Syringa Policies

Who can connect to and purchase water from Syringa Heights Water District?

The District was formed to provide water service to residential users only.  Any property, that is wholly within the established boundaries of the District, may connect for residential use.  Please refer to the latest map (Here).  Note that if you are within the District it will also be indicated on your property tax bill.

Properties immediately adjacent to the existing District boundaries may petition to be included in the District.  There are costs associated with this petition. (Please contact the District for up to date costs.)

In some cases, our boundaries overlap those of the City of Dover and the City of Sandpoint.  In that case, please talk with us before you initiate any application.

Properties outside the District boundaries, and not immediately adjacent to the District, can not be annexed into the District will not be served by the District.

What does having a connection provide?

It provides a remote read meter and up to 15,000 gallons of water per month to each residential parcel.  It provides a minimum pressure of 35 lbs of clean, sanitized water.  The connection also requires each resident to adhere to certain responsibilities, as described below.  The 15,000 gallon limit may be changed in the future depending on the needs of our water supplier, the City of Sandpoint.

How does one initiate a connection?

Fill out a brief application form (connection application) and submit it to the board at this address:

Frank Cafferty
PO Box 2401
Sandpoint, Idaho 83864
208-290-2126

If approved, the applicant shall pay an capitalization fee.  You may of course call us, in particular Mr. Cafferty,  before you submit the application and fee.  We are happy to talk with you about your project/plans.

Currently, as of July 2018, the capitalization fee is $6,185 for a single family home.  If the property has a duplex or an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) connected through the same meter the capitalization fee is multiplied by 1.5 for a total of $9,277.50.  Put simply, like any water system in Idaho the capitalization fee is determined by an engineering firm that calculates the monetary value of the system and that amount is divided by the number of potential users within the district. Sometimes this capitalization fee is referred to as a “NUFF” or new user facility fee.  In short, this is a fee that helps maintain the existing system. You are “buying in”as it were with your share of all the costs that have occurred in building the system.

Under certain circumstances the board will consider amortizing the equity over a period to time to help facilitate you getting water.  In other words, we can spread out the costs of the capitalization fee over several months.  If you wish to have your capitalization fee amortized please indicate it on your service application.

We will hold your check for the capitalization fee until our water manager has an opportunity to assess your situation and describe to you what you and/or Syringa need to do.

Although every property can present different opportunities and difficulties, the following is the base line we follow:

If your property line touches the road right of way in which one of our water mains is situated, then the connection is relatively simple.

  1. You, the owner, will contract with Syringa’s contractor that will make the connection to our water main and place a remote meter/valve near your property.  Please note: our approved contractor will be bonded and provide a bond on the particular job.  You will pay for this work.  Known as “connection fees,” this work includes any pressure control devices deemed necessary to protect the owners water system.
  2. You are also responsible for digging and placing the lines from the meter to your house.  Our water manager and the construction company you hire will give you good advice on how to do that.
  3. The water valve and meter are the property of Syringa Heights Water District.  All leaks on the public side of the meter are the responsibility of Syringa.
  4. All leaks on the delivery side of the meter are your responsibility.  We will advise you when we can.  You will be charged for any and all gallons of water used or lost to broken or leaking pipes on the customer’s side of the meter.

Once you have paid the capitalization fee then it becomes attached to the property in perpetuity.  When and if you sell your property, your new owner will have the use of your (former) water meter.  He or she will not have to buy into the system again.  He or she will follow the rules and policies of every user.

Please note that the property owner has the responsibility to maintain access to and readability of the meter.

Monthly Fees

Each year in November the Water Board meets to develop a budget. Based on how much it will cost the coming year to run and maintain the system, it determines what the monthly base fee will be for the coming year.  For example, for the past few years (2017-2019) it has been $34.  Even if your property doesn’t use any water, you will pay the monthly base fee if you have a meter.

Currently we get our water from the City of Sandpoint.  We charge no more than does the City of Sandpoint.  In other words, we don’t add a surcharge.  Similar to Sandpoint, if a property owner uses more than 3000 gallons in a given month, he or she will pay an overage charge, the same as do Sandpoint residents.  Here are the current upcharges on water used, as of February 2020.

 $3.77 per 1000 gallons for the first 3000 gallons

 $4.10 per 1000 gallons from 3000 to 15,000 gallons

 $6.04 per 1000 gallons from 15,000 to 40,000 gallons

 $7.69per 1000 gallons for over 40,000 gallons

Your monthly bill will be the total of the base fee, for example, $34, and the amount of water you use at the City rate.  For example, Let’s say you use 4000 gallons in a month. $3.77 per thousand gallons of water for the first 3000 gallons used would be 3.77 x 3 or $11.31.  The additional 1000 gallons would be: $4.10 x 1 or $4.10.  Final monthly bill in this example: $34 + $11.31 + $4.10 = $49.41.  One last charge: the cost from Sandpoint for the use of their meter or $1.81 for each user. Total: $51.22

Our certified water operator reads everyone’s meter at the end of each month. He does it remotely with a device in his truck that picks up your meter. Your bill is typically due by the end of the following month.

How much water can I use?

At this point in time, the City of Sandpoint, our water supplier, gives us up to 15,000 gallons a month for each residence.  It will eventually fall to the City of Sandpoint, our supplier, to put any restrictions on the number of gallons our system uses.  Currently, most of our customers use 3000 to 5000 gallon a month, but we do have some customers that use as much as 14,000 gallons a month.  The District reserves the right to reduce the amount of water each customer gets based on our supply from the City.  Every user will be treated the same.

As noted earlier, the more water your property uses, the costlier each 1000 gallons will be.

The water provided by the District shall be used for domestic purposes, unless otherwise approved by the Board.

