- Water and sewer capacity is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis as long as capacity is available. A property must be zoned and planned by Prince William County with a land use designation that permits public water and sanitary sewer. The Owner/Developer of properties in which service has not previously been established must submit to the Authority an approved subdivision and/or site plan as well as an approved address listing from Prince William County and/or other appropriate jurisdictions. The Prince William County Service Authority’s (the “Service Authority”) Engineering Department shall review the plans. Owner/ Developers of existing homes with no prior service should contact the Authority’s Engineering Department.
- It is the responsibility of the Owner/Developer to make all improvements, both on-site and off-site, to the water and sanitary sewer systems necessary to develop a property. This includes obtaining a Utility Permit from the Service Authority to construct such facilities. Engineering calculations are necessary to determine the improvements required to provide adequate domestic water, fire protection and sanitary sewer services in accordance with Prince William County standards, Service Authority standards, and other governing ordinances.
- The Service Authority requires issuance of a Certification of Water and/or Sewer Capacity (certification) for each lot in which no prior service has been established. The Owner/Developer must complete an Application for Connection. If the Application for Connection is approved, the property owner must make an appointment with the Engineering Department to verify and pay in full the appropriate water and/or sewer availability fees. Availability fees shall be paid prior to issuance of a certification. Proof of Authority certification is required prior to the issuance of a building permit.
- Once a certification is issued, an account for the property is established by the Engineering Department. Billing will not occur until the construction meter is installed.
- All public water users within the service area of the Service Authority shall be metered and charged according to the adopted rate schedule regardless of the nature of the business. The Service Authority will provide, at the currently-applicable meter fee, all water meters installed in its service area. “Jumpers” (unmetered temporary connections) are not permitted.
- The Owner/Developer shall be responsible for initiating a temporary construction meter account by contacting the Engineering Department to schedule a construction meter installation. The Owner/Developer shall be responsible for the payment of water and sewer bills associated with a temporary construction account. Monthly billing for actual consumption and service charges will begin upon the installation of the water meter. The Owner/Developer shall be responsible for any costs associated with damaged, lost, or stolen meters.
- Once initiated, temporary construction water service must continue until the property passes final Service Authority inspection, at which time it is considered a permanent meter installation/service.
- It is the responsibility of the Owner/Developer to schedule a meter installation with the Service Authority.
- The Service Authority will install 5/8”x 3/4” and 1” meters providing the meter assembly is acceptable. The meter assembly must be in accordance with the current Service Authority Utility Standards Manual. 1-1/2” and larger meters will be installed provided the appropriate meter installation fee has been paid to the Service Authority.
- If the meter assembly is unacceptable, a meter will not be installed and a return trip charge will be assessed. The Owner/Developer must pay the return trip charge and correct any deficiencies with the meter assembly prior to requesting another meter installation.
- It is the responsibility of the Owner/Developer to schedule the final inspection with the Service Authority.
- Prior to the issuance of an occupancy permit by Prince William County or other applicable jurisdictions, the Service Authority must perform a final inspection of the water meter assembly and sewer lateral to ensure that materials and installation are in accordance with the details listed in the current Service Authority Utility Standards Manual.
- If the meter assembly or sewer lateral is unacceptable, the Service Authority will leave an orange sticker on site listing the deficiencies. The Owner/Developer or contractor must correct all deficiencies noted and schedule a re-inspection. Inspection fees cover one trip. Re-inspection fees shall be assessed on re-inspections as determined by the Service Authority.
- Service Authority employees must have access to the meter at all times. Please be aware of this requirement when re-paving driveways and making landscaping/ grading decisions.
- Water meter installation and inspection requests can be made by fax to (703) 335-8933 or by phone to the Water Meter Service Line at (703) 335-8980. This is a 24-hour voicemail line. Please provide your name, company and phone number, as well as the subdivision, phase, section and lot number of the property where the inspection and meter is requested.
- The Service Authority conducts a limited number of installations and inspections each day. Requests will be honored on a first come, first served basis. To the extent possible, requests received prior to 2:00 p.m. will be scheduled for the next business day. Calls received after 2:00 p.m. will be scheduled for two business days after receipt of call. The Service Authority will make every effort to perform the installations and inspections as scheduled; however, extenuating circumstances, such as inclement weather, scheduled holidays or unusually heavy workloads may cause delays. The Service Authority strongly recommends that the Owner/ Developer plan ahead to avoid delays
- Re-inspections will be scheduled at least two business days after the date of a rejection. Rejections will result in additional fees for re-inspection as well as potential delays in future inspections.
