7.04.210 Water service availability.

The district will not issue any letter of water availability, nor will it allow a property to receive water service, for property located inside the district boundaries unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • A. Sewer service is available to the property and the property will be connected to the sewer system; or
  • B. A no-protest agreement to any future utility local improvement district for sewer service, in substantially the form attached to the resolution codified in this section as Exhibit A, is submitted to the district, along with the necessary fee to record same with the Whatcom County auditor.

(Amended during 3/06 supplement; Res. 475 § 1, 1989)

7.04.220 Change in occupancy.

The district shall be notified in writing by the seller of any property sold indicating names and addresses of the new owner and the date of change of properties being serviced by the district. The district shall bill the owner according to the district's records. (Res. 75 §6, 1974)

7.04.230 Refusal of service.

The district reserves the right to refuse to connect or render service to a premises, when such connection will adversely affect the service to other customers. (Res. 75 §7, 1974)

7.04.240 Maintenance responsibility.

  • A. The customer will assume all responsibility on his premises for water supplied by the district. The district will be exempt from all liability for loss or damage caused by leakage or escape of water furnished by the district, after the same has passed the point of delivery and passed the point of the district's ownership.
  • B. All service pipes and fixtures on the premises of the customer must be kept in repair and protected from freezing at the expense of the customer. Where there are leaking or defective pipes or fixtures, the water may be turned off at the option of the district until the proper repairs are made.

(Res. 75 §8, 1974)

7.04.250 Damaging or interfering with water system prohibited.

  • A. It is unlawful for any person to wilfully disturb, break, deface or damage any fire hydrant, water meter, gate valve, water pipe or other waterworks appurtenance.
  • B. It is unlawful for any person to open, close, turn or connect with any fire hydrant, valve or pipe belonging to the district unless authorized by the superintendent in writing; provided, this rule does not apply to members of fire departments duly authorized to operate fire hydrants while acting in such capacity.

(Res. 75 §9, 1974)

7.04.260 Sprinkling during fires prohibited.

It is unlawful for any person to knowingly use water for lawn or garden sprinkling or irrigating purposes on any premises during the progress of a fire or conflagration within the service area of the district water system. (Res. 75 §10, 1974)

7.04.270 Other prohibited acts.

It is unlawful for any person to:

  • A. Use any construction material not conforming to the district's standard specifications;
  • B. Connect any premises with the district's water system without written district authorization;
  • C. Connect or attach any wire conveying a ground current or electrical current to any water pipe, water main or conduit attached to or forming a part of the district water system;
  • D. Connect to his service pipe, either on or off his premises, any pump or other means of obtaining more volume or pressure than that supplied by the district, unless permission is received in writing from the district.

(Res. 75 §12, 1974)

7.04.280 Emergency interruption of service.

In case of an emergency or whenever the public health, safety or equitable distribution of water so demands, the district may reduce or limit the time for, or temporarily discontinue, the use of water. Water service may be temporarily discontinued for purposes of making repairs, extensions, or doing necessary work. Before so changing, reducing, limiting or discontinuing the use of water, the district shall notify, insofar as practical, all water consumers affected. The district shall not be responsible for any damage resulting from interruption, change or failure of the water supply. (Res. 75 §13, 1974)

7.04.290 Access to premises for inspection.

  • A. Authorized employees of the district shall have access, at reasonable hours of the day, to all parts of premises or within buildings thereon to which water is supplied from the district water system for the purpose of checking conformity to these regulations.
  • B. Whenever the owner of any premises supplied by the district water system restrains authorized district employees from making necessary inspections, water service may be immediately discontinued.

(Res. 75 §14, 1974)

7.04.300 District employees to work on mains and service connections.

Only employees of the district or qualified contractors duly authorized by the district shall be allowed to do any work in connection with the district mains, service connections or appurtenances. (Res. 75 §15, 1974)

7.04.310 Locations of waterworks facilities.

All locations of waterworks facilities, both public and private, which are connected to the district water system are subject to the approval of the district. All mains, service lines and other waterworks appurtenances which carry water shall be located a sufficient distance, both horizontally and vertically, from any sanitary sewage facility to prevent contamination. (Res. 75 §16, 1974)

7.04.320 Ownership of mains and service connections.

  • A. The ownership of all mains, service connections and appurtenances in public streets or utility rights-of-way shall be vested solely in the district.
  • B. The district will operate and maintain all mains in public streets or utility rights-of-way. In no case shall an owner, agent or employee of any premises have the right to remove or change any part thereof without the approval of the district.

(Res. 75 §17, 1974)

7.04.330 Service connections--Meters.

  • A. Every separate premises supplied by the district must have its own separate service and the premises so supplied will not be allowed to supply water to any other premises except by written authorization of the district. The district may require individual buildings on any premises to be separately metered and shall require individual condominium units, apartments, and mobile homes to be separately metered. Existing premises of the district being supplied service from the district shall be exempted from this separate service requirement.
  • B. All meters will remain the property of the district and the district will maintain them free of cost except for wilful or careless damage. Any change in the location of a meter after the original installation is made will be at the expense of the customer, unless the change is at the request of the district.
  • C. Installation of any private water meter on the water system operated by the district is prohibited.

(Res. 717 §1, 2012: Res. No. 684, § 2, 6-11-2009: Res. 75 § 18, 1974)

7.04.340 Main extension.

  • A. Utility Local Improvement District. A water main can be installed to serve properties lying within the legal boundaries of the district by the formation of a utility local improvement district as prescribed by state law.
  • B. Developer Extension. A water main may also be installed at the expense of the owner; provided, that all such construction shall be done in accordance with the district's conditions and standards for developer extensions to the water system, codified in Chapter 9.04 of this code.

(Res. 75 § 19, 1974)

7.04.350 Water use efficiency standards.

The following shall be the water use efficiency standards for new connections made to the district's water and/or sewer systems. Any and all new connections will be subject to compliance with these standards.

  • A. Water Closets. Maximum water use allowed in gallons per flush (gpf) for water closets and replacement water closets is as follows:
    • 1. Tank-type toilets 1.6 gpf
    • 2. Flushometer-tank toilets 1.6 gpf
    • 3. Electromechanical hydraulic toilets 1.6 gpf
  • B. Urinals. Maximum water use allowed for any urinal is 1.0 gallons per flush (gpf).
  • C. Showerheads. Maximum water use allowed for any showerhead is 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm).
  • D. Faucets: Maximum water use allowed in gallons per minute (gpm) for the following faucets and replacement aerators is as follows:
    • 1. Bathroom faucets 2.5 gpm
    • 2. Lavatory faucets 2.5 gpm
    • 3. Kitchen faucets 2.5 gpm
    • 4. Replacement aerators 2.5 gpm
  • E. Public Restroom Faucets. Except where designed and installed for use by the physically handicapped, all lavatory faucets located in restrooms intended for use by the general public must be equipped with a metering valve designed to close by water pressure when unattended (self-closing).
  • F. Continuous Flow. No urinal or water closet that operates on a continuous flow or continuous basis shall be permitted.

(Res. 503 § 1, 1992)

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