The Board shall have the power to declare an emergency and provide for the rationing of water when appropriate

Late Fees/ Penalties

All fees and charges by the District not received by the 30th day of the month shall become delinquent.  The date in February is the 28th. Postmarked by the 25th will be honored.  Late charges of $15.00 per billing cycle will apply and continue until the account is current.  Notice of termination may be given after two consecutive late charges with an accumulative balance.  Notice may be given by mail or door hangar, if not able to contact personally.  If water service is terminated a charge of $60.00 will be levied to turn water back on

The Board shall assess as additional fees any costs incurred by the District in enforcing any of the provisions of the by-laws, including a reasonable attorney fee.  Any uncollected fees will be levied as property taxes as allowed by law.

Maintenance

Over time the system will need upgrades.  For instance, in the year of this writing (2020), we have to replace old asbestos-concrete piping that was installed in 1969.  The lines have not failed. . . yet.  We also have to increase the water pressure for some people in the district who don’t have optimum pressure.  Furthermore, because when the area loses electricity that often means our system loses pressure because our pumps don’t work. So, we want to build a natural gas generator that will provide power to the pumps during outages.

Those projects will cost money so we will develop an engineering plan and seek agency funding at low interest rates over a long period of time.  Part of that process will be an area vote on the proposal.  You will be informed when that happens.

Service Piping on User’s Premises

Ownership and Maintenance

You will install and maintain at your own expense all pipes and other plumbing within the boundary line of your property and private easements.  In short, all the piping downstream of the meter is your responsibility.

The plumbing will be furnished and installed per current applicable plumbing codes and maintained in good order and condition such that they do not pose a threat to the integrity and quality of the District system. If you don’t properly maintain private plumbing the District can terminate your service.

Meters

All meters shall be furnished by the District and shall remain the property of the District.  The District shall have final authority as to location of the water service connection.  The meter should be conveniently located within the road right-a-way.  Placement of the connection must be on a parcel, belonging to the Owner, which the meter is servicing and parcel must be adjacent to the District main line.

The District shall maintain meters and repair, at the District’s own expense, due to ordinary wear and tear.  Each user shall notify the District of any damage to or malfunction of a meter as soon as it comes to the user’s attention.  In the event a meter is damaged by freezing or the negligent or intentional act of a party other than the District, the user shall pay the cost of repair.

In the case of a disputed account involving the accuracy of a meter, the meter shall be tested on request of the user.  Such testing shall be conducted as deemed appropriate for the situation by the District, with results documented for record.  Only in the event the meter tested is found to have an error in registration of five (5%) percent or more, will the user’s account be adjusted accordingly.

In the event a user requests to have a water service connection relocated, and if the District has the capability of delivery to the new location on existing parcel, the user shall make a written request to the District and the District shall advise the user of the proposed cost and scheduling for relocation.  In the event the relocation is acceptable to the District, and upon payment by the user of the fee, the water service connection may be relocated.

Each user shall cut and dispose of weeds, grass and brush from the road to, and around, the user’s meter vault. No user shall block or otherwise limit convenient access to a meter or shut-off valve by District personnel.  A four-foot radius from the meter vault is to be kept clear of all obstacles including fences.  Nothing is to be attached to the meter post, and will be removed by maintenance personnel.  The user shall be charged a fee set by resolution of the District Board if action has to be taken for any of the above.

Curb Stop Valves Required

A curb stop valve is required to be installed by the user on the user’s service line in a place always accessible and located as to permit shutting off water service for the entire premises with the least possible delay.  Installation of a curb stop valve by the user is required by the District to have personal control of water in order to avoid special service call charges as outlined above as well as alleviate damage done by broken water lines and fixtures.

Pressure Relief Valves

All persons having boilers, water tanks or other equipment supplied with direct pressure from the District’s mains shall install a backflow prevention and pressure relief valve to prevent excess pressure back flowing hot water and steam back into the water meter and mains of the District.  All damage to the District’s property resulting from failure of the user to properly equip plumbing with a relief valve shall be a charge be billed to the user.  Users shall notify the District of any potential back-flow producing equipment or plumbing.

Leaks on User’s Premises

The District shall not be obligated to perform any services whatsoever in locating leaks or other piping limitations on or inside the user’s premises and property, and shall not be liable for any damages resulting from the same.

Special Service Calls

If the District is requested to turn a user’s water off to enable repairs to be made to the user’s pipes, to allow service work by others, or for user vacancy the user shall be charged according to shutoff fees set by resolution of the District Board (See Fee Addendum A below).  Private curb stop valves are required on new installations as outlined above to avoid special service call charges.

Access to Property

All properly identified employees, officers or agents of the District may contact the owner or occupant of each user’s premises to request access at all reasonable hours to any and all parts of property and buildings supplied by water, for the purpose of installing meters and other appurtenances required by the District, reading meters, inspection, or repairing or removing any property of the District which may have been installed thereon.  The water supply shall be shut off from all premises where such access is unreasonably refused and not turned on again until such access is allowed, pursuant to the procedures outlined in these Policies and Procedures.

Private Water Supply

When the premises served by the District is also served in any manner from another or private water supply of any kind, the user’s plumbing shall be so constructed that entirely separate plumbing systems shall be provided for each water source.  Separation of at least 10 feet is required from District water services to non-District water sources.  Cross-connection of the District’s water system with a private water supply of any kind is expressly prohibited. 

Change in Grade

Any user changing the grade level of the connection to the District’s system, or District main lines, by excavation, back-fill, landscaping, or other cause, shall be liable for all costs of moving the connection or accessibility to main line to comply with the newly-created grade level which may reasonably be required by the District.

Service Connection Damage

Any damage done to meter vaults, curb stops, meter posts, or any other parts of the service connection due to construction, snow plowing, etc….. is the responsibility of the property owner or user and repairs may be billed at cost.

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