The following letter is the response from Billy Mayes, Dothan Utilities Director, concerning the recent water bills GP families have received:
First, thanks for providing locations where customers have concerns about their consumption. Staff has visited those locations to confirm meter reads and verified there were no leaks indicated at the meter. Second, staff tested several complaint locations and all the meters tested within acceptable limits and that the water measured went through the water meter. Also note that a review of the 2016 Dothan Utilities water production data showed an increase in production in the September and October months when you typically see a decrease in production. Additionally, as can be seen on the attached production data sheet, the last nine days of August 2016 started the increase in production which we correlate to the lack of rainfall. The increase of 2 to 4 million gallons a day production is being used which we expect is for irrigation.
The October 2016 bill is actually based upon the field reading from 8/25/2016 to 9/27/2016 and the days in a reading cycle will vary. So there are several weeks between when we read the water meters and when you get the bill. Additionally, we had a small rate increase in the water of 2.85% and a sewer rate increase of 50 cents per 1000 gallon effective with the October 2016 bills (Current Sewer Rate is $5.83/1,000 gallons). On house water meters, sewer is billed based upon water metered with a cap of 15,000 gallons.
We also recommend to customers to check their water consumption as follows (Residential Water Usage Check):
1) Read water meter dial and compare to last bill usage. White meter dials are in per 1000 gallons (DU bills based upon per thousand gallons) and can be compared directly to bill. The water meter will not register water usage unless water is passing through it.
2) Read water meter every day to compare how much water is used daily. If the customer has an irrigation meter and operates a sprinkler system, keep up with the irrigation usage by comparing the irrigation events against normal water usage when not irrigating.
3) Observe triangle leak dial found on the face of the white dial while making sure all water is off in the house and on outside faucets. If the dial is not moving, there is no leak. If the leak dial is moving, then there may be a leak or water is being used at the residence. If a leak is suspected, customer may want to check irrigation system settings, toilets for running water after tank fills, leaking faucets, etc.
4) If you feel the water meter is not accurate, call 615-4100, select option three and request the meter to be tested. This will cost you $25 if the meter is tested and found to be accurate. If the meter fails the test, then DU will refund the fee, repair the meter, and adjust the meter readings accordingly.
In conclusion, we have the following to report: Meter readings were checked at the presented locations and the readings corresponded to the reading history. The 42 locations were checked and there were no indications of any leaks at the meter. A sampling of the meters were tested and all were within acceptable levels. Therefore with acceptable meter tests, field confirmation of the meter readings, reviews of consumption history, and review of several locations with owners; we did not find any issues with consumption history and the water measured went through the meters.
Billy R. Mayes, P.E.
Dothan Utilities Director