Connection Rates and Fees
Plan Review Fees shall be paid for the review of development site and subdivision plans.
As-Built Fees shall be paid for the preparation of as-built drawings after the utility installation is complete. As-Built Fees are paid at the time a utility permit is issued.
- Inspection Fees shall be paid for the inspection of water and sewer mains and are paid at the time a utility permit is issued. Inspection fees include one closed-circuit TV inspection. Additional TV inspections are subject to additional fees.
- Inspections fees shall be paid for the inspection of the service connections (sewer lateral and water service lines), as well as the meter installation and final meter inspection, and are paid at the time a certification is issued. Inspection fees cover one trip. Re-inspection fees shall be assessed on any necessary re-inspections as determined by the Service Authority.
Water and Sewer Availability Fees are charged to cover the cost of water and wastewater treatment capacity as well as water and sewer infrastructure such as main line extensions, storage tanks and pumping stations required to serve new customers. These fees are non-transferable and non-refundable. Availability Fees are assessed during the certification process. Customers are required to have sufficient Equivalent Residential Unit’s to cover their maximum monthly water use. At any time, the Authority reserves the right to seek supplemental Availability fees when water demand exceeds the amount of capacity purchased, regardless of change in property ownership. Please contact the Engineering Department for additional information on use limits. All calculations shall be made with the rates in effect at the date of the bill. Please see the Authority’s website or contact the Engineering Department for additional information on use limits.
The costs associated with the line, tap and other facilities that must be constructed on public property or easements owned by the Authority from the water or sewer main up to and including the meter box, property line, or flush station are the responsibility of the Owner/Developer. When an existing water service or sanitary sewer lateral will be reused as part of a new development, the Service Authority shall inspect the existing service line or lateral to ensure that they are serviceable and meet current Service Authority material specifications. Any defects or out-of-date materials shall be repaired or replaced, at the owner’s expense, to the satisfaction of the Service Authority before the existing water service or sanitary sewer lateral is placed back in service. Please visit www.pwcsa.org or contact the Engineering Department at (703) 335-7930 for further information.
In some cases, properties are subject to additional fees established by the Service Authority’s Board of Directors called Local Facility Charges (LFC) and Regional Facility Charges (RFC). These fees are used to offset costs associated with water and/or sewer infrastructure related specifically to the service area wherein the property is located. If a property is subject to the LFC and/or RFC charges the fees must be paid in accordance with the terms stated in the resolution adopted by the Board of Directors. Financial responsibility is incurred at the time of certification.
Fees shall be paid in full and in accordance with the fee schedule in effect at the time of payment. The Service Authority will not recommend final bond release of a project until all charges and fees have been paid.
Establishing and Closing an Account
APPLYING FOR SERVICE
An application for water and sewer service through an existing connection can be initiated by visiting the Service Authority’s website, by telephone, or in person at the Service Authority’s headquarters in the Prince William County Complex. Please submit your application at least five (5) working days prior to the requested date for service initiation. Owner information is checked against Prince William County’s land record data base. If there is a discrepancy, a copy of the HUD 1 Settlement Statement may be required prior to initiating service. When applying for service, the application process will be expedited by having the following information readily available:
- The exact service address for which the application is being made;
- The full name of the person applying for service;
- The complete billing address;
- The applicant’s social security number or valid driver’s license number;
- The Federal Tax ID Number if the applicant is a business;
- The applicant’s home, mobile and work telephone numbers;
- The requested date for service initiation; and
- For customers renting or managing the property, the Code of Virginia (Sections 15.2-5139 and 15.2-2119) require that the owner’s name, mailing address and telephone number (or that of the owner’s agent) be provided at the time of application.
Property owners must authorize their tenant or agent/manager to establish service. A completed Owner Authorization Form must be submitted to the Service Authority by the owner within 10 calendar days from the date a tenant or agent/manager establishes an account with the Authority to ensure continuation of the tenant’s or managing agent’s service. The Authority will send the owner a confirmation letter once service is initiated.
Tenants must pay an Advance Payment (deposit) in accordance with the current fee schedule that will be included on the first bill. The Advance Payment will be held until the tenant’s account is closed and applied to the final bill. The Advance Payment can be waived by the owner if the tenant receives rental assistance from local, state or federal agencies.
