Woodland Hills Sanitary District

Water Policy

Original May 1, 1994 (revised March 2015)

 

Introduction

 

The Woodland Hills Sanitary District owns and operates a water system to make water available to lots located within the Woodland Hills Subdivision (see Definition of Terms below).   The purpose of this document is to establish an updated comprehensive policy for the operation of the water system.  The document consolidates and incorporates previous water policies/contracts/agreements and sets forth detailed conditions and terms for both the water system operator and benefactors.   This policy is adopted Feb, 2015 and becomes effective March, 2015.

 

Definition of Terms

 

Assessment:  A charge established by the district to help pay for water system repairs, maintenance or improvements for costs which cannot be covered by the monthly income from water sales.  The Board determines how these charges will be assessed, but normally the charges are assessed against owners of developed lots.

 

District:  The elected district trustees of the Woodland Hills Sanitary District.

 

Curb stop: A mechanical on/off valve installed where the water line from the water main connects to the meter pit/meter then to the service line on the owner’s property.  A stem attached to the valve and a special tool permits operation of the valve from ground level.  The water line between the meter pit/meter and the owner’s residence is usually referred to as the service line.

 

Developed Lot:  A lot which contains a house.   As of February, 2015, 102 of the 108 lots within Woodland Hills were developed lots.

 

Late Charge:  A charge imposed for the late payment of monthly water charges.  The criteria for the late charge and the cost are determined by the Board and provided in writing to water using owners.

 

Meter Deposit:  A deposit to cover the use of and the cost of any damage to, the water meter and remote reader owned by the Sanitary District and installed at the owner’s residence, whether in the meter pit or in the home. The deposit is also used to protect against the nonpayment of water charges.  The amount of the deposit is established by the Sanitary District, specified in a receipt provided upon payment of the deposit, and must be paid before the owner starts withdrawing water from the system.  The conditions and terms for the refund of the deposit are determined by the Board and also detailed in the water deposit receipt. 

 

Owner:  Anyone who owns a developed or undeveloped lot within Woodland Hills Subdivision.   The term “owner” used in this document includes multiple owners or renters of a property when that is the case.

 

Water Policy:  The policy outlining the conditions the owner must satisfy in order to receive water, and the Sanitary District’s obligation to provide water once these conditions are met.

 

Water Hook-up Right:  The first prerequisite for water service to a lot is a paid-up water hook-up right for the lot.  As of January 1, 1994, each of the 108 lots within Woodland Hills had a water hook-up right.   The first rights sold for approximately $1,000 per lot.  The last water hook-up right available from the Sanitary District sold for $7,000 in March  2007.  It is not anticipated that any more lots will be created in Woodland Hills, but if so, the owner of the new lot will need a water hook-up right before the Sanitary District will provide water to the lot.  A water hook-up right for such a lot could possibly be purchased from the owner of one of the existing 108 rights or from the Sanitary District.

 

Water Payment Form:  Monthly water payment forms are issued when water delivery begins.  The form will be re-supplied as necessary.  The form is used to record monthly water usage and calculate monthly water charges.  The form and payment for water is submitted to the Sanitary District’s contract bookkeeper each month.   As the new meter pits and meters are installed, the water meters will be read by the District’s contracted water maintenance person once a month and he will send a payment form to each homeowner/renter.  

 

Water Rates:  The rate structure for water provided by the Sanitary District will be developed by the Board based on the overall cost of delivery.  Rates will be changed by the Board as necessary to cover increased operating expenses, to ensure a reserve for emergencies and pay off any debt.  Rates developed by the Board will provide financial incentives for water conservation – less cost per gallon, for example, for less usage.  Tables showing current water rates will be provided by the bookkeeper.

 

Water System: The water system owned and operated by the Woodland Hills Sanitary District includes the following:

 

·        Approximately 18,322 feet of water main.

·        A 950 foot deep well containing a 20 horsepower pump with a pumping capacity of approximately 90 gallons per minute.

·        A 736 foot deep well containing a 15 horsepower pump with a pumping capacity of approximately 24 gallons per minute.  This well is used as a backup to the 950 foot well.

·        Under ground water reservoirs with a total water storage capacity of approximately 83,000 gallons.

·        Two above ground water tanks with a total water storage capacity of approximately 50,000 gallons.

·        Approximately 102 pairs of water meters/remote readers installed at Woodland Hills addresses.

·        Three above ground, enclosed and heated pump houses.

 

Woodland Hills Sanitary District - A South Dakota codified legal entity (see South Dakota codified law CHAPTER 34A-5) formed in June, 2012 to operate and maintain a water distribution system for the Woodland Hills sub-division.  The non-profit Sanitary District delivers water to the users.  Contracted bookkeeping and maintenance services are used to help manage and maintain the water system.  The Sanitary District is run by a board of trustees elected by the registered voters within the District boundary which is the Woodland Hills subdivision. 

