Town of Rock Hall, MD
Kent County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Rock Hall 10-6-1977 by Ord. No. 26. (The provisions of this chapter are derived from Chapter 9 of the former Code of Ordinances of the Town of Rock Hall, adopted 10-6-1977 by Ord. No. 26.) Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Plumbing Board — See Ch. 40.
Utilities Board — See Ch. 61.
Building construction — See Ch. 81.
Fees — See Ch. 102.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 110.
Housing standards and property maintenance — See Ch. 133.
Plumbing — See Ch. 167.
Ponds — See Ch. 171.
Sewers — See Ch. 184.
Water from the system of the Town of Rock Hall may be used for all residential, business, industrial, agricultural and public purposes. The Mayor and Council reserve the right to impose at any time such restrictions on the use of water as in their judgment may appear necessary.
A. 
The office of Water Department Engineer is hereby created. Such officer shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Council, and his compensation shall be determined from time to time by resolution of the Mayor and Council.
B. 
The Water Department Engineer shall be responsible for the operation, maintenance and repair of all facilities of the pumping station, waterworks and water distribution system and perform such other duties and tasks as the Mayor and Council by ordinance or resolution may determine.
A. 
All buildings in which people live or congregate, and such other buildings as the Mayor and Council shall deem necessary, which are on properties located within the corporate limits of the Town of Rock Hall shall be provided with adequate water supply and plumbing fixtures and piping. Where the same do not exist or are not of proper character or are in a state of disrepair, they shall be provided, altered or repaired, as the case may be, in such manner as shall be required and within the time named by notice served by the Mayor and Council upon the property owner or occupant. No such building shall be hereafter erected without being provided with adequate water supply and plumbing arrangements. The existence of or the need for adequate water supply and plumbing arrangements shall be determined by the minimum requirements established by the provisions of this subsection.
B. 
The Mayor and Council may at any time inspect or cause to be inspected existing plumbing systems and require such modifications as may be necessary to put said plumbing in a sanitary condition in accordance with the ordinances, rules and regulations of the Town of Rock Hall.
C. 
When water from the public water supply system shall hereafter become available to additional dwellings or other structures within the Town used as places of human habitation, the Mayor and Council (Utilities Board) shall notify in writing the owner, owners or occupants thereof of the provisions of this chapter.
[Added 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 76-6]
A. 
Whenever the Town shall have extended its water mains so as to be accessible to any property, the property owner shall make connection therewith, in accordance with the water connection regulations, within six months of such extension. The water connections shall be of such size as to adequately serve the number and type of plumbing fixtures or equipment on the premises involved.
[Amended 7-5-1979 by Ord. No. 79-2; 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6]
(1) 
The charge for water shall be based on the measurement of gallons and will conform to the rate schedule currently set in this Code.
(2) 
A special assessment, in the form of a front foot benefit charge based on $0.90 per linear foot, shall be made on all properties abutting the water mains constructed in the Gratitude Area, March 1979, and does not apply to any properties which may have been served by Town water prior to the construction of the Gratitude Water System.
B. 
The property owner or owners of any property served by the Town water service shall be responsible for the maintenance of all water connections from the property line to the main.
C. 
If, due to a change in the use or due to the installation of additional fixtures, the owner requests a larger water building connection, the existing connection shall be disconnected and abandoned at the expense of the owner. The size requested will be checked as to adequacy by the Water Department Engineer, and the owner will be required to install the size connection determined by the Engineer to be adequate for the changed conditions. Installation and construction of the larger connection shall be at the expense of the property owner and subject to the inspection and approval of the work by the Engineer or his authorized representative.
D. 
If the Engineer finds that an existing water connection is too small to serve the number of fixtures connected to it, to such an extent that the existing water meter is being run constantly in excess of its safe rated capacity, the owner shall be notified of the situation and will be required to arrange for the installation of a larger water connection and larger meter adequate for the service needed. If the owner refuses to correct the situation after due notice, the Mayor and Council shall arrange for the disconnection and abandonment of the existing water connection and the installation of a water service and water meter of such suitable size as it shall determine is necessary. The cost of such disconnection, abandonment and installation shall be billed to the owner of the premises involved.
