On September 11, 2019, the Lakeway Municipal Utility District (LMUD) Board of Directors, at the regularly scheduled board meeting, approved changes to the Rate Order for FY2020 that included the decision to add system maintenance in the base rate charge for LMUD customers who use a grinder pump to connect to the public wastewater system. This includes all customers who opt-in to connect as part of the Out of District Wastewater (ODWW) Project as well as some pre-existing wastewater customers. With this rate change, rather than customers calling a plumbing company, LMUD is now responsible for performing all necessary repairs and preventative maintenance required to keep the systems functioning properly at no additional charge to customers. It remains the customer’s responsibility to contact LMUD in order to initiate a work order for any needed repairs.
Grinder pump systems, such as those being installed by LMUD on the properties of property owners who opt-in to receive wastewater service as part of the ODWW Project, have usage considerations that must be followed for the system to function properly, similar to that of a septic system. LMUD makes every attempt to notify the property owners of these guidelines before being connected. If these guidelines are followed, the system requires very little preventative maintenance. However, malfunctions are possible. Any irregularity in the system will trigger a red light and audible alarm to go off on the system’s control panel. If this happens, the property owner will need to call LMUD to investigate and remedy any problems with the system.
Previous presentations from LMUD showed this maintenance fee as a separate line item that would appear on the utility bills of customers who opted-in to connect to the new sewer system. It was stated as being optional at a rate of $5 per month. If the property owner chose not to pay this optional fee, they would be responsible for contracting with a plumber of their choice to perform all repairs and maintenance. “Not all plumbing companies offer service for grinder pumps. We’d rather our customers allow us to guarantee our work,” said Earl Foster, general manager for LMUD. “We know when each system was installed so we can routinely schedule maintenance to replace parts before they fail and because we have the specs for each system, we can quickly locate a problem and get it fixed.”
So far, LMUD has made approximately 20 connections on properties within the boundaries of the ODWW Project. Since LMUD is still in the process of installing the main lines and infrastructure required to build out this new wastewater system for phase 1, these were all Early Connection opt-ins by property owners who paid upfront fees after being granted approval from LMUD before being connected to nearby wastewater service lines that service the surrounding community. One hundred percent of these customers opted-in to the maintenance fee. Rates for customers already connected to the new system by LMUD will not change; they will just see a removal of the maintenance line item and an increase of $5 per month to their base rate charge. Customers in LMUD’s coverage area that had wastewater service from LMUD prior to this project will see an increase of $5 per month ($10 per billing cycle) added to their wastewater base charge; this increase only affects customers with grinder pumps on their property which will now be eligible for maintenance service from LMUD. This change goes into effect October 1, 2019 so customers will see it on their bill sent out on December 1, 2019.
An updated copy of LMUD’s Rate Order can be found here.