The customer’s plumbing must be in working condition and all faucets/spigots closed in order to connect water service. In the event that the water meter continues clocking when turned on, indicating that all outlets are not closed, and no one is at the premises, the Service Authority will NOT connect the water service. A maximum of two (2) attempts will be made to connect water service. If the Service Authority cannot connect service after the second trip, a return trip fee will be assessed and must be paid before a subsequent trip will be authorized.
A nonrefundable Application Fee is charged in accordance with the current fee schedule that will be included on the first bill.
- Active and current accounts may be transferred from the current occupant to a new occupant through the Customer Service Department. A non-refundable application fee is charged.
- If service is transferred from one location to another within the Service Authority’s service area, any outstanding balances from the previous location will be transferred to the new location.
- Property certifications that have not yet connected to services may be transferred from one owner to another by request. This request should be made directly to the Engineering Department in the form of a letter requesting the change that is signed by both the new owner and the previous owner. There is no charge for this transfer. This transfer ensures a more timely and efficient inspections process.
Discontinued service is defined as a period of time in which there has been no consumption or payment activity on an account, typically due to a request to discontinue service from the account holder or service termination by the Service Authority due to non-payment.
Property Owners are subject to pay the monthly fixed service charges on a property for as long as water and sewer services are available to that property.
Service may be reinstated providing all of the following:
- The owner pays applicable supplemental Availability Fees.
- None of the conditions under Refusal of Service exist; and
The Service Authority shall not be liable to the customer for failure or interruption of continuous service. The Service Authority shall not be liable for any act or omission caused directly or indirectly by shutdowns for repairs or adjustments, breakdowns, accidents, labor issues, enemies of the United States, State, Federal, or other governmental interference, acts of God or other causes beyond the Service Authority’s control.
The Service Authority reserves the right to refuse requests for service for any of the following conditions:
- If the applicant has any outstanding or unpaid balances with the Service Authority.
- If the applicant has a lien outstanding on any property.
- If an account/property has been out of service for more than one (1) year, service cannot be initiated until additional Availability Fees, if applicable, have been paid.
Service will be denied until all outstanding balances or liens are paid in-full by the applicant or a third party.
The Service Authority reserves the right by unilateral act in its sole discretion to refuse service or to terminate service temporarily or to discontinue service in all instances when conditions exist that would constitute an emergency of public concern or when providing any service would constitute a threat to the safety, health, or welfare of consumers.
Accounts may be closed by telephoning Customer Service between the hours of 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday or requested by visiting the Service Authority’s website. It is recommended that customers call at least five (5) working days prior to the date service is to be terminated. At properties where remote meters are located, access to the meter is necessary for turning off water service.
- All customers have the option of opening a single service water account should sewer services be provided by another local service provider or if the customer continues use of an existing septic system.
- All customers have the option of opening a separate water-only account for water consumption which does not enter the sewer system, such as irrigation, pools, or water cooling tower purposes. Customers are responsible to install the necessary piping, plumbing, etc. The water-only account must be physically separated from all other water connections on the property and wells must be permanently disconnected. The customer shall pay the Service Authority a separate Availability Fee for the water-only account.
All customers with both water and sewer service have the option of using a water sub-meter for the purpose of eliminating sewer charges on water consumption that does not enter the sewer system. Consumption on the water sub-meter is subtracted from consumption on the main water meter to determine the total billable sewer consumption.
Customers may purchase a sub-meter at a cost of 10% of the water Availability Fees plus the applicable meter charge. Sub-meters must be purchased from the Service Authority. Customers are responsible to follow the Service Authority’s Sub-Meter Installation Policy.
- The Service Authority reserves the right to install metering devices on any private or publicly owned sewage collection system or facilities connected to sewer and/or water facilities owned by the Service Authority. The Service Authority may elect to compute the sewer charges based on actual metered sewage flows at the established user charge rates.
- For new sewer only accounts, the Service Authority will require installation of a water meter on the well, or water source, at an approved location for the purpose of computing the sewer charges. This applies to both residential and commercial accounts. The Owner/Developer will be required to pay for the meter and incur all expenses associated with the installation of the meter. As a part of this requirement, the Service Authority will provide the meter and inspect the installation. The Service Authority accepts full responsibility for only the water meter. Maintenance of the piping, well and hardware within the meter crock will be the responsibility of the Owner/Developer should a problem occur. The Service Authority reserves the right to access the property at any time to perform its duties regarding the monthly meter reading and routine maintenance of the meter. The Service Authority reserves the right to revert back to fixed flat rate billing if a meter problem occurs.
