The purpose of this policy is to establish a method of uniform analysis and determination of an alternate sewer service charge for commercial businesses. Since irrigation water does not enter the sewer system an alternate sewer usage determination may be requested by commercial customers experiencing large seasonal fluctuations caused by irrigating landscaping. This method may only be used where it is either physically or financially infeasible to install an irrigation meter.
The policy applies to commercial customers experiencing seasonal usage fluctuations related to landscape irrigation and willing to pay the ongoing administrative fee to have their sewer service charge determined by water audit and winter water use. MMC 15.12.070 & 15.12.075.
Commercial sewer rates based on water meter consumption already consider that 10% of the water is used for landscape irrigation and does not otherwise enter into the sewer system. This special sewer rate determination may only be used when more than 10% of water consumption is used for landscape irrigation and it is not feasible to use a separate water meter to measure the irrigation usage. In order for a commercial business to qualify for the special sewer rate determination, they must first contact the Water Conservation Specialist for a water audit. The commercial customer must be in compliance with MMC 15.42 – Water Shortage Regulations to qualify for an alternate rate based on winter water usage. They must also have at least 12 months of water usage history for analysis.
The initial water audit will cost $50 per hour for staff time with a $150 minimum deposit and should be conducted by June 1st for implementation by July 1st. If the commercial customer qualifies for an alternate rate based on winter water use, they will be notified of their rate for the next 12 months. If they do not qualify they will only be billed for the initial water audit and will be given water conservation information.
Commercial customers can choose to be audited the following year for another opportunity at an alternate sewer rate or they can purchase a separate water meter to register only landscape water or they can continue with standard sewer rates based upon water used and type of premises. Any additional landscape meter will be at the customer’s expense and the water measured by it will not be subject to sewer rates.
In subsequent years, participants will be charged $50 to perform the annual audit to potentially update their alternate commercial sewer service charges for the next 12 months. Those charges will be determined each year by June 1 for implementation beginning in July. Customers will be informed of their new charge based on the previous winter months (December-March). That new sewer service charge will be in affect beginning July 1st, continuing for 12 months.
Agreements for alternate sewer service charges are made with the account holder; once their account closes for any reason (i.e. turn off for non-payment or change of use or change of account holder) the alternate commercial sewer service charge ends.