Nonpayment of bills could lead to Silver Springs sewer shutoff

Silver Springs sewer customers could face a shutoff of their sewer service if they fall seriously behind on their bills.

In order to reconnect, customers would have to pay not only what they have in arrears, but the cost of cutting off the sewer and the cost of reconnecting it as well.

"Some people are as far as $900 to $1,300 behind," said Margaret Ruckman, board member of the Silver Springs General Improvement District.

Ruckman said she consulted Lyon County Utilities Director Mike Workman, who told her cutting off the service was a viable option for extreme delinquencies.

"It's pretty rude for customers to say, 'There's nothing you can do, we're just not paying,'" Workman said. "Then the people who pay their bills end up subsidizing the ones who don't."

He estimated it could cost $500 to disconnect the line, depending on the amount of excavation required. He also said it probably costs a bit less to reconnect.

In addition to the costs, a letter would be sent to the Lyon County Building Department advising the director of the shutoff, which would probably cause the home or business to be closed to habitation. Residents could be evicted.

The board voted Monday to investigate the shutoff possibility, which, if completed, would take effect July 1. Residents in arrears $240 or more would receive a warning letter before termination of services.

Sandy Keeble, administrative assistant for the Silver Springs GID said most bills are $20 per month. "Some commercial units will pay more," she said.

The fees are based on equivalent dwelling units, or EDUs. One EDU equals 25 fixtures, while commercial operations must have 1.5 EDUs, or 38 fixtures.

Nick Malarchik, Lyon County building director, affirmed that a sewer disconnection would lead to the red-tagging of a building.

He said the building could be reopened within a day or two once the bills were paid and the sewer was reconnected.

GID Trustee Harry Bryant said if a delinquent customer is a business, the board should look into whether that makes them out of compliance with their business license or special-use permit.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111, ext. 351.


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