- For residential accounts with no water meter that are connected only to the sewer system, the basis for the monthly billing shall be 7,000 gallons per month per equivalent meter unit (EMU) which is the established average use of a single family residence.
- If a meter has not been set on the well within 90 days of certification, the Service Authority will commence billing the account at the currently-applicable flat rate until a meter has been set.
Hydrant and Development Meter Accounts
- Permit: Individuals other than Service Authority employees and the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue must have a valid hydrant meter permit to operate a fire hydrant. Permits are issued at the Service Authority’s discretion and shall be issued solely for temporary connections where a permanent source is not available.
- Hydrant Meter: The Service Authority has two sizes of meters available for rental. A deposit is required and may be used to defray the cost of damages to the hydrant meter, its attachments, and any other equipment or facilities damaged or lost by the permittee. The deposit will be refunded when the hydrant meter and meter wrench are returned and payment is made on all outstanding charges or damages.
- Billing: There is a minimum monthly charge for each hydrant meter, which includes up to 5,000 gallons usage per month. Additional hydrant water is charged at the current hydrant water rate per 1,000 gallons used. Please see the Authority’s website for current user rates. Meter readings must be emailed or faxed to the Customer Service Department by the last day of each month. Failure to report reads in a timely manner will result in penalties. Failure to report reads consecutively will result in deposit forfeiture and permit revocation.
- Operating Instructions: The Permit holder is responsible for utilizing the proper equipment and tools to operate the hydrant and meter safely and without damage.
- Inspections: All hydrant meters must be returned to the office as requested for inspections and testing.
- Program: Please see the Hydrant Meter Permit Policy for more detailed information on acceptable uses, connection points, operating instructions, penalties, and additional responsibilities. A copy of the Policy may be obtained at www.pwcsa.org or through the Customer Service Department. Violation of the terms and conditions of the permit may result in the forfeiture of the deposit or revocation of the permit without notice. The Service Authority reserves the right to not reissue a hydrant meter to any permit holder who has violated any of the terms or conditions of the permit.
Development meters may be allowed on a temporary basis and are subject to the same requirements as hydrant meters. Please contact the Engineering Department for consideration. The Service Authority reserves the right to accept or reject applications for a temporary water connection to serve construction sites where no permanent connection is readily available.
User Rates and Fees
During the period between the date of water and/or sewer certification and installation of a water meter to the property, an account will be established for that property and subject to the Service Authority’s policies. Upon installation of a water meter, the account will be billed monthly. Metered accounts are subject to fixed monthly service charges regardless of consumption. All new service accounts will be charged an application fee in accordance with the fee schedule that is in effect at the time the account is opened.
Water and sewer service charges are based on the size of the water meter serving the property. These fixed charges are billed monthly and are designed to recover administrative costs such as meter reading and customer service operations as well as general and administrative overhead. In the case of unmetered flat rate sewer, the service charge is assessed based on the meter size that would be needed to provide service to the property.
A water meter is set at each location to measure the amount of water consumption to a property. Both water and sewer services are billed based on the water meter readings. There is a charge per 1,000 gallons of metered water and sewer services used. Meter readings are taken monthly by Service Authority employees. If the Service Authority is unable to read the meter, your bill will be estimated. If available, estimates are based on consumption history from the same month of the previous year. Estimated consumption will typically be higher or lower than actual consumption. This means that when the next reading is taken, customers can expect a somewhat higher or lower bill, due to catching up to total consumption used from the last actual reading to the present reading (typically a 60-day period).
- Winter Average Consumption serves as the basis for calculating the Residential Peak Use Charge and Seasonal Sewer Adjustment. Winter Average Consumption is based on the average of actual metered consumption during the January-March billing periods of each year. In the event of an estimated bill during this time frame, December and/ or April consumption may be used to determine Winter Average Consumption.
- Residential customers with no previous consumption history at the given location are assigned a winter average consumption of 7,000 gallons per month. Residential customers moving into the area who had metered water consumption with other water utilities during the same calendar year may have their actual average transferred upon presentation of their consumption data from their previous utility.
