The CCU maintains and will make any necessary repairs to 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.
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 and connect to the pit and 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 they should 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 any negligence. A list of contractors who provide this proof can be made available upon request.
If you live within the city limits of Columbus, Indiana, you are eligible to receive service from Columbus City Utilities (CCU).
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.
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. If you suspect that facilities are not available, it would be to your benefit to contact the CCU Engineering department as soon as possible.
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 Columbus City Utilities. These fees reimburse CCU for the labor and materials spent in providing the service. For water services a normal residential service (5/8″ x 3/4″) will cost $1100. If a meter pit or vault has already been set then the charge will be $500. 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 $70. Industrial taps have fees of $70 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.
- Come to the CCU 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.
- Bring your property description (if you have it): 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 Any wood Addition”.
- 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.
- Don’t Worry: If you are unable to determine any of the above we can look them up for you, although this may add some extra time to the process.
For water services, a normal residential service (5/8” X 3/4”) will cost $1100.00. This includes the cost of the meter pit or vault, the meter, as well as labor and material costs. If your property already has a meter pit or vault available, the cost for a normal residential service is only $500.00, which covers the cost of the meter. For larger services, the actual cost for labor and materials are calculated and billed to the customer on an individual basis.
For commercial water services, the builder is responsible for providing everything but the actual tap to the public main. CCU will make the tap and bill the customer for all labor and material costs.
For a sewer tap, the cost is only $70.00, which is a reimbursement to CCU for the cost of inspecting the sewer connection to the main.
Please note, while the application for services must be made by the eventual customer, the excavator is responsible for obtaining the sewer tap permit and making the actual connection.
Assessments are fees charges by CCU to assist in the payment for the lines adjacent to your property. If your property has been serviced by CCU in the past, assessments may not be required. The assessment rates are multiplied by the property dimensions that abuts, or lies next to, the water and sewer lines. These rates are set by local ordinance and cannot be modified.
Water Assessment Rate: $9.30 per abutting foot
Sewer Assessment Rate: $13.10 per abutting foot
Many newly created parcels belong to developments where the water and sewer lines have been built by a private contractor, and not by CCU. In this instance, there are no assessments charged to the customer.
Signing up for services is quite simple. If you are the owner of the property, all you have to do is email, fax, or bring to our office, the name(s) that you want associated with the account, a current phone number, the address of the service location, and the date you want services turned on in your name. A deposit is not required unless your services are interrupted due to delinquent payment.
If you are renting the property, you must come to our office to sign up for services. You will be asked to provide a government-issued photo ID, a copy of your lease signed by the landlord, and a deposit of $105.00.
If there is a leak on the customer’s side of the meter, a sewer adjustment will be considered. For consideration of an adjustment, documentation of the repair must be provided to CCU prior to any adjustment being made on an account.
Please note, not all leaks are eligible for an adjustment. Items such as leaking or running toilet and faucets, outside water spigots left running, etc. are not eligible as the water is still entering the sewer system.
Summer Sewer Allowance (SSA) is defined by local ordinance which specified all residential customers will receive a sewer adjustment for the months of June through September. In general, sewer charges are based upon your water consumption. However, during SSA, your sewer charges are based on your average water consumption for the months of February through April. This allows for customers to sprinkle their lawn, water flowers, etc. without paying for an increase in sewer charges since the water consumed is not going down the sewer drain. SSA will begin after your meter is read in June and you receive your bill in July. During SSA, all customers receiving the allowance are not eligible for additional sewer adjustments caused by a leak.
For our customers who prefer to water early or late in the season, we do offer irrigation meters for purchasing. Also, if you receive your monthly bill via email, you will receive it sooner, leading to earlier notification of when your SSA begins. If you currently receive a paper bill, but would like to begin receiving your bill via email, please call our office and our friendly staff would be more than happy to assist you.
CCU does offer one pool-fill adjustment annually each spring to our customers. To receive this adjustment, call or email our office.
Send your name, service location, and account number, along with the dates you filled your pool.