Burlington looking to shut down water meter tampering
By Jeanie Mayer For The Courier-News October 16, 2012 1:08PM
Updated: November 18, 2012 6:50AM
BURLINGTON — The village is cracking down on residents who tamper with the water meters in their homes or know they aren’t working properly.
The village board is in the process of dealing with two such cases in which the water meters in the home were either bypassed or improperly wired.
One resident, Sam Host, appeared before the board Monday night to request leniency on a $700 fine he was given for an improperly patched water meter. Host said he had brought in a contractor to fix a water leak and was told to order a new meter. He said it was an oversight that led to his not reporting the meter to the village.
“I continued to pay the (estimated) bills) for a few months,” Host said.
Because Host has since complied with the village and repaid the full cost of the water he used during that time and was given a new meter, Trustee Bob Walsh said he would like the village to consider dropping the fine.
The board agreed to discuss reducing the fee after calculating how much it cost in attorney fees, labor and materials to remedy the situation.
“The whole idea of a fine is to make sure the village recoups its costs in enforcing its ordinances,” Village Attorney Nancy Harbottle said.
In other business, the public works department said the village exceeded its allowable limits for the presence of copper in the drinking water supply in some samples.
Water department supervisor Gary Zickuhr said a letter will be sent to residents detailing the findings and results of the water testing that occurred over the summer.
The village routinely treats drinking water with phosphates to prevent the leaching of copper into the water supply. Public works officials plan to meet with representatives at Viking Chemical to help determine what might have caused the higher readings in three of 20 samples.
Zickuhr said copper readings were within acceptable limits for many years prior to this summer’s testing. He said factors that might have contributed to the high readings might be the drought-related or even that the phosphates used to treat the pipes are no longer sufficient.
“We are going to find out what happened, and we are going to fix it to where it should be,” Zickuhr said.