Letter | Fred Bitgood: The city will always find new fees

Here is another citizen who is fed up with the system. This time it is again the water and sewage bills. I can understand an $89 water bill, but $238.01 sewer bill is out of proportion – way out of proportion. Is this for one month Mr. A. Kiliyana? Using swamp coolers is inexpensive, and yes, the water you use is recycled.

The only loss of water with a swamp cooler is through evaporation, but none of this water ever reaches the sewer system. Your sewer system rates is, if they have not changed since I retired, based on the water that flows through your water meter. It is usually a percentage of the water bill. Now your water meter shows how much water you use each month. That is what your water bill is based on.

Let’s take a make-believe home. Now all your water goes into the house and is used daily in the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, and anything else you have in the house itself, including the cooling system. Let’s say you have a hose bibb on each side of your house. Each time you use your hose bibbs, all the water that goes through them will never reach the sewer line, but you are paying a sewer charge on all that water because it is based on the water meter amount in total.

Some cities do base their sewer charges on a percentage basis allowing for the use of some water never getting to the sewer. I have been retired for 24 years and can only tell you how it was way back then.

I have always thought that this system was not in the best interest of the water user, but not being in the business, the authorities don’t think old guys like me know anything about plumbing.

When I worked down in California, I considered myself a house and apartment complex copper expert. I used nothing but copper and brass fittings and never had a call back because of poor workmanship. Of course now, the new systems use very little copper and lots of plastic pipe. The system is OK as far as I can see, but if I was building my own house it would be copper all the way. That’s just my version. Anyway let me get back to the story.

You ask the question, “Why should I be paying for something that is not going into the sewer?”

The answer is you shouldn’t be. Then you ask another question, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

The picture you are talking about is real fuzzy and a homeowner cannot see it clearly.

There is an answer to the problem, but the homeowners and the plumbing industry need to get together and demand action. I have been a supporter of this ever since it came out. It is called the purple pipe system.

There are two systems currently on the market, one for new construction and one for adding to existing homes. Naturally, they should be installed by plumbers. Just about all lines under your house are a 1-1/2 or 2-inch abs line that would be disconnected from the 3- or 4-inch sewer line and run using purple pipe into a 3-inch purple pipe line leading out to your backyard or other suitable place with an undergrown water tank.

All the water you use in the house that does not go down the toilet will never see a sewer line, but go into the tank. You can even recover the rain water by hooking up to the gutters and directing it into the tank.

All you need is a pump, a timer, a filter and hookups to your yard-watering system. You are in business, almost. Remember folks, all the water you use outside in the backyard tank you are using a second time, and your cost is very little. No meter charge and no sewer charge.

There are two problems that have to be overcome before this system can be used extensively.

The plumbing code has to be changed to allow this system to be installed in new houses and older construction, and sewer lines leading to city sewers will have to be regulated by a meter system. Only then will you pay once for the water coming onto your property and pay once for the amount of sewage that goes through your sewage meter.

Tthe water from the backyard tank you will be able to use a second time for almost free, and then it will go back into the ground to help feed the water supply way down in the ground. This system, I believe, can save millions of gallons of water that can be left in the ground and save homeowners at least 50 percent off of their water bills.

My only interest in this project is the conservation of water in this dry arid climate.

I believe water conservation has to be combined with water regulation to conserve water for our future generations to have.