A. 
Whenever a water connection is provided for a property previously served by a well, the well shall be examined to determine whether it is polluted or will be a menace to health. Should such well be found to be polluted or a menace to health, it shall be abandoned and closed in a manner satisfactory to the Mayor and Council.
B. 
No well for household use shall be constructed on property accessible to a public water main.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Section 906 of Chapter 9 of the former Code of Ordinances of the Town of Rock Hall, which immediately followed this section, which dealt with ponds, was included as a separate chapter; see Ch. 171, Ponds.
A. 
Separate water building connections for each separate lot or parcel of land abutting on a street, alley or right-of-way in which there is a water main belonging to the Town of Rock Hall shall be constructed by the owner of said lot or parcel of land from such property line to the building.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6]
B. 
Whenever it shall be determined that a water building connection was constructed in violation of the terms and conditions upon which a permit therefor was issued, the water connection thereto may be cut off at the main until the connections have been made to comply with all of the conditions of said permit or, in the alternative, the Town may, after notice to the property owner, cause the defect to be corrected and charge the expense thereof to said property owner.
C. 
Water connections for properties not abutting directly on a water main may be allowed under such conditions and at such charges as the Mayor and Council may require.
Temporary water service for building or other construction work may be furnished as follows: Upon the filing of proper applications and the payment of a suitable deposit, a temporary water connection may be constructed by the consumer from the main to his service facilities with an outside meter setting installed at the property line. When the consumer has finished the connection, the Mayor and Council will cause the meter to be read and remove the entire connection to the property line. The cost of the removal of the connection plus the meter service charge plus the charge for the water used, computed at the regular consumption rates, will be deducted from the deposit and the remainder, if any, returned to the consumer. If the total charges exceed the deposit, the consumer will be billed for the excess.
A. 
Each building on one lot or parcel of land shall be served by a separate water connection, a "building," for this purpose, being any structure or part thereof intended for single occupancy on the street floor.
B. 
In case it is found that more than one building is being served by the same water building connection in violation of the above regulation, the Mayor and Council shall take action to correct such violation under the following procedure:
(1) 
The owner of the property involved shall be notified by certified or registered United States Mail that the violation exists and that the situation must be corrected by a given date.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6]
(2) 
If the owner does not comply with the above notice, the Engineer shall shut off the water and remove the water meter serving such property until the situation is corrected to his satisfaction, at which time water service will be resumed after payment of all costs to which the Town may be subjected in the above matter.
(3) 
If the property owner refuses to comply with the above order, the Town shall take such further legal action as is provided by law.
C. 
The water service pipes for any building, lot, premises or establishment shall not be laid over or through any other building, lot, premises or establishment, except in an approved right-of-way or easement, and no person shall connect or cause to be connected any building, lot, premises or establishment with the water service pipe belonging to or supplying any other building, lot, premises or establishment. However, this regulation shall not prevent a dwelling with a private garage upon the rear of the same lot or parcel of land from being supplied by the same service pipe; but if the garage is converted wholly or partially into a dwelling or place of business, a separate connection shall be installed under such conditions as the Mayor and Council may require.
D. 
A single trailer located on a lot or parcel of land will not be permitted to be connected to the water mains unless the trailer installation is in compliance with all local, state and federal laws or regulations governing the same. It will then be considered a single residence under these regulations.
E. 
Commercial establishments required to have and maintain fire sprinkler systems may be granted an additional water connection by the Utilities Board for the purpose of providing water to such sprinkler system for fire suppression. All fees and charges associated with the permitting, installation and use of a primary water connection shall apply to an additional water connection under this subsection, except that the additional meter will not be read quarterly and the minimum use charge shall not apply.
[Added 10-14-1999 by Ord. No. 99-04]
A. 
A structure under single ownership but so divided as to provide for more than single occupancy on the street floor may be permitted a single connection by special permit under such conditions as the Mayor and Council may require.
B. 
