In an effort to encourage new customers along its existing water district routes, the Sampson County Board of Commissioners has authorized a temporary reduction in tap-on fees between the period of Jan. 1, and March 31, 2018.
Currently tap-on fees range from $500 for a 3/4-inch tap to $600 for a 1-inch tap. For the limited period, this fee will be reduced to $100, with the requirement that those who sign up at the reduced rate sign a contract to pay the minimum monthly water fees for a period of 24 months, even if they do not purchase water. This base fee is $19.40 per month, with a usage rate of $4.85 per 1,000 gallons.
The opportunity for sign-ups at this reduced rate will be available to residents living along previously constructed service lines and for the designated period only. The Sampson County water system currently has about 5,400 customers along 500 miles of water lines. Typically, the system sees nine to 10 new customers each month, but county officials hope this initiative will stimulate further growth in the system’s customer base.
“Increased revenues allow the water system to grow, and increased water usage moves water within the system, improving its operating efficiencies,” stated Public Works director Lin Reynolds.
He acknowledged that many people are happy with their rural wells and have yet to sign up as customers, but pointed out the advantages of a public water system are many.
“The county water system is a regulated, treated and tested system,” he noted. “Well water is usually clean, but it is not subjected to the regular testing and rigorous state standards of a public water system.”
Moreover, a public water system is reliable — even in the harshest winter months.
“Cold weather and power outages can lead to frozen pipes and loss of water, which does not happen with a public water system,” Reynolds said.
Increasing its customer base is not the county system’s only initiative. In recent years, the system has seen the installation of two production wells, with a third well installation slated for January. Reynolds would also like to see the system’s infrastructure expand.
“We have ridden the entire county with an eye to where there are concentrations of potential customers,” he stated. “Our goal would be to identify potential service areas, but more importantly, identify funding resources that would allow for line additions.”
Recent operational changes, including the purchase of water from Dunn, have rectified issues with water pressure and water quality, and set the stage for the system’s continued growth and development.
Customers interested in tapping onto the system should contact the Sampson County Public Works Department at 910-592-0188, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.