Get Utilities Service
Do you live in the City Limits?
The CCU is a municipally owned and operated utility. It has certain procedures for citizens of the City to gain services and different procedures for those who live outside the corporate limits. If you live outside of the City of Columbus, you should first go to the Bartholomew County planning office and make an application for service with them. We have a brochure titled "Water and Sewer Service for Rural Residents" that explains the procedures that must be followed to obtain service.
Are there facilities available?
If you reside within the City limits, there are probably water and sewer facilities available to your property, but sometimes there are exceptions. Recent annexations or old property subdivisions sometimes create "pockets" where extensions are required. The CCU will work with you in extending facilities to your site if this is the case, but extensions can take time. So, if you suspect that facilities are not available, it would be to your benefit to make an early contact with the CCU Engineering department.
How much will it cost?
After it has been determined that facilities are available to your property, the next question to answer is whether or not assessments are due on the property.
Assessments are fees charged by the Utilities to assist in the payment for the pipes adjacent to your property. The rates are set by local ordinance and cannot be modified by staff. The assessment rates are multiplied by the property dimension that abuts, or lies next to, the water or sewer line. Staff has authority to apply certain adjustments to oddly shaped parcels that do not readily fit this rule. The assessment rate for water lines is $9.30 / abutting foot. The rate for sewer lines is $13.10 / abutting foot. Many newly created parcels belong to developments where the water and sewer lines have been built by private developers and not by the CCU. In these cases, there are no assessments charged the customer.
In addition to assessments you will also be expected to pay CONNECTION CHARGES to the Utilities. These fees reimburse the Utilities for the labor and materials spent in providing the service. For water services a normal residential service (5/8" x 3/4") will cost $218. If a meter pit or vault has already been set then the charge will be $218. For larger services the actual costs are tabulated by the distribution crew and the customer is billed. For commercial connections requiring fire service lines or large meters, the builder provides all but the actual tap to the public main which is made by distribution crews and billed to the owner. For sewer services the fees are considerably less since they are only intended to reimburse the Utilities for the costs associated in inspecting the sewer connection to the public main. Fees for residential taps are $15. Industrial taps have fees of $40 associated with them. An important distinction is that while an application for service must be made by the eventual customer, it is the excavator who will be making the connection that must obtain the sewer tap permit.
How do I Start?
Come to the office
You will have to sign a customer service agreement before we can give you service so it is mandatory for you to visit our offices at 1111 McClure Road and discuss your connections with our Customer Services Representative. When you plan your trip it will be helpful to have some specific information about your property to help us calculate your total charges. A little preparation can save you repeated trips.
A. Property Description or Survey
Assessment charges are based upon the lengths of your property lines adjacent to water or sewer lines. In addition whether or not assessments even apply to your case can be dependent on the subdivision in which you live. Your mailing address is often not enough to determine these charges. This can be as complex as a full legal survey or as simple as a deed stating something like "Lot 5 of Anywood Addition".
B. Know the history of your property
If your property has been served before you may not need to pay assessments. Sometimes properties are served for years and then replatted. If the street address of the property has changed then we will have no record that assessments have been paid for the new address. The more you can tell us about the history of your site the less likely these errors are to happen.
C. Don't Worry
If you are unable to determine any of these things. We can look them up for you. There may be a bit of a wait though.
How much will the CCU do?
As mentioned above, the connection fees paid by the customer are to cover the costs associated with the installation of a water meter and pit. This means that the location of the pit may have already been determined at the time of your application. The CCU Distribution Dept will tap the public main and extend a service line to the approximate property line and will set a meter pit and meter. It remains your responsibility to install connect the pit to the building system. During busy construction seasons it may take up to two weeks or more to install the service.
When sewer lines are installed, building wyes or laterals are installed for buildings to connect to. These wyes are typically 6" in diameter and are located at a depth no greater than five to six feet below the surface. Newer wyes may have a section of pipe protruding above the ground surface to facilitate location. When sewer tap permit is obtained The Engineering department will work with the excavator to locate the sewer lateral. This is done through a combination of methods using first record or "as built" measurements provided to the department, and then magnetic location techniques. If these other methods prove ineffective, the wye can be located using television line inspection equipment. The excavator hired by the customer is responsible for the final location of the lateral and connection of the building system to the public sewer. Before the excavator backfills the trench he is to call the Engineering department for a final inspection.
Who should I hire to do my part?
The CCU does not make recommendations for, or against, private contractors or vendors. It is a requirement that excavators who obtain sewer tap permits provide us with a proof of insurance so that we may be protected against any liability due to their negligence. A list of contractors who provide this proof can be made available upon request.
Who fixes it when it breaks?
The CCU maintains and will make any necessary repairs the water main, the service line leading up to the meter pit and the meter pit, including the meter. The line leading from the customer's side of the meter is considered the customer's responsibility to maintain and any water usage recorded on the meter will be billed accordingly. (A sewer credit can sometimes be arranged if it is shown that a leak caused large quantities of water to pass through the meter and not enter the sewer system).
Unlike water lines, the customer assumes a responsibility for the building lateral when they connect. The sewer use ordinance defines a building sewer as beginning at the branch wye from the mainline sewer. The customer is therefore responsible for every part of the sanitary sewer system that serves only his site. This can sometimes mean that the homeowner must make repairs that are located within the public right of way. In these cases, care must be taken in selecting contractors capable of performing this type of work. The homeowner should check with the City Engineer before final hiring of a contractor.