A group of public, ecclesiastical, educational, charitable, club, farm or industrial buildings under one ownership and on a single tract of ground, which may consist of a group of lots or a single parcel, may be served by one connection under such conditions as the Mayor and Council shall determine. Shopping centers, apartment developments, tourist camps, motels, trailer coach parks and similar groups under one ownership, located on a single tract of ground as above, may be served by a single connection.
A. 
The Town shall furnish with each permit for each primary water connection upon the payment of the fee hereinafter prescribed a primary water meter of a size and type deemed suitable by the Engineer for the installation contemplated. The primary water meter shall remain under the ownership of and will be maintained by the Town of Rock Hall. To defray the cost of such primary meter, the supervision of installation and the maintenance thereof, there shall be charged a fee in such amount as the Mayor and Council shall by resolution provide.
[Amended 7-7-1994 by Ord. No. 94-5]
B. 
Certain commercial establishments, subject to approval by the Utilities Board, may have second or third meters installed, referred to as "secondary meters," to provide relief from sewer charges for water usage that does not enter the sanitary sewer system. Secondary meters shall be of a size and type deemed suitable by the Town for the installation contemplated. The secondary meters shall be under the ownership of the property owner, and the cost, installation and maintenance thereof shall be the sole responsibility of the property owner.
[Added 7-7-1994 by Ord. No. 94-5[1] ]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided for the relettering of Subsections B through F to become Subsections C through G, respectively.
C. 
The Engineer shall determine the size and type of any water meter and the type and location of the settings. Outside meter settings will be used, except where obstructions or other considerations require that they be placed inside the building, in which case they shall be set as the Water Department Engineer shall require. When the water meter is set inside the cellar of the building, the property owner will be held responsible for the protection of the meter from injury due to freezing. Repairs and replacements of a meter so damaged shall be at the expense of the property owner.
D. 
The outside meter housing or the curb box must be installed so that the top is on the ground surface of the permanent grade and within the public right-of-way whenever possible. In order to accomplish this, one of the following methods will be followed.
(1) 
Where the curb and sidewalk do not exist, the property owner shall indicate the final grade of the ground surface at which an outside meter setting or a curb box is to be placed and the structure will be set at the grade given when it is installed. The water house connection shall not be installed until such grade is given. If the grade or location of the meter setting or the curb box is changed due to a change in elevation of the ground from that originally indicated, the property owner shall bear the expense of such change in grade or location.
(2) 
Where the curbs and sidewalks exist, the top of the meter housing shall be placed at the straight line grade between the back of the curb and the street edge of the sidewalk.
E. 
It shall be unlawful for any person not specifically authorized by the Mayor and Council to interfere with, remove, replace or tamper with a meter or a meter seal.
F. 
No connection shall be made to any water service pipe between the water main and the meter, except such bypass as the Town may install. If such unlawful connection is found, the water house connection will be cut off at the main until such unlawful connection is disconnected and abandoned. Any expense to which the Town shall be subjected due to the above work shall be paid for before service is restored.
G. 
If it is found that such unlawful connection has been made to bypass a detector check in order to illegally obtain unmetered water, the detector check will be removed and replaced by a suitable meter. Such removal and replacement shall be paid for before service is restored.
A. 
All new services shall be connected through meter only.
B. 
When repairs to or replacement of any existing service occurs, a meter shall be installed.
C. 
The Rock Hall Utilities Board reserves the right to meter any supply of water to any property when, in its opinion, conditions warrant the installation of a meter.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6]
D. 
All water furnished by meter measurements and all water passing through any meter shall be paid for according to meter readings at the rate specified, whether used or wasted. However, if at any time the meter fails to register, the water consumption for such period may be charged for by using the reading of the same quarter of the previous year.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Section 912e, which immediately followed this section and was a duplication of § 220-17A, was deleted at time of adoption of Code 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6 (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
E. 
On all metered water supply service, each and every quarter shall be a complete period in itself.
F. 
The Mayor and Council reserve the right to limit the size of any water meter to be installed. No meter larger than 3/4 inch shall be installed in any dwelling.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6; 4-23-1981 by Ord. No. 81-3]
A. 
