What is an ESA?
ESA stands for Extended Service Agreement. Years ago, the District’s permanent water main system was not nearly as widespread through the District as it is today. As a convenience to certain property owners, the District allowed them to enter into Extended Service Agreements with the District, whereby they would be allowed to connect to a permanent water main some distance from their property—sometimes hundreds and in some cases, thousands of feet. The Extended Service Agreement is recorded against the title of the property, and runs with the property. Extended Service Agreements provide temporary water service until permanent service is available. When permanent service becomes available, the District terminates ESA’s
Why does the District refuse to allow new ESA’s?
In the mid-1980’s King County government recognized that spaghetti lines running within the right-of-way presented a problem with maintenance. When the District updated its Comprehensive Water Plan in the late 1980’s, the District was required to adopt a policy prohibiting the issuance of new ESA’s. Since June 1987, the District has not been able to allow new ESA’s. Spaghetti lines are the responsibility of individual property owners. When these lines break, property owners often find it very difficult to locate and repair these lines. In addition, the lack of permanent water mains to properties usually means that fire protection is not available to those properties. The District’s present policy requiring the extension of permanent water mains allows the permanent water system to be extended in a logical and reasonable fashion. Finally, there is the issue of equity. Property owners who have ESA’s have not paid their fair share for the District’s water system. In other words, properties, which have permanent water mains, which were constructed through ULID’s, have paid their share for the construction of the water system through assessments, and properties that have permanent water mains, which were constructed through Developer Extension Agreements, have paid their share for the water main construction at the time they purchased the property.
I have had a spaghetti service ever since I moved into my house. I am perfectly happy with my spaghetti line. Why do I need to convert to “permanent service” when I am already satisfied with my water service?
Your spaghetti line is a temporary service. In accordance with the ESA agreement, which is recorded against your property, the District will terminate your temporary service when a permanent main is installed to your property.
How much is the fee for the new permanent service?
The Board of Commissioners sets the fee. This fee represents your fair share of the cost of the new permanent water main. The current ESA Connection Charge is $2,625.00. In addition, you will be required to pay a one-time charge to the District for the relocation of your water meter to the new permanent location.
Is this project a ULID?
No. This project is construction through a Developer Extension Agreement or a District Capital project. The District no longer uses the ULID process to construct water mains, especially if ESA’s are located in the vicinity.
What happens if I do not wish to pay this charge?
If you choose not to pay, the District will terminate your temporary service in accordance with our Extended Service Agreement. At such time, you may seek another source of water. Should you wish to reconnect to the permanent main at some future time, you would need to pay the connection charge, in addition to any other connection charges in effect at the time.
Will the District allow me to drill a well?
You will need to contact the King County Health Department to determine whether you will be permitted to drill a well. The District will advise the Health Department that public water service is available when the permanent main has been installed.
When do I need to pay for the permanent service?
The ESA Connection Charge and the meter relocation charges are due within 60 days from the time the District notifies you that your ESA is being terminated. This notification is given after the permanent water main has been placed in service and accepted by the District.
Do I need to pay this amount in a lump sum?
No. The District will allow you to pay the connection charge over a 10-year period, in annual payments, at an interest rate equal to the Municipal Bond Index Rate plus one percent. However, if you wish, you may pay the charge in a lump sum.
Where will the water mains be installed?
The District requires permanent water mains be installed either within the City or County right-of-way, or within an easement dedicated to the District. If you live on a private road, and the developer’s property is also on that private road, the water main may be constructed on that private road and the District will require an easement for the water main. In any event, the actual location of the water main can only be determined during the project design. Water mains may be located under paved or gravel roads and shoulders or outside of roads. No permanent structures may be constructed over the water main, although, you may have a fence crossing the main.
What is the water main constructed of, and how big is it? Can the developer construct a smaller water main?
The District’s standard for water main construction is Class 52 ductile iron pipe. We require 8-inch minimum diameter water mains for all water mains which serve fire hydrants. This size is required in order to carry sufficient water to the hydrant to fight potential fires. Only in the case of a dead-end water main where there is no hydrant, will the District allow the installation of a smaller water main. In this case, the District would require a 6-inch diameter water main.
Will I have better water pressure after this project is completed?
Not necessarily. Water pressure is determined by the elevation of your property and the pressure in the District’s water system. If your spaghetti line is under 300 feet or so, you may not notice any difference. However, if you have a very long spaghetti line, or a very small diameter (under 1-inch) spaghetti line, you may notice better flow into your home.
Why does the District require a fire hydrant on this project? How many hydrants are required? Doesn’t this add to the cost of the project?
The District’s standards call for fire hydrants to be located every 600 feet in residential areas and 300 feet in commercial and industrial areas. These requirements are slightly more stringent than the requirements under King County Code 17.07. The County requires hydrants to be located not more than 700 feet on center and hydrants shall be located so that no single-family lot is more than 350 feet from a hydrant. If the Fire Marshall determines that more stringent requirements than the District’s apply in any given case, the more stringent requirements will govern. Fire hydrants are provided for your protection. You may wish to check with your insurance carrier to find out if a closer fire hydrant has any affect on your insurance premiums.
What happens if the developer tears up the road, driveway or landscaping during construction?
When a developer disturbs an existing road, driveway, landscaping, rockery, fence, mailbox or other such improvements during the installation of a water main, the District requires those improvements to be restored at least to the condition they were in prior to construction. If the improvements are in an easement, the District requires the developer to obtain an easement release from the property owner stating that the restoration work has been completed to the property owner’s satisfaction.
If you have any questions or require additional information regarding ESA conversions, please feel free to contact our Senior Engineering Technician.