SALEM - Salem Utilities Department customers can expect a new look to their bill this week, with a full-page billing format and no more postcards.
"Don't throw the envelope away," Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said.
For years, customers received a small postcard in the mail for their water and sewer service, but the Utilities Commission approved a contract with a company to print the bills for them in a one-page format which allows them to include more information.
The billing information is still calculated by personnel at the Utilities Department, then sent to the company to print the bills.
In a press release, Assistant Utilities Superintendent Matt Hoopes announced the new full-page billing format would begin with the July 1 billing cycle, estimating customers should receive the new bills today or Monday.
"Customers should be aware that separate delinquent turn-off notices will no longer be mailed. Accounts in delinquent status will be clearly identified on the regular monthly bill," he wrote.
Hoopes also explained that "one of the cost-saving benefits of this upgrade is the ability to include inserts with the customer bills at no additional postage cost to the department. Included with this first billing will be a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) for 2012 as required by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency."
Weingart issued a press release regarding the report, noting "on Aug. 19, 1998, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) promulgated a rule that requires community water systems to prepare and provide an annual 'Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)' to their customers. This action is mandated by the 1996 amendments to the 'Safe Drinking Water Act.' These reports will provide valuable 'Right-To-Know' information for the customers of the community water system."
The press release said the CCR "contains information on the quality of the water delivered by the Salem Public Water Supply System and characterizes any risk from exposure to contaminants in the drinking water, if found."
The report covers results of water testing performed in 2011 and will be mailed as part of the new bill customers receive. Anyone who doesn't receive the report can obtain a copy at the Salem Utilities Department Billing Office located at 231 S. Broadway Ave., Salem.
When asked what the report reveals, Weingart replied, "The water's good."
Besides showing the results of tests, the report explains where the water comes from, what kinds of substances could be in the water and health information regarding water. No violations resulted from the substances detected in the Salem water system, according to the report.
The report said the water comes from surface water drawn from Cold Run Creek, Salem East Cold Run Reservoir, Spring Valley Reservoir and three ground water wells.
Questions about the new billing system or the CCR can be directed to the Utilities Department at 330-337-8723.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at email@example.com