The Water Department
of the Public Works
Shut Off Policy Reminder
Clerk-Treasurer Judith Walters reminds residents that door tag notices are no longer being used when accounts with the town's Water Utility Department fall into delinquent status.
Since Jan. 1, 2000 water service has been automatically terminated when the due date on any mailed past due notice has expired. Water service will not be reinstated until the delinquent amount and the $50 turn-on fee have been paid in full. The turn-on fee for shut-off for non-payment was increased by the Town Council on Oct. 25, 1999.
"Payment arrangements can usually be worked out with the Billing Office," Walters said, "but unless we are notified of a problem, we have no way of knowing an effort is being made to pay the bill and service will be curtailed."
Water Quality, Quantity Improvements Under Way...
Town officials are continuing their efforts to improve the quality of the water we send our customers from the Water Treatment Plant. Our eighth well is expected to go on line this spring. Alternative water sources are currently being investigated which would help supplement our well field. Our Treatment Plant is also participating in the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Program. This program consists of sampling all four quarters this year and testing for contaminants in the water that are not regulated. This will help the EPA determine if additional regulations need to be written to ensure a safe drinking water supply well into the future.
Water Leaks can be Costly
Do you know that a small leak in your household plumbing is costing you money? A continuous leak at ¼ gallon per minute will add up to 360 gallons per day, and 10,800 gallons per month. The most common problem found in household plumbing is leaking toilets. These leaks occur in most cases without any notice, and can waste thousands of gallons of water. A malfunctioning toilet at times is not noticeable because the water is simply going down the drain and never seen. Here are some suggestions that could help you in finding a problem.
- If you see water continuously entering the toilet bowl, this indicates that the ball flapper is not closing properly. To test the ball flapper carefully remove the lid from the toilet tank and mark the water level in each of your toilets with a pencil. Then shut off the water supply to the toilet(s). If the water level remains on the mark for ten minutes, the ball flapper is not leaking. If the water drops below the mark you made, the ball flapper is leaking and should be repaired or replaced. Another easy test is to pour some food coloring in the toilet tank and walk away. Return one hour later and check the toilet bowl. If you discover food coloring in the bowl, the ball flapper is leaking and should be repaired or replaced.
- If you hear your toilet tank filling between flushes, this can also be a problem with the ball flapper or the float valve is out of adjustment and allowing the water to enter the overflow pipe. The water level in the toilet tank should be about 1 inch below the top of the overflow pipe. If the water level in the toilet tank is at the top of the overflow tube, that is where a leak may be occurring, and the float that controls the water level in the tank should be adjusted so the water level is 1 inch below the top of the overflow pipe.
- If you can hear a continuous flow of water in your bathroom, (this is sometimes easier to do at night when everything is quiet) might indicate a faulty float valve. In some cases the float valve itself will not close properly and allows the water to enter the overflow pipe and down the drain. If you find a problem in your household plumbing quick repairs could save you additional costs in water. Most repairs can be done by an experienced do-it-/Ha. If you are not sure you can handle the job call a plumber. Water leaks are costly!
Water Shut Off Valves
Do you know where your water shut off valve is? All homes serviced by Lowell Water Utility are required to have a main shut off valve where the water service line enters the home; this could be in a crawl space, basement, or utility room. Shut off valves are necessary in case a leak develops in the household plumbing. We suggest that all water utility customers be aware of their shut off valve location and condition. In case of an emergency quick action could prevent additional property damage. An annual check of your shut off valve will also assure you that it will work if it is needed. Simply close the main shut off valve and then check a faucet to see if the water is shut off. In most cases the valves work properly but there is a few that will not close completely or at all. If your shut off valve will not completely close exercising it open to close with a faucet open to close with a faucet open could clean out the set of the shut off valve. If this doesn't work replacement is recommended. Most emergencies don't just happen Monday through Friday between 8 and 4. If you need service from your water department, please call the Town Hall at 696-7794 and enter ext.14 for the Utilities Department. The Town Hall hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you have an emergency after hours or on the weekends, please call the Lowell Police Department at 696-0411.