Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District is a non-profit municipal corporation. The District’s five-member Board of Commissioners are elected officials who set the rates and establish the District’s policies in accordance with Washington State Law. Commissioners are required to live within the District’s boundaries and in the area which they represent. Rates and charges are designed to provide for the prudent financial management of the District and are based on the cost of service.
RCWs Associated With Water and Sewer Districts
Revised Code of Washington Title 57 Chapters 57.02 through 57.90 contains the laws that govern water and sewer districts within Washington State. To view the laws, click here, and scroll down the list of chapters to “Title 57 Water-Sewer Districts.”
Bills are due on the 25th of the month in which they are issued. A late charge of 10% of the total past due balance is applied to the account. Once applied, late charges cannot be removed from a customer account unless approved by the District’s General Manager. Additional fees may apply for any returned payment return items, including auto-pay and NSF checks.
For accounts where water and sewer service charges are not paid within sixty days of the billing date, the District may interrupt water service and padlock the meter.
Restoring Suspended Water Service:
In order to have service restored, the bill must be paid in full. If your service has been suspended, do not make payment through Xpress Bill Pay, payment must be received by our office directly.
During office hours (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday), you may make a payment in person or over the phone for the account balance. A $75 lock fee will be added to the next bill.
Outside of regular office hours (After 4:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday or anytime on weekends) you may call to have your meter unlocked. Payment in full, including the additional after-hours unlock fee of $150 must be received over the phone or at the office by noon the next business day, or the meter will be re-locked.
Do not remove the lock from your meter box yourself. If a lock is cut or removed without District authorization, an additional $250 fee will apply.
Water Utility Reconnection during Heat-related Alerts
Pursuant to HB 1329 passed by the Washington State Legislature during its 2023 general session and subsequently signed into law by Governor Inslee, effective July 23, 2023, the District will not terminate water service due to lack of payment for residential customers on any day for which the national weather service has issued or has announced that it intends to issue a heat-related alert within the District’s service area. Further, any residential customer whose water service has been disconnected for lack of payment may request that the District reconnect water service on any day for which the national weather service has issued or has announced that it intends to issue a heat-related alert within the District’s service area. To request reconnection for the period under which the heat alert is in effect, please contact the District at 360-734-9224.
All unpaid water and sewer charges, when delinquent for sixty days or more, shall be a lien against the property being served and a lien processing fee charged to the account. In the event the customer fails to bring the account current within six months, the account will be referred to the District’s legal counsel to begin formal foreclosure proceedings against the property.
Administrative Code Section 2.10.6: Water Bill Adjustments
The District will adjust high customer water bills subject to the conditions defined herein. The adjustment request must be made in writing by the property owner and include a signed attestation (1) acknowledging that the adjustment is subject to this Water Bill Adjustment policy, (2) stating the reason for the high bill (if known), and (3) confirming that any repairs needed to resolve the issue have been completed (if applicable given the type of loss). To calculate the adjustment:
- Water consumption figures from the same billing period in the previous year are used to calculate the adjustment. If less than one year’s usage history exists, the current base rate allowance will be used as the quantity basis. The District will credit qualifying bill adjustment dollar amounts to the current or next customer bill. The adjustment credit shall be 50 percent of the amount determined to be the excess water usage charge.
- The District has adopted a tiered rate structure for water. Water usage exceeding 2,500 cubic feet in a two-month billing period is billed at a higher “water conservation” rate. For the purpose of calculating adjustment credits, water usage over 2,500 cubic feet will be billed at the lower tier rate.
- Water bill adjustments are limited to one adjustment per metered service every seven years. Customers who have experienced leaks should inspect their entire system and ensure that all issues have been remedied. Eligibility for bill adjustment shall reset when a property is acquired by a new owner. When a high use event occurs, the overage may be reflected on more than one consecutive billing cycle. In those instances, the District will utilize both contiguous cycles for the purpose of calculating adjustment credits.
- The District will set up an incremental payment schedule on the remaining balance of the bill amount at the customer’s request. Payment schedules must be arranged in a way that ensures payment of the current two-month minimum billing plus an installment on the extraordinary portion of the bill. The extraordinary portion of the bill must be paid in full within 12 months of incurring the charges. Late charges on the amount subject to adjustment will be waived if the customer adheres to the prearranged payment schedule. [Resolution Nos. 821, 861, 870, 891]
Administrative Code Section 2.10.5 Suspension of Billing for Unoccupied Premises
The suspension of water and/or sewer services without charging a fee is authorized under certain circumstances, such as a house that has been destroyed by fire. The water and/or sewer billing will be suspended provided that:
- The structure in question is removed, condemned, destroyed, or no longer requires water and/or sewer service in the opinion of the General Manager, and
- The property owner requests in writing the suspension of service and service charges to the structure, and
- The water meter is locked or removed when the service is suspended, and
- For sewer-only connections, the sewer lateral is capped at the right of way by a District-bonded sewer contractor and inspected by the District, and
- The account is paid current to the first of the month following the District’s receipt of the property