How does it work?

Do I have to connect? If so, how soon? If I don't, what happens?

Why the WSEA and why would I participate?

Aren't there water and/or sewer lines running all over the city, and why can't we just hook up to those lines?

Why does it cost so much for water and/or sewer service?

Why can't the city or JEA hook me up for free?

Why can't JEA's profit from our water and sewer bills be used to pay for these pipes?

Who pays for water and sewer pipes everywhere else?

What if I just don't have the money for all of this? Who pays, how and when?

When a pipe is installed down a street where only 50 percent of the homeowners are paying for the installation, who pays for the extra size of the pipe to serve future residents, or be adequate to provide fire protection flows to fire hydrants when that requires bigger pipe than the domestic needs of the requesting property owners?


 

  • How does it work?
    First, owners will indicate their interest in a project, without any obligation, by completing a project request form so that cost estimates can be developed for a neighborhood or concentration of interested owners. Once the initial costs are estimated, the interested owners will work within their neighborhoods to determine the interest in participating and decide with the group if a project is feasible based on the amount of participation. A project must have at least 50 percent participation in order for it to move forward. The costs will change during this process depending on the design of a system that will provide service to the interested owners, and they will be refined once a group is committed to going forward with a project.
    Once a project is completed, infrastructure will be available to those who committed to participate. The owners who made commitments will have one year to connect to the system(s), unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the WSEA. Those who opted out of the project will be required to complete a deferment application within 365 days of notification of the availability to connect.
    The voluntary participants will immediately begin receiving a bill for the capital charge to pay for the installation of the infrastructure. Once connected, water or sewer service will begin and the monthly bill will include the usage fees for the water and or sewer service in addition to the capital charge.
    Owners may pay for the infrastructure cost up front in a lump sum or finance the costs over a period of up to 30 years (terms of the agreement are based on the cost of the project). The infrastructure costs may be paid off at any time without penalty. When a property is sold, the owner will have the option of paying off the infrastructure or assigning the remaining obligation to the purchaser. There will be recorded legal documents that will run with the property until the amount financed is paid in full. Owners will be required to notify purchasers because a purchaser will have to agree to assume the obligation at the time of sale.

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  • Do I have to connect? If so, how soon? If I don't, what happens?
    As long as your septic tank system is functioning properly, there is no requirement to participate or connect in a project initially. However, you will be required to complete a deferment application should you decide not to participate in the project. In addition, once public sewer infrastructure is available to a property, the health department will require eventual connection when a septic tank fails (and therefore no permits will be issued) or when a property is sold.
    Property owners are not required by the health department to connect to water service.
    Owners will also have the option to participate in the cost of the project but not to connect when the system is available (given that the owner's septic tank system is functioning properly). This will allow owners to begin paying for the main infrastructure but delay connection costs until a septic tank fails or a property is sold.
    A lump sum payment will be required for a later connection to the system for those owners who do not participate in the beginning of the project in addition to the on site costs of connection.
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  • Why the WSEA and why would I participate?
    The WSEA was created in response to continual requests for neighborhood water or sewer lines to the City of Jacksonville, the City Council and JEA. The WSEA provides an option to finance water and/or sewer infrastructure for property owners and neighborhoods who would like to finance the cost over time. JEA's current water and sewer rates do not include money to build new neighborhood infrastructure. In new neighborhoods, developers install the infrastructure and include or pass those costs to the new home buyers. Older neighborhood developers chose not to install water or sewer infrastructure as neighborhoods developed.
    Many owners are located in neighborhoods that have properly functioning septic tanks and have no desire or need to have public sewer lines in their neighborhoods. Many owners also have good wells and well water and do not want to connect to a public system. This option is for areas where septic tanks do not function properly and where well water is not desirable to property owners.
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  • Aren't there water and/or sewer lines running all over the city, and why can't we just hook up to those lines?
    While there are water and/or sewer lines running through many parts of the city, there certainly are not water and sewer lines in all areas of the 840 square miles that make up Jacksonville.
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  • Why does it cost so much for water and/or sewer service?
    Installing the pipes is just one part of developing the system needed to deliver water and/or sewer services. That cost includes disrupting the current streets and removing any existing infrastructure that cannot handle the extra load needed for the additional customers. The engineering and construction costs for water systems typically cost $3,000 - $7,000 per home (or more) and the engineering and construction costs for a sewer system typically range from $7,000 - $20,000 per home (or more) depending on the complexity of the project.
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  • Why can't the city or JEA hook me up for free?
    The water and/or sewer rates are not nearly enough to pay for septic tank and/or well conversions. JEA uses revenues from monthly sewer billing to properly treat and dispose of sewage and maintain existing sewers that were initially paid for by homeowners. To use this monthly billing from existing sewer customers to connect septic tank owners would not be appropriate since it would be using money from homeowners who paid their costs initially to have JEA sewer services connected. JEA would have to raise the rates of all of its customers to raise the capital to extend JEA water and sewer services to new customers. JEA will not inequitably burden its existing customers with the cost for new construction.
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  • Why can't JEA's profit from our water and sewer bills be used to pay for these pipes?
    JEA is a non-profit agency and its rate structure does not incorporate a profit from its customers.
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  • Who pays for water and sewer pipes everywhere else?
    The homeowner pays for the installation of the water and/or sewer. The homebuilder, or developer, initially pays for the installation and then passes the cost on the homebuyer in the cost of the home. These costs include their share of the costs of the sewer piping under the streets throughout the neighborhood.
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  • What if I just don't have the money for all of this? Who pays, how and when?
    The agreement allows for monthly payments over a period of up to 30 years at a low interest rate. The only time that part of the cost will be covered by taxpayers is when an area has been determined to be a sanitary nuisance by the Health Department. In that situation, the customer is still responsible for the connection costs and the monthly usage fee.
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  • When a pipe is installed down a street where only 50 percent of the homeowners are paying for the installation, who pays for the extra size of the pipe to serve future residents, or be adequate to provide fire protection flows to fire hydrants when that requires bigger pipe than the domestic needs of the requesting property owners?
    The cost is borne by the customers in the neighborhood who choose to connect and benefit from the services. As other residents connect to the service down the road because their septic tank system fails or they sell there home, they will be required to pay a portion of the costs of the installation of the pipes, regardless of the date that he/she connected to the service. However, those homeowners who do not participate in the project initially will lose the opportunity to finance and will also lose the cost participation amount originally contributed by the WSEA.
    How will costs be handled for homeowners who, sometime after the pipes are installed and partially paid for by their neighbors, decide to jump on the bandwagon?
    Each homeowner will be required to pay a portion of the costs of the installation of the pipes. Those who do not participate in the project initially who decide to connect later or are forced to connect because of a failing septic tank system or because they sell their home will be required to pay their portion of the costs in a lump sum payment. They will not have the ability to finance the costs over a period of time, and they will also lose the cost participation amount originally contributed by the WSEA.
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