 

 

Woodland Hills Road District: A South Dakota codified legal entity formed in September 1991 to maintain the roads within the Woodland Hills sub-division.  In July 2012 the road district was dissolved by the district's trustees and the district is now operated and maintained by the Sanitary District trustees.  Funds to support road maintenance efforts are collected through taxes levied on property owners by Meade County and given to the district. 

 

Woodland Hills Subdivision:  All 108 lots in the Woodland Hills area of 320 acres bound by the National Forest Service land as shown by the Meade County, South Dakota, register of deeds (http://www.meadecounty.org/register-of-deeds/).

 

Terms and Conditions

 

The following terms and conditions shall be strictly adhered to by both the Sanitary District and the owners/renters.  The Sanitary District is obligated to use sound management practices in operating the water system and to make all reasonable efforts to provide safe, equitable, reliable and cost-effective water service to owners who comply with these terms and conditions.  The District also operates by the South Dakota codified laws contained in section 34A-5 found on the state's web site at:  http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/DisplayStatute.aspx?Statute=34A-5&Type=Statute

 

Failure by an owner to comply with these terms and conditions will be grounds for termination of water service and other actions outlined in this policy including, in extreme cases, the repossession of the owner's water hook up right.  (See XII below.)

 

 

I.

The owner may begin withdrawing water from the water system after satisfying the following conditions:

 

 

When the conditions above are satisfied, the District will direct the maintenance contractor to open the water valves necessary to provide water to the owner's lot.

 

 

II.

The owner developing a lot who meets the conditions specified in I. above and the requirements outlined below will be entitled, at the owner's expense, to connect to the District's water system with the use of a meter pit at the nearest approved accessible water main to the owner's residence for the purpose of withdrawing water from the system for normal domestic household use.  Prior to starting water line work, the owner will notify the District of the owner's intent to connect to the water system and will receive a copy of this policy from the bookkeeper, the home owner/renter must have a certified installer perform the water hook up to the Districts main water line and must be in compliance with the sanitary regulations of the appropriate state agencies, including the State Plumbing Board and the Rapid City Construction Code, Along with approved supplies and connectors.  The owner/renter will be Responsible/Liable to pay all past accrued assessments up to the date of connection to the water system.  The owner/renter will sign a copy and receive a copy of this policy indicating understanding of the requirements.  After the finished work has been inspected and approved by a representative of the district, the inspector will sign the document indicating approval of the work.  On some undeveloped lots the main-to-curb stop line and curb stop are already installed.  When and if a lot is developed a meter pit and new curb stop will be supplied by the District, the digging and installation of such will be at the expense of the property owner.  NOTE:  Water contracts made with the owners of lots in the first platted portion of Woodland Hills (Plat 1) obligated the district to provide a service line, not to exceed 100 feet to a residence erected on the lot.  These contracts will continue to be honored by the Sanitary District.

 

III.

The new meter pits, meters/remote readers and curb stops put in for each lot in 2014/2015 will be maintained and be the responsibility of the Sanitary District.  Any damage outside of the normal wear and tear will be at the expense of the home owner. Property service lines begin at the connection to the meter pit to the home and are the responsibility of the home owner.  To protect against water losses, the district reserves the right to turn off water being supplied to leaking and/or damaged lines until the leaks/damages are repaired by the owner. 

 

IV.

The owner is required to irrevocably grant to the District and its agents, free and complete passage over the owner's property for the purpose of operating, inspecting and testing the curb stop, meter pit/meter and reader and service line for leaks and inspecting and reading the water meter and remote reader.  Access will be only for a reasonable time and emergency access purposes with an effort of minimal damage to the property.   

                                                                       

V.

The owner will not introduce water from any other source into any part of the District's water system.

 

VI.

The District will provide and install a meter and remote reader for the purpose of metering water use by the owner and upon which water charges shall be based.  Broken meters will be replaced within ten (10) days of notification of meter malfunction.  Actions by an owner to obtained unmetered water or inaccurately metered water from the water system will be grounds for the District to permanently terminate water service to that owner and take any other actions deemed appropriate by the District. 

 

VII.

The District will provide water for only one (1) residence per lot and only for normal domestic household purposes.  Owners who wish to obtain water for non-domestic household use, including water for undeveloped lots, must first receive written approval from the District.  Commercial use of the water provided by the District is strictly prohibited. 

 

IX.

