EMWC - Frequently Asked Questions

SERVICE PROBLEMS
How do I turn my water off in case of emergencies?
Why is my pressure low or off? Water discoloration?
Why is my pressure so high?
Why does my water have a strange odor or taste?
Do I need a water softener?
How do I keep my pipes from freezing?
Is my water service affected by power outages?

BOIL WATER ORDERS
What is a boil order? Why is my area under one?
When is it safe to use my tap water again?

OTHER QUESTIONS
Why must I keep my meter lid clear from obstructions?
I'm putting in a new fence. Do I need to notify anyone?
What are the colored flags and paint marks on my lawn?

Is it legal for tank trucks to fill from our water hydrants?

BILLING AND RATES
Where is my water bill?
Why is my water bill so high?
What are the current rates and how are they determined?
What is the Infrastructure Replacement Fund?

What options do I have for paying my bill?

MEMBERSHIP QUESTIONS
How do I apply for new service?
Why must I provide copies of the deed and easement?
What are the costs associated with a new membership?

How do I transfer my membership?
How do I apply to run for the board of directors?

DEVELOPERS
How do I apply for a water main extension?
What is the approval process for new developments?

SERVICE PROBLEMS

How do I turn my water off in case of emergencies? Your home should have a master shut-off valve somewhere inside the home, basement, or garage. All homeowners should locate their shut-off valve and keep it clear from obstruction in the event of a home plumbing problem. If you do not have a master valve, or if your service line breaks somewhere between the meter and the house, call our office at 812-335-8499 to have a service representative shut the water off at the meter. Please remember, all plumbing problems on your side of the meter are your responsibility.

Why is my pressure low or off? Water discoloration? There are several possible reasons why your pressure is abnormally low or why no water is flowing at all from the tap. Short-duration pressure drops (several minutes) are common when our crews are performing annual hydrant flushing or valve exercising. In these cases, you may also notice a slight discoloration when the pressure resumes, but this is normal and does not pose a health risk. Also, air can get into the system during flushing and sometimes cause your water to appear "white". This is also a normal occurance and usually clears up after running the tap for awhile. Longer outages usually indicate a water main break or repair work in your area. Please visit the Alert Box on our home web page for current known problems. Please call our office immediately (812-335-8499) if no known alerts exist. Another possible cause of low pressure is the failure of homeowner-installed pressure regulating valves. Our service representatives can let you know if normal pressure exists at the meter, and if so, then the problem is most likely a ruptured service line or failed regulating valve.

Why is my pressure so high? It is unlikely for water pressure to increase significantly throughout most of EMWC's service area. Many of our members residing in low-lying areas have naturally high water pressure and may need to have pressure regulating devices installed to protect their home plumbing and appliances. EMWC is only responsible for maintaining a minimum water pressure at the member's meter. Occasionally, repair work or hydrant flushing can introduce air into the pipes which may have to be "bled" from your tap for a few minutes.

Why does my water have a strange odor or taste? EMWC purchases its water from the City of Bloomington Utilities, which filters and treats the source water from Lake Monroe. Chlorine compounds are used as a disinfectant and occasionally you may notice a faint "bleach" odor. This is normal and poses no health risks. You may also notice a faint "algae-like" odor or taste, especially during the hot summer months. This is also a non-health risk and will usually only last a short while. An easy way to get rid of the taste and smell of chlorine is to fill a container of water and keep it in the fridge for drinking. Much of the chlorine will leave the water overnight. Cold water also tastes and smells better than water at room temperature.

Do I need a water softener? Our water averages about 50 ppm of hardness. 1 grain = 17.1 ppm, therefore our water is about 3 grains of hardness on average. This means that it is close to being "soft" without further treatment. Check your new appliance instructions regarding water hardness.

How do I keep my pipes from freezing? Please refer to the following link: Information about freezing and bursting pipes (American Red Cross Website).

Is my water service affected by power outages? The entire EMWC service area relies on gravity to provide water pressure to its members (a small booster pump enhances pressure to about a dozen homes on upper Sewell Road). The City of Bloomington's water tanks are the source for our water. As those tanks drain, electric pumps are required to keep them refilled. Local energy providers give highest priority to facilities such as hospitals and water companies during power outages. But to be safe, CBU also has diesel generators that can maintain adequate supplies of treated water in the event of major power disruptions.

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BILLING AND RATES

Where is my water bill? All bills go out by mail on the 25th of the month (except for holidays or weekends) and are due by the 16th of the following month. You can call us anytime to find out the status of your account (812-335-8499). Select our E-Bill option to have your bill sent to you by email.

Why is my water bill so high? Several common reasons for unusually high bills are:

  • A leak on your side of the meter, such as a leaky toilet, dripping faucet, or leaking service line outside the house.
  • Unusual excessive use such as filling a pool, having overnight guests, or heavy lawn watering.
  • Unpaid prior month's bill. Your bill will include the unpaid portion as well as a 10% late fee on that amount.

What are the current rates and how are they determined? Link to the "rates" topic on our Member Info page.