Increased water demands during the summer months may be a result of irrigation. As this water does not typically enter the sanitary sewer system and as sewer consumption is based on water consumption, the Service Authority caps residential sewer consumption from May 1st through October 31st. During this period, monthly sewer consumption charges are assessed on the lower of actual metered consumption or winter average consumption plus 2,000 gallons. For all new residential customers that have not established a winter average consumption, sewer volume charges will be capped at the lesser of actual consumption or 9,000 gallons.
Based on dry weather conditions, the General Manager may extend the period during which Peak Use Charges and the Seasonal Sewer Adjustment are applied.
Peak Use Charges are set to recover the costs of constructing facilities required to meet peak capacity demands and promote wise water use. Only those customers whose water usage patterns reach peak capacity demands on the water system are subject to the Peak Use Charge. Peak Use Charges are billed at a rate per 1,000 gallons and are added to the metered water usage charge.
Residential accounts are subject to Peak Use I and II Charges. Peak Use I Charges apply to monthly water consumption exceeding the greater of 1) 7,000 gallons; 2) 2,000 gallons above the preceding Winter Average Consumption; or 3) 1.3 times the preceding Winter Average Consumption. Peak Use II Charges apply to monthly water consumption exceeding the greater of 1) 3.0 times the preceding Winter Average Consumption or 2) 21,000 gallons. Residential Peak Use Charges are in effect from May 1st through October 31st. Based on dry weather conditions, the General Manager may extend the period during which Peak Use Charges and the Seasonal Sewer Adjustment are applied.
Multi-family accounts are subject to Peak Use Charges year round based on the equivalent residential units purchased. Multi-family accounts with sub-meters are subject to both Peak I and Peak II Charges. Multi-family accounts without a sub-meter are only subject to Peak II Charges.
High Demand Charges are set to recover the cost of meeting peak capacity demands promote wise water use. High Demand Charges are billed at a rate per 1,000 gallons, are added to the metered water volume charge, and are in effect throughout the year. Commercial customers with water-only or sub-metered service are subject to both the High Demand I and High Demand II Charges. Commercial customers with both water and sewer service are only subject to the High Demand II Charge.
Refuse service is provided to all residential customers in the Yorkshire Service Area. The monthly service fee is based on the contract cost per residential unit. One trash tote and a recycling bin are provided free of charge to each residence upon request. The refuse receptacles are to remain at the property when vacated for the next customer’s use. In the event a receptacle is lost, stolen or damaged, the customer should contact the refuse contractor to request and be billed directly for any replacement receptacle(s). For any billing questions regarding refuse service, please contact the Customer Service Department.
- Late payment charges of ten percent are assessed if payment is not received by the due date.
- A Delinquency Fee shall be assessed on all past due accounts which have been identified for further delinquency action, to include, but not limited to, mail notification, door tag notification, telephone call, or disconnection of service.
- An After-Hours Fee shall be charged to restore service after 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and after 4:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Costs of service restoration during normal business hours are covered under the Delinquency Fee.
The act of diverting or wasting public water, tampering with a metering device, damaging or intentionally destroying water facilities is illegal (Virginia Code Section 18.2-162,163). Any person opening a fire hydrant without a metering device, excluding Service Authority and firefighting personnel, as well as any person who tampers with the meter assigned to the property or who installs any type of device other than the assigned meter will be subject to the applicable unauthorized use charge. In some cases, additional criminal and civil penalties may apply.
If a customer questions the accuracy of their meter, they may request a meter test by contacting the Customer Service Department. If the meter is found to be registering accurately, customers will be charged a test fee. For meters larger than 3/4”, the testing charge will be the actual cost of testing the meter plus 15 percent. According to the American Water Works Association, a meter is considered to be accurate if it measures between 98.5% - 101.5% at three different flow rates. If a water meter is found to be over registering, the meter will be replaced and the customer’s account adjusted. If the water meter is under registering, a replacement meter will be installed and the customer’s account will not be adjusted. Customers requesting meter tests are encouraged to be present when the meter is tested.
Rates, fees, and policies are subject to change. Fees shall be charged in accordance with the fee schedule in effect at the time of service.
Billing Procedures and Payment Policies
- Bills for service are rendered monthly. Service charges are billed to an account from the time the meter is set.
