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Introduced Version House Bill 3072 History

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hb3072 intr
H. B. 3072


(By Delegates Ennis, DeLong, Swartzmiller,
Yost and G. White)

[Introduced
March 16, 2005 ; referred to the
Committee on Political Subdivisions the Judiciary.]



A BILL to amend and reenact §16-13A-9 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to requiring that every house, dwelling or business located in an area where public water services are made available for the first time after July 1, 2006 be connected to the public water service.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §16-13A-9 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 13A. PUBLIC SERVICE DISTRICTS FOR WATER, SEWERAGE AND GAS SERVICES.

§16-13A-9. Rules; service rates and charges; discontinuance of service; required water and sewer connections; lien for delinquent fees.

(a)(1) The board may make, enact and enforce all needful rules in connection with the acquisition, construction, improvement, extension, management, maintenance, operation, care, protection and the use of any public service properties owned or controlled by the district. The board shall establish rates, fees and charges for the services and facilities it furnishes, which shall be sufficient at all times, notwithstanding the provisions of any other law or laws, to pay the cost of maintenance, operation and depreciation of the public service properties and principal of and interest on all bonds issued, other obligations incurred under the provisions of this article and all reserve or other payments provided for in the proceedings which authorized the issuance of any bonds under this article. The schedule of the rates, fees and charges may be based upon:
(A) The consumption of water or gas on premises connected with the facilities, taking into consideration domestic, commercial, industrial and public use of water and gas;
(B) The number and kind of fixtures connected with the
facilities located on the various premises;
(C) The number of persons served by the facilities;
(D) Any combination of paragraphs (A), (B) and (C) of this subdivision; or
(E) May be determined on any other basis or classification which the board may determine to be fair and reasonable, taking into consideration the location of the premises served and the nature and extent of the services and facilities furnished. However, no rates, fees or charges for stormwater services may be assessed against highways, road and drainage easements or stormwater facilities constructed, owned or operated by the West Virginia Division of Highways.
(2) Where water, sewer, stormwater or gas services, or any combination thereof, are all furnished to any premises, the schedule of charges may be billed as a single amount for the aggregate of the charges. The board shall require all users of services and facilities furnished by the district to designate on every application for service whether the applicant is a tenant or an owner of the premises to be served. If the applicant is a tenant, he or she shall state the name and address of the owner or owners of the premises to be served by the district. Notwithstanding the provisions of section eight, article three, chapter twenty-four of this code to the contrary, all new applicants for service shall deposit the greater of a sum equal to two twelfths of the average annual usage of the applicant's specific customer class or fifty dollars, with the district to secure the payment of service rates, fees and charges in the event they become delinquent as provided in this section. If a district provides both water and sewer service, all new applicants for service shall deposit the greater of a sum equal to two twelfths of the average annual usage for water service or fifty dollars and the greater of a sum equal to two twelfths of the average annual usage for wastewater service of the applicant's specific customer class or fifty dollars. In any case where a deposit is forfeited to pay service rates, fees and charges which were delinquent at the time of disconnection or termination of service, no reconnection or reinstatement of service may be made by the district until another deposit equal to the greater of a sum equal to two twelfths of the average usage for the applicant's specific customer class or fifty dollars has been remitted to the district. After twelve months of prompt payment history, the district shall return the deposit to the customer or credit the customer's account at a rate as the Public Service Commission may prescribe: Provided, That where the customer is a tenant, the district is not required to return the deposit until the time the tenant discontinues service with the district. Whenever any rates, fees, rentals or charges for services or facilities furnished remain unpaid for a period of twenty days after the same become due and payable, the user of the services and facilities provided is delinquent and the user is liable at law until all rates, fees and charges are fully paid. The board may, under reasonable rules promulgated by the Public Service Commission, shut off and discontinue water or gas services to all delinquent users of either water or gas facilities, or both, ten days after the water or gas services become delinquent.
(b) In the event that any publicly or privately owned utility, city, incorporated town, other municipal corporation or other public service district included within the district owns and operates separately either water facilities or sewer facilities, and the district owns and operates the other kind of facilities either water or sewer, as the case may be, then the district and the publicly or privately owned utility, city, incorporated town or other municipal corporation or other public service district shall covenant and contract with each other to shut off and discontinue the supplying of water service for the nonpayment of sewer service fees and charges: Provided, That any contracts entered into by a public service district pursuant to this section shall be submitted to the Public Service Commission for approval. Any public service district providing water and sewer service to its customers has the right to terminate water service for delinquency in payment of either water or sewer bills. Where one public service district is providing sewer service and another public service district or a municipality included within the boundaries of the sewer district is providing water service, and the district providing sewer service experiences a delinquency in payment, the district or the municipality included within the boundaries of the sewer district that is providing water service, upon the request of the district providing sewer service to the delinquent account, shall terminate its water service to the customer having the delinquent sewer account: Provided, however, That any termination of water service must comply with all rules and orders of the Public Service Commission.
