01. In a nutshell, what is this bylaw about?
This is a bylaw for governance of the City’s water services. The focus of the bylaw is the Water Distribution System and governs the following:
> Installation and maintenance of water services
> Use of fire hydrants
-Installation and maintenance of meters including:
> Use of the Bulk Water Station
> Private water systems (eg. wells)
> Unauthorized Use
> Access to property
> Inspection
> Obstruction
> Protection of the distribution system
The bylaw will enact numerous administrative functions to provide better guidance and customer service.
02. Why is this bylaw needed?
This bylaw is needed to clarify the responsibilities of the City and water customers; to protect the City water supply to ensure safe drinking water to all customers in the City of Brantford; to ensure the system conforms to relevant City of Brantford specifications; and to prevent water loss and risk of contamination and water quality issues resulting from unauthorized use or leaks in the system.
03. How will this bylaw affect me?
Passing of this bylaw is expected to be mainly “business as usual” for current customers. In most cases they would not be aware of any changes in their service until such time as a new service is needed. New changes proposed are as follows:
- For new water service customers or when service changes are needed by current customers, completion of a NEW “Water Service Permit” Application will be required. Approval criteria remains the same. You must complete and submit a permit application where formerly, you were able to apply for service verbally. Industrial, commercial or residential customers must submit a permit application when any of the following services are required:
> NEW water service pipe installation
> RENEWAL of water service pipes
> REPLACEMENT of water services pipes
> REPAIR of water service pipes
> TEMPORARY water service pipe installation
> DEMOLITION of water service pipe
> SEASONAL water suppy
- Separate Application Process for the following service requests:
- If you have an existing alternate water supply such as a well, you will be required to report it’s existence to allow for inspection and monitoring
- If you have a private water supply cross-connected to your municipal water supply you will be required to fully disconnect the systems and maintain separation.
- If you are on well water where City water has been made available to your property, you must now connect to City supply.
04. How will this program be administered?
It will be administered by the General Manager of the Public Work’s Commission.
05. What is the effective start date of this bylaw?
January 1st, 2017 is currently proposed as the effective start date.
06. Who will be affected by this bylaw?
This bylaw will apply to all water customers, including builders, developers, landscapers and contractors who are involved with water services from a construction perspective.
07. Is there a cost for the new Water Service Permit?
No. There is currently no fee associated with the new proposed permit application itself however there are fees associated with numerous service requests as per Schedule 2 of the Fees and Charges bylaw for Water.
08. When is a builder required to apply for a new service?
Anytime water is required at the property that is not trucked in, a Water Service Permit Application must be submitted.
09. Can a property with more than one building be serviced by separate water service pipes?
No. With the exception of multiple dwellings that front onto the streetline of the property, all properties are to be serviced by one water pipe, unless otherwise approved by the General Manager.
10. How do water service connection procedures differ between, Residential, Commercial, Institutional and Industrial customers?
Water Service Connection Procedures to be followed will be the same as they were prior to the bylaw being passed (business as usual) as follows:
> For all RESIDENTIAL customers sized 25mm (1”) and under, the customer is required to simply submit the application form to Customer Services to review for any applicable service charges, eg. frontage charges, pre-servicing charges, and connection fees. All applicable charges will be applied to the customer’s initial water bill and an inspection fee will be charged for each visit required to complete the inspection process.
> For any industrial, commercial or institutional customers with services sized = 50 mm (2”), engineering site servicing drawings and proposed domestic water demands must also be submitted for review by Engineering to determine meter size.
> For INDUSTRIAL and COMMERCIAL customers with services sized larger than 50 mm (2”), the customer must first contact the City’s Customer Services Department. The permit application will then be referred directly to the City’s Engineering Department for review. The applicant is then required to supply the City’s Engineering Department with engineering site servicing drawings, design flows for both domestic and fire water demands and metering requirements. Costs will be determined in accordance with the City’s schedule of Fees & Service Charges and the actual cost will be determined and charged for review and inspections upon issuance of a permit.
