Decoding Hillsboro's New Water Connection Ordinance

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Ordinance Number 1700, dealing with water connection requirements in Hillsboro, was passed 3-0 at the city council meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 26; it contained 11 sections. The most important are paraphrased in this article.

Section I says the city as represented by its water superintendant can control the "kind, make and size" of materials used for water service lines and the installation of a city-supplied 3/4" water meter.

Section II states that Heavy Wall Roll Poly Flex Plastic (PVC) can be used only when rated at 250 PSI or more.

Section III dictates that any non-metallic water service line be installed in conjunction with a copper tracer wire.

Section IV deals with inside diameter of service lines; they must be no less than 3/4" inside diameter.

Section V defines a water customer service line as the pipe which extends from the curb stop to the home or business which it serves.

Section VI requires water customers to use a meter meeting the specifications compatible with the city's current automated meter reading procedure.

Section VII says modifications after Jan. 1, 2020, will use a city-supplied curb stop/shut off valve.

Section VIII speaks to owner/applicant responsibilities. The applicant will be responsible (pay) for all work on the property in accordance with applicable plumbing standards at the time of installation.

Section IX states that all connections to the city water supply must be made by an insured, licensed plumber.

Section III is necessary because PVC can't be located by a metal detector once it's buried, and often those who did those installations aren't available or don't remember exact locations if the line has to be uncovered.

Sections V and VIII taken together speak to more recent problems. Before council action last Tuesday, the ordinance said only the water main was the city's responsibility, which meant the connection to the main and the pipe to the curb stop/water shutoff and the service lines from the shutoff valve into the house were both the financial responsibility of the home/business owner.

That seemed not uniform for the clients; in some places, the main is on the opposite side of the street from the business. It's expensive to tear up a street to repair/replace the service line. Too, new state regulations say any lead pipe (galvanized might soon join lead on the forbidden list) must be replaced once it is exposed even if it isn't leaking.

The old ordinance hadn't been uniformly enforced for a variety of reasons. Consequently, plumbers weren't sure of who to charge for repairs. In emergencies, city workers would do the repairs, and then payments wouldn't always be forthcoming.

The new ordinance implies the client is no longer responsible for lines running to the shut off valves from the main. It also states that each home or business must have its own shut off valve and meter. Currently some businesses, especially on South Main, have a shared shut off; if work is done to the plumbing in one business, the water has to be shut off to two or three others. Those situations will be changed as they come to the attention of the Water Department or to the Public Utilities Commissioner.

The council's last scheduled meeting of the year is set for Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. in city hall chambers. Public attendance is welcome.

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