(Posted Oct. 6, 2014)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Starting in November, the Madison County Sanitary Sewer District will terminate sewer service for customers who don’t pay their monthly usage bill.
Delinquent accounts are a chronic problem for the district, which serves residents at Choctaw Lake, the Burr Oak subdivision in Mount Sterling, Camp Wissalohican in Jefferson Township, and businesses at I-70 and U.S. Route 42.
The amount of delinquent fees owed to the district is $99,000. Choctaw Lake, which has the largest population in the district, accounts for over $59,000 of the $99,000. Unpaid usage fees make up two-thirds of the delinquencies at Choctaw Lake. The other third is unpaid debt retirement payments for the sewage plant construction.
“Some people owe a few hundred dollars. Others owe thousands,” said Tom Taylor, operator of record for the sewer district.
Until now, unpaid monthly usage fees were applied to the user’s taxes and service continued. Starting in November, that will no longer be the case. Customers who don’t pay their monthly bill will receive a notice 15 business days after the payment due date. If they don’t make a payment within 10 days of receiving the notice, the district will shut off their service. To regain service, a customer must pay their balance in full, as well as pay disconnection and reconnection fees.
Choctaw Lake residents pay an average of $33 per month for sewer usage. The average at Camp Wissalohican is $34. The sewer district also provides water service at Camp Wissalohican; the average monthly water usage bill is $34. The new shut-off procedure also will apply to delinquent water payments at Camp Wissalohican. Amounts paid at Burr Oaks and I-70/42 are based on metered readings.
The sewer district also is tackling the problem of residents planting trees, installing landscaping, and building fences, driveways and decks within the sewer district’s easements.
“It makes it hard for us to service our pumps,” Taylor said.
Sewer district representatives plan to meet with township trustees and home owners associations in their service areas to inform them of the problem.
“People need to make sure their plans take our easements into account. If they have questions, they can call us,” Taylor said.
The sewer district can be reached at (740) 845-1284.
In planning for the long-term, the sewer district has started discussions with the Madison County commissioners about capital improvements at its plants and for its on-site pump mechanisms.
“The plants are getting some age on them, plus the pumps usually last about 10 years,” Taylor said. “We want to see if we have funding for improvements.”
Choctaw Lake’s sewage treatment plant is 12 years old. Camp Wissalohican’s is 14 years old. The plant that serves I-70/42 is 25 years old. Maintenance of all three is the responsibility of the sewer district. The district’s sewer lines in Burr Oaks connect to the plant maintained by the village of Mount Sterling.