- Monthly bills are based upon past usage, therefore bills are due when rendered. Bills are considered past due 25 days from the date of the bill. See Delinquent Accounts and Collections.11
- Payments are credited to the customer’s account when they are received by the Service Authority, whether mailed or transmitted electronically. The Service Authority is not responsible for delays in transit due to the Postal Service or any other third-party bill payment service. Payments are applied to the oldest balances first.
- Any payment for charges or fees that is returned to the Service Authority will be subject to a returned payment fee. The amount of the returned item must be paid by certified check, cash, money order, Master Card, Visa, or Discover only. If three (3) returned payments occur in a twelve month period, the customer’s privilege of that specific payment type shall be revoked for a period of one year from the date of the most recent returned payment. In the event of nonpayment of the returned item, service will be interrupted and applicable fees will be assessed.
By Mail to:
P. O. Box 71062
Charlotte, North Carolina 28272-1062
Overnight delivery to:
Attn: Customer Service Department
4 County Complex Court
Woodbridge, VA 22192
4 County Complex Court
Raymond Spittle Building
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Drop box locations:
Main entrance of the Service Authority’s Headquarters Building
4 County Complex Court (to the left of the front doors)
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Wellington Road Operations Center (western part of the County)
8411 Virginia Meadows Drive
Manassas, VA 20109
Neabsco Operations Center (eastern part of the County)
15801 Neabsco Road
Woodbridge, VA 22191
Please see the Authority’s web site for details on available payment options.
Delinquent Accounts and Collection Policies
- Accounts with past due balances greater than $50.00 are subject to service disconnection within 25 days from the due date. The full past due amount must be paid before service restoration occurs. Payment should also include any Delinquency or After-Hour fees that apply. Guaranteed funds or other required payment types may be required depending on payment history.
- Hydrant account delinquency will be subject to permit revocation and account closure.
- Payment: Payments can be made online at www.pwcsa.org and through the Authority’s automated phone system 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Customers may also mail payments or make payments at several locations. Please see Payment Policies within this Handbook for locations or visit the Authority’s website for full details on all payment options. It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure payment has been received by the Authority.
- Service Restoration: Requests for service restoration will be accepted:
- Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- Saturday, Sunday and holidays 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Requests made after the designated times above will be performed the following calendar day. The cost of service restoration Monday through Friday is covered under the $35 Delinquency Fee. Requests performed on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays are subject to an additional $90 After-Hours Fee.
Payments processed on-line or through the automated phone system for the full past-due amount will automatically initiate a work order to restore service. If you want to avoid the $90 After-Hours Fee for restoration on a weekend or holiday, please defer making your payment until the next business day.
Customers who make payment to initiate service restoration by mail or drop box must contact the Authority for prompt attention.
For assistance, customers can contact:
- Customer Service Department at (703) 335-7950: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., or the
- Emergency Dispatch Office at (703) 335-7990: weekends, holidays, or after normal business hours.
In order to prevent potential flooding when service is restored, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that all faucets are in the off position and other fixtures are in proper working condition.
- Payment Plans: During extraordinary circumstance and at the customer’s request, a payment plan may be arranged through the Customer Service Department, during normal business hours (8:00am-5:00pm), Monday through Friday. Pay arrangements are at the discretion of the Authority based on existing policies and the customer’s account history and typically do not exceed a six-month period.
If an account remains unpaid for more than five (5) business days after service disconnection, the account is closed and the meter is locked. At this time, the entire account balance becomes due and must be paid in full prior to service reinstatement.
- Once an account is closed, a final bill is issued. A property is subject to lien once the due date of the final bill has passed. Sections 15.2-5139 and 21-118.4 of the 1950 Code of Virginia, as amended, dictate the Service Authority’s collection procedures relative to unpaid closed accounts. These code sections state in part:
“There shall be a lien upon real estate for the amount of any fees, rents, or other charges by an authority to the owner or lessee or tenant of such real estate for the use and services of any system of the authority by or in connection with such real estate from and after the time when such fees, rents, or charges are due and payable, and for the interest which may accrue thereon.”
- In the event a lien is filed due to a tenant-incurred bill, the tenant’s name is included on the lien. All liens are filed in the Prince William County Circuit Court, which is a court of record. These records are open to the public for inspection, and the placement of any lien may be reviewed and recorded by area credit reporting agencies.
