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Temporary meter can mitigate sewer charges for new grass
October 11, 2013 · Jim Bonewald

Almost everyone knows it can be expensive to water sod at a newly constructed home. However, what new homeowners might not know is that the bill can be even higher if they also end up paying sewage charges on top of the cost of water.

This summer two new homeowners in the Lisbon community found things out the hard way.

Every water and sewer bill includes two different costs. One portion of the bill is for the amount of water used. The other portion is for the amount of water that returns through the sewer system.

When a person moves into a newly built home and chooses to water recently installed sod, the water they use goes into the ground and not into the sewer. However, because sewer costs are calculated on the amount of water used, the homeowner ends up paying unnecessary sewer costs for water used to irrigate their new lawn.

The Lisbon City Council at a recent meeting considered the plight of two new homeowners who submitted requests to have a partial abatement of their sewer bills in order to account for the amount of water used to irrigate their newly installed lawns.

The council decided to remove the sewage charges for three months of water usage this summer, and then to back bill the homeowner later this year, calculating their new bill based on an average amount of water used through three months this fall.

The council recognized that all of this might have been avoided if the city had done a better job of communicating with contractors and homeowners that a temporary irrigation meter is available to monitor the amount of water used to irrigate a new lawn. The irrigation meter eliminates the unnecessary sewage costs that appear on the monthly water bill.

City administrator Chris Yancey informed the council she is working with water superintendent Travis Bagby to develop written materials that will inform contractors and homeowners, at the time a building permit is issued, that an irrigation meter is available. The council hopes this information will eliminate future recurrences of this issue.

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