(c) Any district furnishing sewer facilities within the district may require, or may by petition to the circuit court of the county in which the property is located, compel or may require the Division of Health to compel all owners, tenants or occupants of any houses, dwellings and buildings located near any sewer facilities where sewage will flow by gravity or be transported by other methods approved by the Division of Health, including, but not limited to, vacuum and pressure systems, approved under the provisions of section nine, article one, chapter sixteen of this code, from the houses, dwellings or buildings into the sewer facilities, to connect with and use the sewer facilities and to cease the use of all other means for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage and waste matters from the houses, dwellings and buildings where there is gravity flow or transportation by any other methods approved by the Division of Health, including, but not limited to, vacuum and pressure systems, approved under the provisions of section nine, article one, chapter sixteen of this code, and the houses, dwellings and buildings can be adequately served by the sewer facilities of the district and it is declared that the mandatory use of the sewer facilities provided for in this paragraph is necessary and essential for the health and welfare of the inhabitants and residents of the districts and of the state. If the public service district requires the property owner to connect with the sewer facilities even when sewage from dwellings may not flow to the main line by gravity and the property owner incurs costs for any changes in the existing dwellings' exterior plumbing in order to connect to the main sewer line, the public service district board shall authorize the district to pay all reasonable costs for the changes in the exterior plumbing, including, but not limited to, installation, operation, maintenance and purchase of a pump or any other method approved by the Division of Health. Maintenance and operation costs for the extra installation should be reflected in the users charge for approval of the Public Service Commission. The circuit court shall adjudicate the merits of the petition by summary hearing to be held not later than thirty days after service of petition to the appropriate owners, tenants or occupants.
(d) Whenever any district has made available sewer facilities to any owner, tenant or occupant of any house, dwelling or building located near the sewer facility and the engineer for the district has certified that the sewer facilities are available to and are adequate to serve the owner, tenant or occupant and sewage will flow by gravity or be transported by other methods approved by the Division of Health from the
house, dwelling or building into the sewer facilities, the district may charge, and the owner, tenant or occupant shall pay the rates and charges for services established under this article only after thirty-day notice of the availability of the facilities has been received by the owner, tenant or occupant. Rates and charges for sewage services shall be based upon actual water consumption or the average monthly water consumption based upon the owner's, tenant's or occupant's specific customer class.
(e) Whenever any district has made available a stormwater system to any owner, tenant or occupant of any real property located near the stormwater system and where stormwater from real property affects or drains into the stormwater system, it is hereby found, determined and declared that the owner, tenant or occupant is being served by the stormwater system and it is further hereby found, determined and declared that the mandatory use of the stormwater system is necessary and essential for the health and welfare of the inhabitants and residents of the district and of the state. The district may charge, and the owner, tenant or occupant shall pay the rates, fees and charges for stormwater services established under this article only after thirty-day notice of the availability of the stormwater system has been received by the owner.
(f) All delinquent fees, rates and charges of the district for either water facilities, sewer facilities, gas facilities or stormwater systems or stormwater management programs are liens on the premises served of equal dignity, rank and priority with the lien on the premises of state, county, school and municipal taxes. In addition to the other remedies provided in this section, public service districts are granted a deferral of filing fees or other fees and costs incidental to the bringing and maintenance of an action in magistrate court for the collection of delinquent water, sewer, stormwater or gas bills. If the district collects the delinquent account, plus reasonable costs, from its customer or other responsible party, the district shall pay to the magistrate the normal filing fee and reasonable costs which were previously deferred. In addition, each public service district may exchange with other public service districts a list of delinquent accounts: Provided, That an owner of real property may not be held liable for the delinquent rates or charges for services or facilities of a tenant, nor may any lien attach to real property for the reason of delinquent rates or charges for services or facilities of a tenant of the real property, unless the owner has contracted directly with the public service district to purchase the services or facilities.
(g) In any district furnishing public water service for the first time after the first day of July, two thousand six, all houses, dwellings and businesses in those districts are required to be connected to the public water service. It is declared that the mandatory use of the public water service provided in this paragraph is necessary and essential for the health and welfare of the inhabitants and residents of the districts and of the state.
(g) (h) Anything in this section to the contrary notwithstanding, any establishment, as defined in section three, article eleven, chapter twenty-two, now or hereafter operating its own sewage disposal system pursuant to a permit issued by the Division of Environmental Protection, as prescribed by section eleven, article eleven, chapter twenty-two of this code, is exempt from the provisions of this section.



NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require that all houses, dwellings and businesses located in a district where public water service is made available for the first time after July 1, 2006 be connected to the public water service.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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