The property owners/owner/applicant is responsible for the maintenance of all water connections from the meter/meters to the building line and all lines, piping and fixtures in the building and on the property itself. The owner/owners/applicant is responsible for all leaks, broken lines, broken fixtures, leaking fixtures and any other causes which would cause a loss of water. The owner/owners/applicant is responsible for any and all charges resulting from leaks, including sewer charges. It is the owner/owners/applicant's responsibility to locate the leaks and have them repaired at his/her own expense, and owner/owners/applicant is responsible for all water charges resulting from leaks from the meter to the building line and in the building and on the property itself, as well as normal water charges. The Town may do maintenance or repairs on such connections if requested by the owner/owners/applicant, in writing. However, the cost, including overhead expenses, shall be paid by the property owner/owners/applicant. However, before the Town begins such repairs, the owner/owners/applicant must deposit with the Clerk-Treasurer an amount of 60% of the approximate cost of repairs, and the balance is due upon the completion of repairs, and the moneys due become a lien upon the property, collectible in the same manner as delinquent taxes.
B. 
All pipes and appurtenances on private property shall be maintained by and at the expense of the property owner. The Town may do maintenance or repair work on private property, in which case the cost, including overhead expenses, shall be paid by the property owner.
C. 
In the event of a complaint regarding a leak, the Town will at once determine if the leak is in the public way, in which case the leak will then be repaired. If it is found that the leak is not the Town's responsibility, the owner will be so notified, and it shall be his responsibility to have the leak repaired at once by a master plumber at the owner's expense, or, if necessary, the Town may perform such repair work. However, the cost, including overhead expenses, shall be paid by the property owner.
Where necessary, the Town will repair or renew from the main to the property line any water building connection, and at such time a water meter will be installed should such property not yet be served by a meter.
A. 
No person other than an authorized employee of the Town or a member of a Fire Department acting under orders of his proper superior in the performance of his duties may operate a fire hydrant unless in possession of a permit from the Mayor and Council to do so.
B. 
Fire hydrants may not be used for flushing or for any other purpose except by special written permission of the Mayor and Council for the time and at the location specified. If such permission is granted, the water used shall be charged for at the prevailing water rates.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to use, handle, tamper with, obstruct, interfere with, deface or destroy any of the property of the Town of Rock Hall, including pipes, fittings, fire plugs, pumps, engines, appliances, wires or other fixtures or equipment owned or used by the Town in the construction and operation of its water systems, except under such rules and regulations as the Mayor and Council may adopt.
Any employee or agent of the Town shall have the right of entry, at all reasonable hours, upon any private premises and into any building within the corporate limits of the Town of Rock Hall while in the pursuit of his official duties, and any restraint or hindrance offered to such entry by any owner or tenant or agent of said owner or tenant shall be a misdemeanor punishable as hereinafter prescribed.
The Town shall from time to time establish by resolution a water consumption charge and impose such penalties for delinquent payment of charges as it deems proper.
A. 
Each meter is the property of the Rock Hall Utilities Board and at all times subject to its control and inspection, and where any meter is located on or within any private property, building or premises, the Rock Hall Utilities Board shall have the right to enter the same at all reasonable hours for the purpose of examining, repairing, replacing or removing said meter or to take meter readings.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6]
B. 
Any meter injured from hot water backing or cold weather and freezing or from any cause directly or indirectly attributable to the owner or occupant will be renewed or repaired at the expense of said owner or occupant.
C. 
Unless a property owner gives instructions, in writing, to the Rock Hall Utilities Board, the owner of the property will be billed for water services. Should, however, the property owner so notify the Utilities Board, the occupant of the property will be billed as follows: When there is more than one family unit[1] in a dwelling and the average water bill per family unit is no greater than the minimum charge, each occupant will be charged the minimum rate. If the average water bill per family unit exceeds the minimum rate, however, then that amount in excess of the minimum rate will be charged to the owner.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Subsection N of this section.
D. 
If at any time the meter fails to register or shall be found defective in registering since the last previous reading, the water consumption for such period may be charged for by using the same quarter of the past year.
