Volume 15, No. 2 www.jccEgov.com/jcsa October-December 2010
From the General Manager
This is our second edition of Waterline that is being published exclusively on-line. We made the decision to publish “on-line” to save about $10,000 per year in printing costs. Of all the organizations that have newsletters I wonder how many are read. So let me know if you are reading our e-newsletter. Just send an email to email@example.com.
Two things I want to talk about in this edition of Waterline – Backflow and Water Rates.
I know our customers that have irrigation systems, which require backflow preventers, have found our program challenging. Some would say “it’s a nuisance” and I understand. Let me tell you why we have the program. All public water utilities are required to have a backflow program. The difference is “how it is enforced”. To protect our customers the JCSA chooses to be the leader in implementing our backflow program.
Maybe before I get to the why I should explain what a backflow device does. It basically acts as a barrier to prevent contaminated water from entering the public water system. The water could be contaminated with anything from chemicals to E-coli. All that has to happen is to have a waterline break or a fire that requires a lot of water to suppress. This reduces the pressure in the water system and can siphon contaminated water from a building sprinkler system or an irrigation system. Once the water gets into the public system it gets distributed to our customers.
With over 5,000 irrigation systems served by the JCSA, the risk goes up dramatically; thus, the reason for implementing our backflow program for irrigation systems. Why test a backflow device annually? This also is a Health Department requirement. From a practical standpoint we know a backflow device will fail so how often should the device be tested? Professional organizations like the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code say to protect the public the device should be tested every year. So is it annually or every other year or some other schedule? We chose to follow the guidance of the Health Department and other professional organizations whose mission it is to protect the public.
Oh what a difference a season can make. Last year because of a cool wet summer water demands were well below projections. Then for this year we have experienced record water demands.
This is a reminder that the JCSA has an increasing block rate. The more water a customer uses the more it costs. If the JCSA used the more traditional flat water rate system the rate would be $3.50-$4.00 per thousand gallons. The way our increasing rate system works after a customer uses more than 30,000 gallons in a three month billing period the rate goes to $9.80 per thousand gallons. Why? Studies have shown that rates are the most effective tool in promoting water conservation. Because the JCSA is exclusively dependent on limited and fragile groundwater supplies we have chosen to use every tool we have available to encourage conservation. So remember to use water judiciously. It will save you money!
Larry M. Foster
New Courtesy e-Reminder Notice
Ever forget to submit your submeter readings or just don’t know when? The James City Service Authority (JCSA) provides courtesy reminder notices either electronically or by postcard. Timely submission of your submeter reading ensures prompt credit to your billing statement.
When it’s time to submit your submeter reading, please try our new and improved Web Self Service feature provided by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) through the Hampton Roads Utility Billing Service (HRUBS).
Web Self Service gives you around-the-clock online access to your account history, payment information and now the convenience of submitting your submeter reading directly to your account. To view a list of online web self services, visit hrsd.com and click on Customer Info/HRUBS.
If not already registered for HRUBS Web Self Service, simply register a User Id and Password using your account number and account name (exactly as it appears on your bill). Click on Reading for Customer Owned Meter, then simply enter the date the submeter was read and submeter reading. The reading will automatically update to your account.
For more information, visit jccEgov.com/submeter.