Courtesy Adjustments for Leaks and Pools
As a courtesy, the Authority offers a billing adjustment for unusually high water consumption due to leaks that have been repaired in a timely manner once identified. Requests for adjustment must be made to the Customer Service Department within 90 days of the repair. Customers are required to complete a Request for Courtesy Billing Adjustment Form which includes a description of the leak, proof of repair, and other required information. Customers should receive a response to their request within two weeks.
Requests related to leaks found in the home are limited to once in a five year period per customer per location. Requests related to external leaks, such as a leak in the service line to a home or irrigation system, are limited to one per location for as long as ownership of the location has not changed. The billing period eligible for adjustment is limited to no more than three months. Adjustments related to internal leaks are typically calculated by crediting 50% of the water and sewer consumption charges in excess of your normal use. Adjustments related to external leaks are typically calculated by crediting 50% of the water consumption charges in excess of your normal use plus 100% of the sewer consumption charges in excess of your normal use.
The Authority offers a courtesy billing adjustment once a year on sewer consumption charges associated with filling a pool greater than 1,000 gallons. As water used to fill a pool typically does not enter the sewer system, adjustments are calculated by crediting 100% of the sewer consumption charges related to filling the pool. Pools filled during peak season (May 1st through October 31st) are not eligible for a pool adjustment as the Service Authority already limits sewer charges during peak season based upon winter average consumption. Customers are required to complete a Request for Courtesy Billing Adjustment Form and have documentation of their pool capacity on file with the Service Authority. Requests must be made to the Customer Service Department within 90 days of the pool fill. Customers should receive a response to their request within two weeks.
The customer shall allow Service Authority employees access to his or her property during all reasonable hours for the purpose of reading meters or any other purpose related to the supply of water and sewer services. In the event of an emergency, access shall be granted at any time.
Customers are responsible for ensuring access to meters at all times. The Service Authority reserves the right to discontinue service if access to the meter is restricted. The Service Authority also reserves the right to bill the customer for any costs associated with gaining access to the meter, such as towing of vehicles or removal of landscaping.
Sanitary Sewer Responsibility
The Service Authority is responsible for the operation and maintenance of all gravity sanitary sewer mains, force mains or low-pressure force mains located within a public street (VDOT right-of-way) or sanitary sewer easement dedicated to the Service Authority, provided the pipeline has been accepted by the Service Authority. When customers are affected, the Service Authority may assist in the operation and maintenance of sanitary sewers, force mains or low-pressure force mains that have not received final acceptance. However, when such pipeline systems are still incomplete – and, therefore, have not received final acceptance from the Service Authority – assistance is considered to be a courtesy to our customers. The Owner/Developer retains operating and maintenance responsibility as well as liability for sewer backups within areas served by sewers or force mains that have not yet been accepted by the Service Authority.
Sewer stoppages in gravity sanitary sewer mains, generally eight (8) inches or larger, will be cleared by the Service Authority regardless of cause. Sewer stoppages that occur in force mains or low-pressure force mains located within a public street (VDOT right-of-way) or sanitary sewer easement dedicated to the Service Authority will also be cleared by the Service Authority.
It is the customer’s responsibility to clear any blockage, whether in a building lateral or sewer service line (the portion of a building lateral in a VDOT right-of-way). The Service Authority assumes no responsibility for what is put in the sewer service line or the building lateral. If the Service Authority determines that the cause of the blockage is a structural defect in the sewer service line, such as broken pipe, offset joint, roots, or other similar structural or material defects, the Service Authority will repair the sewer service line located within a public street (VDOT right-of-way). Grease is not considered a structural or material defect.
The Service Authority has no responsibility for maintenance, repair, or replacement of building laterals outside a public street (VDOT right-of-way). Building laterals located within a dedicated sanitary sewer easement are not sewer service lines and will not be maintained, repaired, or replaced by the Service Authority. If the building lateral needing repair or replacement is located in a townhouse or condominium common area, customers should contact their homeowner’s association to see if the association has the ability to assist in replacement costs for building sewers outside the customer’s property. If a customer experiences a sewage backup, the Service Authority should be contacted by calling (703) 335-7982 or (703) 335-7990. A representative will be dispatched to determine if the blockage is in the main. If the Service Authority determines that the main is clear, the customer will be notified that the blockage is his/her responsibility and the services of a plumber or contractor should be obtained. The Service Authority shall not reimburse the customer for the cost of a plumbPcontractor.