It is understood between the district and the owners that the district will establish rates for the sale of water to the owners and that these rates may be adjusted from time to time to meet the cost of operation.  The owner must pay all monthly charges, including any special charges, by the day of the month specified by the District.  Payments made after this specified date are delinquent and late charges determined and published by the district will be added monthly.  The owner will read the meter on the first day of each month and report the reading to the district on the water payment form provided by the district, until the time that the meters are remotely read by the District’s water maintenance person.  Accurate, timely readings from the owners are critical in that these readings are compared with pump data to detect costly system leaks.  The owner will calculate the amount due the district based upon the rates then in effect and submit payment for charges along with the payment form to the district.  Periodic no-notice readings of water meters will also be directed by the district and conducted by the maintenance contractor.  Failure to submit accurate meter readings by the fifth day of the month will trigger late charges as specified in section XI.  Homeowners/renters who are gone from their residence for an entire month or more will be required to pay the minimum monthly usage charge and the loan assessment charge for each month they are gone.  This amount may be paid monthly while gone or prepaid in advance prior to leaving.  Late charges will be assessed if payments are not received by the 5th of each month (unless prior arrangements have been made, these arrangements must be made with the bookkeeper prior to leaving).  In the event the district finds it necessary to assess owners to pay for the maintenance, improvement or repair of the water system, owners assessed will promptly remit the pro rata share of the assessment as established by the District within the time specified by the district.  Assessments will be based upon the following formula:

 

 

ASSESSEMENT PER OWNER =  COST OF IMPROVEMENT________________

                         NUMBER OF LOT OWNERS TO BE ASSESSED

 

 

XI.

Delinquency in the payment of charges for water, assessments or other charges made by the district which continue for a period of ninety (90) days by a water-using owner will justify discontinuance of water by the district and entitle the district, after notice to the owner, to shut off the water going to the owner's lot.  Notification of the delinquency and its consequences upon exceeding 90 days will be made to the owner, in writing, by the district when the delinquency reaches sixty (60) days.  Once shut off, water service will not be restored until all delinquent charges, including late charges, have been paid in full and the owner has paid a $100.00 (one hundred dollar) fee to the District as a restart charge and to reimburse the District for any other expenses incurred. 

 

XII.

If the payment of charges for water, assessments and/or other water-related charges are not paid by the owner of a developed or undeveloped lot within one hundred eighty (180) days of the due date, the district will begin procedures for repossession of the water hook-up right for the developed or undeveloped lot.  The first step in the process will be a certified or registered letter to the owner.  The letter will notify the owner that the debt is overdue by one hundred eighty (180) days, that interest at a specified rate (determined by the District) will be applied to the unpaid balance until paid and that the water hook-up right for the lot in question will be repossessed by the district when the total debt, including interest, against the lot equals or exceeds the price paid for the water hook up right.  As long as the debt exists, the District will send a certified or registered letter to the owner each January advising the owner of the debt's new balance and the interest on the balance to be charged for the year.  Each letter will also repeat consequences for nonpayment outlined in the original letter.  Charges for postage, typing, stationery and other expenses incurred in attempts to collect the debt will be added to the debt each year.  When the total debt, including all interest, equals the cost paid for the water hook-up right for the lot in question, the district will send a certified or registered letter to the owner giving the owner thirty (30) days to pay the debt in full or have the water hook-up repossessed to cover the debt.  If full payment is not received from the owner within the thirty (30) day period specified, the water hook-up right will be repossessed by the district and the lot in question will not be entitled to any water from the water system until another water hook-up right has been purchased for the lot.  (See Water Hook-up Right under Definition of Terms.)  As a final action, the District will take the action necessary to record the loss of the lot's water hook up with the Meade County Register of Deeds.  The District does have the right to assess a charge against a delinquent owner's property taxes for an unpaid charge.  

 

XIII.

In the event it is necessary to dig across any roads or rights of way for the purpose of connecting in to the District water line, the owner will consult with the District for approval and requirements regarding the cut, back fill and asphalt patching, in applicable. 

 

XIV.

The District will provide safe, potable water that meets state requirements in sufficient quantities for the purposes outlined in this policy for so long as such water is available to the District from its wells.  No guarantee is given, nor is any intended or expressed on the part of the District, to perpetually provide water to the owner beyond that which is contained in its wells.  In the event of failure of the wells such that no water can be provided, the District is relieved of the obligation to provide water until said wells are repaired or otherwise brought into service.

 

 

XV.

The location of owner's lot relative to the water reservoir or tank that serves the lot may dictate the use of a water pressure boosting reduction device.  The owner will be responsible for providing these pressure devices.

 

XVI.

The owner understands that the water rates, late charges and meter deposit being charged by the District will be evidenced by separate documents and become a part of this policy as though fully set forth herein. 

 

XVII.

The terms and conditions of this policy will be binding upon the owner, the owner's heirs and successors in interest and the policies contained herein will be deemed to be covenants running with the lot(s) and will be the future owner(s) of the specific lot(s) affected hereby.

 

 

XVIII.

This water policy supersedes all previous water policies, documents and agreements and

is to remain in full force and effect until terminated or modified by the District.

 

Homeowner’s signature______________________________________________

 

 

District representative signature_______________________________________