E. 
All bills for the use of the water shall be a charge against the owner or owners of the property served with water, whether occupied by such owner or not, be the supply by meter or flat charge.
F. 
No rebate or discount shall be allowed upon any bill by reason of the property becoming vacant.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6]
G. 
On all metered water supply services, each and every quarter shall be a complete period in itself, and no excess consumption of water during one quarter shall be charged against the minimum charge or rate or be added to the consumption of any other quarter or quarters.
H. 
Charges.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6]
(1) 
The charge for water by measurement shall be as provided in Chapter 102, Fees.
(2) 
The following rates shall apply to all consumers living outside of the corporate limits of the Town:
[Amended 2-4-1988 by Ord. No. 88-2; 12-6-1990 by Ord. No. 90-2]
(a) 
Residential: a water service fee to be two times the in-Town rate.
(b) 
Commercial: a water service fee to be two times the in-Town rate.
(c) 
In the case of a bulk-sale or a similar arrangement between the Town and another local government, the Town may deviate from the rates provided in Subsection H(2)(a) and (b) as necessary to provide Town water pursuant to a written agreement with another local government.
[Added 6-8-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-02]
I. 
All property owners, if they tamper in any way with water hookups or meters may be subject to a fine not exceeding $100 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6]
J. 
Payment; payment schedules.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6; 9-5-1996 by Ord. No. 96-03; 10-10-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-02]
(1) 
All bills are due and payable upon receipt and shall become delinquent 30 days after the billing date and will bear a five-percent penalty after that date. Payments must be received in and by the Town Office prior to the expiration of 30 days after billing date to avoid assessment of penalties.
(2) 
The Utilities Board, in its sole and absolute discretion and on a case-by-case basis, may authorize and approve an alternative payment schedule for any quarterly bill. Any portion of a bill that remains outstanding shall not be considered delinquent so long as payments are timely made under an alternative payment schedule. The failure to timely remit any payment when due under an alternative payment schedule shall result in the outstanding portion of the bill being considered delinquent and subject to the penalties therefor as set forth in this chapter. The Mayor and Council may provide, by ordinance, for interest and/or administrative fees associated with alternative payment schedules for quarterly bills.
K. 
The property owner or owners of any property served by the Town water service shall be responsible for the maintenance of all water connections from the meter into the dwelling or business establishment.
L. 
If a water bill is not paid within 30 days of the billing date, the Town shall notify the owner of the property served, in writing, that such bill is in arrears and that water service will be discontinued. Such notice shall be conspicuously posted on the owner's property or sent via regular mail to the owner's last known address. Subsequent to providing such notice, the Town shall discontinue water service to the property until the owner pays the bill, the late fee pursuant to Subsection J and reconnection charge set forth in Chapter 102, Fees. All water bills, late fees and reconnection charges unpaid after 60 days from the billing date shall be collectible from the property owner in the same manner and subject to the same interest as taxes are collectible in the Town and shall be a first lien on the property served.
[Amended 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6; 8-11-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-02]
M. 
All properties shall be subject to water bills, including tax exempt properties, with the exception of the Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company and property owned by the Town of Rock Hall.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Subsection O of Section 918 of Chapter 9 of the former Code of Ordinances of the Town of Rock Hall, which immediately followed this section, concerning the billing of properties that are vacant for three months, was deleted 8-10-1979 by Ord. No. 79-6.
N. 
A family dwelling unit is deemed to be one or more rooms with provision for living, sanitary, sleeping, cooking and eating facilities arranged for the use of one family or individual. A business owned and operated by a property owner who has his living quarters in the same building is deemed to be one unit.
O. 
Any use of municipal water for the purpose of manufacturing a product from that water, of whatever type, will pay double in-Town rates.
[Added 2-4-1988 by Ord. No. 88-2]
P. 
Flat rate water charges for a property shall accrue upon the Town's issuance of a plumbing permit for said property. Flat rate minimum quarterly water charges, as established in Chapter 102, Fees, will continue in effect from this time forward, regardless of the status of the property.
[Added 7-7-1994 by Ord. No. 94-5]