If a sewer cleanout is available near the customer’s property line contiguous to a public street (VDOT right-of-way), Service Authority personnel may clear the blockage in the sewer service line as a courtesy service and with the customer’s approval in order to determine if repairs are required. The offer of courtesy service does not imply that the Service Authority is responsible in any way for the customer’s sewage backup. If no structural or material defects are found, removal of future blockages will be the responsibility of the customer.
If a Service Authority representative determines the sanitary sewer main has a blockage or a surge in flow that caused a backup into a business or residence, the Service Authority may offer to have a cleaning service clean and disinfect the affected areas at the Service Authority’s expense. This service is offered to reduce the impact of the backup on the affected business or residence. The Service Authority will not accept any liability for damage due to the sewage backup. If the customer believes the Service Authority was liable, the customer should call (703) 335-7916 to speak to the Service Authority’s Safety Loss Control Program Manager, and an investigation will be conducted. If the matter cannot be resolved, the Safety Loss Control Program Manager will file an insurance claim with the Service Authority’s insurance company.
The Service Authority will replace missing or broken cleanout caps on service lines or building laterals if they are discovered to be missing, or will adjust cleanout to grade if such adjustment eliminates damage to the sewer line or prevents inflow of storm water into the wastewater collection system.
The Service Authority maintains certain grinder pumps that were installed within approved projects; some projects funded by federal funding and other projects sponsored by the Service Authority. These pumps, manufactured by Environment One (E-1), are the only grinder pumps maintained by the Service Authority. The list of pumps maintained by the Service Authority is kept in the Operations and Maintenance Emergency Dispatch Office. Other pumps located throughout the County that were not installed as part of an approved project are not the responsibility of the Service Authority. Most grinder pumps installed and maintained by the Service Authority will be assessed a monthly maintenance fee. Please visit the Service Authority’s website or contact the Engineering Department at (703) 335-7930 for further information or a copy of the Grinder Pump Policy.
The Service Authority has financed the installation of sump pumps at various locations throughout the County to eliminate unwanted storm water migrating into the wastewater collection system. The equipment installed is warranted for a period of one (1) year following installation by the pump manufacturer and/or the contractor providing the installation. The homeowner has the responsibility and obligation to provide for repairs or replacement of the pump should malfunctions occur. The Service Authority will provide assistance to the homeowner to help with investigating the problem. If it is found that a sump pump replacement is necessary, the Service Authority will replace the pump at the owner’s request and bill the homeowner for the cost of the pump. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep the sump pit screen clear and free of debris that would prohibit water from draining into the sump pump pit. If assistance is needed, please call (703) 335-7982 between 7:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday. After-hours response can be obtained by calling (703) 335-7990 only in the event of an emergency.
The Service Authority maintains all water mains and water service lines from the water main up to and through, but not past, the water meter box. The Service Authority is responsible for all water meters, angle valves, meter setters or other appurtenances located in the meter box.
The Service Authority will also repair or replace that portion of a water service line located in the public street (VDOT right-of-way) between the meter and the customer’s property line if the request is made before the service line is repaired or replaced and Service Authority personnel determine the leak is within the public street right-of-way. The Service Authority will not reimburse a customer for the cost of replacement of the service line within the right-of-way if the line was replaced by the customer or the customer’s plumber prior to calling the Service Authority. The Service Authority will not replace any appurtenances on a water service line, such as a pressure-reducing valve, located within the public street right-of-way and beyond the water meter box. These appurtenances should be relocated inside the customer’s residence or business and not underground.
The Service Authority has no responsibility for the water service line on the customer’s side of a meter box located out of a public street (VDOT right-of-way) whether in a townhouse or condominium parking lot or common area, in an easement dedicated to the Service Authority or on private property. If the water meter box is located between the curb and sidewalk of a public street, the Service Authority will be responsible for that portion of the service line under the sidewalk, assuming the conditions described above are met. If the meter box is located in back of the sidewalk near the customer’s property line, the Service Authority is only responsible for the facilities within the meter box and nothing outside the meter box.
The customer is responsible for the cost of all metered water lost as a result of an underground leak, but may be eligible for a bill adjustment if conditions described elsewhere in the Customer Handbook are met. Customers having to replace their water service line on property owned by a townhouse or condominium association should contact their homeowners’ association to see if the association has the ability to assist in the replacement costs for water service lines off the customer’s property.