11. Why is a Water Service Permit Application form required to be completed when I didn’t need one previously?
An application form is needed to provide more accountability for both parties by giving the City a written record of the customer’s request with signed authorization from the customer to receive the requested service. The City can then confirm if the service requested can be provided and ensure bylaw requirements are met. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to provide clear instructions on what procedure needs to be followed for new water service connections depending on the size of water service pipe and type of connection requested. The application will result in the issuance of a Permit that is required before proceeding.
12. Is the new Water Service Permit Application necessary for completion by homeowners for Lead Water Service replacements?
Yes. The application can be completed by the homeowner or their designate – such as the contractor completing the replacement work.
13. Is it necessary for a customer to submit a Water Service Permit Application if moving to a house with an existing water service?
No. It is not necessary to complete a Water Service Permit Application for a simple water account transfer for an existing water service, an account set-up fee will be applied to your first water bill.
14. Can a new water account be opened over the phone for an existing home with water service?
It depends. If the account is for your place of residence it can be opened over the phone. If you are a tenant, a water account application will need to be submitted and co-signed by the landlord.
15. If we have a fire booster pump system in our facility, do we need to inform the City before testing?
Yes. The City needs to be notified of pump capacity and duration of test with 48 hours advance notice prior to testing in order to know the demand on our distribution system and be able to anticipate any pressure losses in the system.
16. Will customers be impacted financially by the introduction of this new bylaw?
Not likely. There are only a couple of fees being introduced in this bylaw for cost recovery of services seldom requested, (hydrant relocation and flow test). For now, any water fees and services charges for water will continue to be governed by the Fees and Charges Bylaw.
17. If I believe that my water meter is not accurately registering, what recourse do I have?
If you suspect that you are overpaying due to meter inaccuracy, it is strongly recommended that you first conduct a thorough investigation of all possible water connections and possible leaks by turning everything off at night, noting the consumption on your water dial and checking it again in the morning. If the dial has moved then you have a leak.
As a last resort you may request to have your water meter tested for accuracy however if the test results show the meter to be within the accepted range for accuracy in accordance with the manufacturer, you will be invoiced over $300 for the cost to have the meter removed, shipped, tested and replaced with a new meter. It is important to note that over the past 20 years, only one residential meter tested has ever been found to have over-registered for water consumption.
Meter accuracy is guaranteed by the manufacturer for 15 years. Issues with accuracy when they do arise come almost exclusively from under-registering the amount of water passing through the meter. The cause of increased bills is almost always due to overuse of water or leaks that the resident is unaware of.
18. Under what instances is water shut-off initiated by the City?
Water shut off may be initiated by the City under the following circumstances:
> when charges, fees or rates imposed by the Fees & Charges Bylaw are overdue;
> if a fine imposed under this bylaw remains unpaid after the time given has expired;
> if access to the City for the purposes of reading, servicing or replacing the meter is obstructed or denied;
> if the owner fails to comply with an order of the Genenal Manager;
> if a leak is found that is likely to create an emergency situation or result in a substantial loss of water;
> if it has been determined by the General Manager that there is an immediate threat of contamination to the water distribution system that may endanger health or public safety; and
> for any other situation where the City lawfully decides to cease supplying water.
19. Does the new bylaw in any way apply to persons using well water on their property?
Yes. Persons with well water supplies are affected in the following ways:
> All properties with wells existing within the City limits where a municipal water service has been made available to service the property, will be required to connect to the City’s municipal water supply with complete separation of the well water supply from the City’s municipal water supply system to protect the drinking water supply that serves the City.
> Any person operating a private water system must notify the City of the existence of such system for monitoring and inspection purposes.
20. Is this bylaw retro-active?
No. Existing water services are grandfathered with the exception of connections to auxillary water supplies such as wells.
21. Where can I find out more about the bylaw?
Information can be found on our website as well as at an upcoming Pubic Information Center being held on November 2, 2016 from 5-8 PM at City Hall in the main foyer.