By Ann McCreary
A revised Twisp town ordinance means that property owners who permit excessive water loss due to leaky faucets, toilets or other plumbing fixtures will only be eligible for a reduction in their billing if the malfunction happens during winter, when water meters are not regularly read.
Town water customers are required to repair problems in a timely manner, according to the ordinance approved by the Town Council on July 14.
The town does not read most meters between November and March, because snow and ice make them inaccessible. That means that leaks in pipes and plumbing fixtures sometimes go unnoticed until the meters are read again in April and excessive water use is discovered.
Customers who have excessive water use due to broken pipes may receive a credit of up to $250 to their utility bill at any time of year, as long as the credit is approved by the public works director and the repair is made in a timely manner after the leak is discovered, the ordinance states.
Andrew Denham, public works director, said he is researching metering systems that would allow town water meters to be easily read remotely by radio all year round.
“The meters that are currently in town are 30-plus years old,” which is beyond their life expectancy, he said. The meters are read by a touch pad, which requires touching every meter.
A new system would allow segments of streets with many meters to be read at once, reducing the time needed to read town meters from a day and a half to about two hours, Denham said.
In other business, the council discussed changing parking along Lincoln Street between Twisp Avenue and the town park because of congestion and potential safety hazards on that stretch, especially during swim meets at the Wagner Memorial Pool or during special events like the Fourth of July festival.
The council endorsed a suggestion by Denham to paint parallel parking spaces on the west side of Lincoln Street. The council considered, but did not take action on prohibiting parking along the east side of the street.
Denham said he would look into “some speed control measures” such as speed bumps or signs to improve safety during congested periods.