Fairview learns no one is

being billed for 43 percent

of water that has been used

 

By Emily Staley

Staff writer

Feb. 22, 2018

 

FAIRVIEW—Millions of gallons of water are flowing through the Fairview culinary water system that no one is paying for, the Fairview City Council learned last week.

At a council meeting Thursday, Feb. 15, the council learned that the amount of water being metered and billed is far below the amount being used in the system.

For instance, 88 million gallons were pulled into the Fairview water system from springs or pumped wells last year. But water meters in the city only measured about 50 million gallons.

That left 37.8 million gallons of “nonrevenue’ water. That means 43 percent of the water that is unaccounted for. A “good” deviation is around 10 percent or less, Justin Jackson, head of the Sewer and Water Department, told the council.

Potential causes include old water meters, underground leaks the city is not aware of, or overflow from water tanks during periods of low water consumption, Jackson said.

The purpose of reading the meters is not only for billing, he said. It’s also to know how much and where the water is being used.

Jackson said one possible strategy would be to hire divers to inspect the lower well tank. Special divers must be hired because it is a public water system. The tank could be one of the possible water meter problems, as it is over 50 years old.

The water usage varies throughout the year, he noted. The peak demand is around June 5, resulting in a usage of approximately 1 million gallons. The minimum water usage occurs in January, resulting in the use of 250,000 to 300,000 gallons.

In his report, Jackson said  inquiries have been made about culinary water and sewer for homes on Day’s Lane, north of the city.

Kristann Gillies, for example, hopes to develop five homes with an interactive farm, booths and a corn maze.

One more building permit for Day Lane would put the Gillies development over the threshold of the previous agreement with the city for a maximum of seven homes.

With about 500 buildable acres in the Day’s Lane area at 5 acres per home, a pumping station would be required to maintain the pressure for fire hydrants.

The council decided to take a month to think about the Gillies proposal and take it up at the next meeting, when Gillies will be in attendance.

The council must decide if it supports homes being built in the area, which ultimately could require building another water tank.

This would be a considerable investment, but if the city does not support the building permits, it could be a missed opportunity for city growth.

Also at the meeting, the Fairview Police Department proposed to change a code that currently gives 35 percent of the money from tickets to the state, so that the money would stay in the city.

For example, if an officer issued a $100 speeding ticket, instead of $35 going to the state, the money would pay for things to improve the city.

The council was in favor of the idea, and the department will put together a proposal to present to the council for approval.

The Sewer and Water Department expressed concern over people flushing items that should not be flushed. These items include latex gloves, bouncy balls and lotion bottles.

The department has ideas to spread awareness to kids in the area and plans to visit the elementary school in the near future.

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