MOUNT VERNON — It’s not unusual for the Knox County Water Department to notice irregularities in water usage when out reading meters. In fact, the department is stepping up its efforts to keep an eye on water usage in vacation houses so that unmonitored leaks and breaks don’t turn into more than 100,000 gallons of water flooding an unoccupied home such as that of Joseph and Trinka Kitchen in Apple Valley.
The Kitchens were notified earlier this month that water was pouring out of their Knox County property and the department turned the water off at the meter as soon as it noticed a problem, said Sue McNichols, office manager for the Knox County Water Department.
“When we see something abnormal during a reading we send a serviceman out and see what the problem is,” McNichols said.
Now, servicemen are given daily check sheets for specific vacation properties to make additional inspections.
“We are currently checking the meters of our out-of-town customers,” McNichols said. “This may take a while but if we don’t do this now, we won’t be checking those meters again until March. We’re trying to keep on top of it.”
These checks have already proven successful for a Mount Vernon resident who owns an Apple Valley property. McNichols said a change in water usage was detected during one of the new inspections and the homeowner was very appreciative.
“He just lives in Mount Vernon but you never know when something like this can happen. If we weren’t there making these new checks, we wouldn’t have read the meter again until March,” she said.
Like the Mount Vernon Water Department, the county office can work with consumers who are plagued with severe leaks and breaks. McNichols explained that in situations like the Kitchens, a four-quarter normal average will be figured. Anything above that average will be credited by one-half on both the water and sewer portion of the bill as long as the water does not go down the drain.
The Knox County Water Department provides water and wastewater services to the Howard and Apple Valley areas and wastewater to Pleasant View Acres.