What is the Infrastructure Replacement Fund? Also known as IRF, this monthly fee is being collected from all EMWC members to help fund upcoming capital replacement and improvement projects. Much of our system is now over 40 years old and just like an aging automobile, will eventually cost more to repair than to replace. We are already experiencing the effects of this aging through increased frequency of leaking pipes and inoperable control valves. By collecting this relatively modest fee now, we hope to avoid large rate increases in the future and ensure that we all pay our fair share of the "wearing-out" of the water system.

What options do I have for paying my bill? By check, cash, or automatic payment (ACH). See "payment options" on the Member Info Page to learn more about these as well as our paperless E-Billing option. To help keep our costs down, we do not provide for online or credit card payment.

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BOIL WATER ORDERS - Go to the Boil Order Page for detailed instructions.

What is a boil order? Why is my area under one? Boil water advisories and boil water orders are public announcements advising the public that they should boil their tap water for drinking and for other household uses. They are preventative measures issued to protect public health from waterborne infectious agents that could be or are known to be present in drinking water. Usually, they are a result of broken water lines or equipment replacement work and typically go into effect only for the downstream customers.

When is it safe to use my tap water again? Boil orders will not be lifted until testing shows that the water meets public health standards. This usually takes at least two business days of sampling and analysis. As soon as tests indicate no contaminants, EMWC will notify all members on our web page and via local media (Herald Times and radio 91.3, 95.1, 96.7, and 105.1 FM). For boil orders issued with door-hanging notices, affected members will be contacted when the order is lifted.

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MEMBERSHIP QUESTIONS

How do I apply for new service? Stop by or call our office (812-335-8499) to get started. If you are building a new home in our service area you will first need to apply for membership. Purchasers of exisiting homes will use the "Membership Change" form to get services transfered. Copies of recorded deeds and easements are required in both cases. View the various forms and get more information from our Membership Forms link.

Why must I provide copies of the deed and easement? A membership at EMWC is an equal-share ownership in the corporation. The deed provides validation as to the legal owner of the property receiving the new water service. The water easement provides the corporation access to install, maintain, and upgrade the various water distribution devices necessary for the service. Read more about Easements.

What are the costs associated with a new membership? New members must pay an application fee of $25.00 and a membership fee of $100.00. For new service, the member must also pay a $650.00 tap fee to cover cost of the new tap and meter. Other additional costs may include road boring, inspection fees, rock excavation, or pump fees. Any of these additional costs, if required, will be detailed at the application step. See also EMWC Current Year Tariff (pdf).

How do I transfer my membership? If you sell your home, contact us in order to arrange for the membership transfer and to have us get a final meter reading. We will also need a forwarding address in order for us to send you a final bill and your membership refund.

How do I apply to run for the board of directors? Anyone who has been a member for more than 2 years may request to be nominated to the board of directors. All nominations for directors shall be made by filing a document specifying name, address, occupation, qualifications and reason for application at the EMWC office sixty (60) days prior to the annual meeting (held in May).

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OTHER QUESTIONS

Why must I keep my meter lid clear from obstructions? It is very important that landscaping materials such as mulch or plantings, and any other debris, dirt, or leaves be kept clear from the meter lid at all times. We need these meter pits to remain unobstructed at all times so that they can be properly read each month and serviced when necessary. Please refer to the link: Meter Access.

I'm putting in a new fence. Do I need to notify anyone? Damage to any underground utility lines can create a potentially hazardous situation, not just buried power lines. When digging, Indiana Underground Plant Protection Services (IUPPS) suggests staying a minimum of 24 inches outside the markings. It is your responsibility to inform IUPPS at least two business days in advance before digging begins by calling 811 or 800-382-5544. Visit our link about Digging and Excavating.

What are the colored flags and paint marks on my lawn? These markings were likely made by various utility companies within their easements in preparation for a maintenance or upgrade project, or at the request of the homeowner planning to dig on the property. Check out the following links for more information: Digging and Excavating; also, Easement FAQ web page.

Is it legal for tank trucks to fill from our water hydrants? No, it is generally not legal for water tank trucks to fill up from a hydrant. This can be a source for water contamination and also constitutes theft. Official firefighting vehicles are an exception. We may occasionally permit construction companies to purchase water from a hydrant using an EMWC metering attachment. Please report any unusual activity to our office regarding possible illegal water consumption. Link to topic on Water Theft.

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DEVELOPERS

How do I apply for a water main extension? Anyone wishing to subdivide their property or get water service to an area beyond EMWC's current service area should first contact our office (812-335-8499) to discuss their plans. No new subdivision will be permitted access to EMWC services unless it previously has been determined that the services at the tap-on site are sufficient to meet the needs of all future residents of the subdivision and will not interfere with the water use of current customers. All plans for water lines in the new subdivision must be developed by, or reviewed by, EMWC’s engineer. The cost must be borne by the developer/owner.

What is the approval process for new developments? Submitted plans and engineering reports will be reviewed by EMWC prior to board approval. Our Subdivision Policy (pdf) is in the form of a "tap-on" contract and clearly specifies the terms and policies.

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