FAQ

Frequent Questions From Our Customers

Billing

As a landlord, how can I make sure service is not interrupted when a tenant moves out?

In order to keep service on when a tenant moves out, you will need to fill out an “Owners Agreement”. You may do so by coming in to our office or a customer service rep can fax this to you. This will insure that water is not cut off. It will also keep you from having to fill out a new application for service and be charged a $35.00 new connection fee!

What happens to my $100.00 renter deposit when I move?

If you move and remain within our district, your $100.00 deposit will be transferred to your new service location. If you move outside our district, FUD will apply this deposit toward your last bill.

What will I need to sign up for service?

If you are renting/leasing, you will need to provide a copy of your rental agreement or lease. This will need to have the address you are renting/leasing and date of move in.

If you are purchasing, you will need to provide a sales contract or some other documentation that proves you are purchasing the property. This documentation must include the address of property.

Rental/lease or purchase documentation may be emailed to: 1stutility@fudknox.org or faxed to: 865-675-4029

What are the charges on my first bill?

Your initial bill will include a one-time Service Charge of $35.00. This charge will only appear on the first bill. For more information about this and other charges appearing on your bill, click on the charge in question on our explanatory Sample Bill.

Why is my bill so high?

Most often high bills are a result of increased water use. Changes in outdoor water use, such as watering a new lawn or using a new sprinkler system, are usually responsible for large increases. Reading your water meter before and after watering can help you identify how much you are using.

In most cases an unusually high bill could be the cause of a leak, the most common being a toilet leak. A single “running” toilet can quietly waste over 1,000 gallons of water in a single day. Fortunately, repairing toilet leaks is usually easy and inexpensive. Detecting leaks elsewhere in your plumbing system might reveal other sources of water loss.

Maybe it was a mistake on our part. Although we read our meters with a high degree of accuracy, sometimes we make mistakes. If you suspect that we have misread the meter please call our office at 966-9741. We will gladly check the reading and make any necessary billing corrections.

A $35.00 meter check fee will be charged if a customer requests a check on the accuracy of the meter and the meter is found to be accurate.

Is there any relief from high bill caused by leaks?

If there is a bill in dispute the customer is asked to pay the average monthly amount until the dispute is handled. Please call one of our customer service representatives to discuss our leak adjustment policy.

To review our Leak Adjustment Policy click here.

To be considered for a leak adjustment please fill out the Leak Adjustment Request Form, and submit it via email, mail, or fax? Contact information is provided on the form.

How often do you bill?

Residential and commercial customers are billed once every month.

What is your payment address?

First Utility District of Knox County
P.O. Box 22580
Knoxville, TN 37933

Physical address:
Directions to our office

Backflow Valves and Backflow Preventers

What is a backflow prevention device, and why do I need one?

If a customer has a lawn sprinkler system, for example, the customer is required to install and maintain a backflow prevention device to prevent water system contamination. The device stops water from running back into the system if there’s a drop in pressure or a backpressure situation.

For example, if there’s a fire and the fire department activates hydrants, the change in water pressure could cause water in a sprinkler system to flow backward into the home’s water supply. Fertilizer or bacteria could contaminate the water system for not just the one home, but for others in the neighborhood. In some communities, there have been serious issues because of backflow—including e. coli contamination. (For more details, visit www.backflowdiva.com.)

The Safe Drinking Water Act and state law require homes with irrigation systems to have backflow prevention devices. The law also requires that First Utility District test these devices once a year. The fee for the test is $50, which is the average amount required to cover our costs for administering the program. This test is required by law.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact Jeremy Bailey at 865-777-2518 or email at jbailey@fudknox.org.

Sewer E-1 Pumps

What is an E-1 Pump? Why would I have one?

First Utility District carefully manages sewer connections for its customers, providing maintenance and repairs and educating customers on ways to keep costs low.

There are two basic types of sewer systems. If the property is high enough above the sewer station, the sewer connection is gravity-fed. If it is too low to provide enough pressure, a grinder pump, called an E-1 Pump, is installed in the connection.

We estimate that about two thousand E-1 Pumps are being used by First Utility District Customers. FUD maintains about 2000 pumps.

Many people may not know they have a pump in their system, because it goes unnoticed if it is working properly. If there is a problem with the pump, an alarm will sound—either a buzzer or a beep, depending on the pump model.

If you notice an unexpected alarm noise on your property, check to see if you have an E-1 Pump. If the alarm goes off, notify FUD at (865) 966-9741. We will tell you how to silence the alarm and send a crew to repair it.

In some cases, the repair requires pump replacement, which we do at no additional charge. We will also repair any damage to your yard. Note: Especially with sewer repairs, we may have to wait for the lawn to dry or settle before we can complete repairs; please be patient.

If you are required to have an E-1 pump, there is a $9.00 maintenance fee added to your monthly sewer charges.

 

 

Wastewater treatment

Where does FUD discharge wastewater that’s been treated?

We discharge treated water into the Tennessee River. Our testing shows that our treated water is cleaner than the water that it flows into.

Water quality

Where can I find information about lead contamination?

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) offers information about lead contamination, as well as links to other health agency sites: TDEC Lead and Copper Rule.

What can cause taste or odor in my water?

  • Taste and odors in water are generally due to what the water has come in contact with and not the water itself.  FUD tests both the raw water (before filtering) and the finished water (before being pumped to your home) for many chemicals and substances that can cause taste and odor problems.
  • Residential plumbing consists of metal, plastic, and rubber materials.  Water passes through these materials and can pick up tastes and odors from being in contact with them.  If your water taste or odor is different than your neighbors, the likely cause of the taste or odor is in your private plumbing.
  • Ice that has been sitting for long periods can become stale and can contribute to tastes and odors in water.  Please throw out old ice and clean your ice maker.
  • Allowing the water to run for a minute will sometimes remedy the issues associated with taste and odor problems in residential plumbing.
  • First Utility District is not responsible for a customer’s plumbing.  We cannot repair it for you. You will need to contact a plumber.  FUD operates the water system up to your meter.  All plumbing and fixtures on your side of the meter are your private property and responsibility.

Water Distribution

How can I prepare for cold weather?

Cold winter temperatures bring the threat of frozen pipes.  Make sure you insulate any piping in unheated areas; and don’t forget about your outdoor spigots.  They should also be insulated and covered.  During especially cold weather it’s always a good idea to leave the water running just a bit, and open under-sink cabinet doors to help prevent freezing of water pipes in the home.

If your home will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, you may want to turn off the water supply at the main entrance valve, and drain the pipes.  Be sure to turn off the water heater as well.  If you have a gas water heater, contact your gas supplier.  Water in the toilets should be evacuated and a non-toxic antifreeze placed in the bowl and in all traps.

If you have any questions about how best to winterize your home piping, contact a licensed plumber.

FUD can discontinue water service by turning off the meter, however, this action alone will not prevent frozen pipes.  A $35.00 service charge will apply when service is re-established.

Irrigation Meter – Did you know?

The cost to set a meter for irrigation is $885.00 provided a road crossing is not required. If so, road crossings cost approximately $400.00 on standard residential roads/streets.

Irrigation water is charged at a higher rate than domestic water.

There is a monthly minimum bill when not in use.   Customers have the choice to turn service off (disconnect) at the end of watering season, but will have to fill out an application for service and pay a $35.00 service charge to reconnect in the spring.

The state requires all backflow devices be tested annually. This is done by First Utility. This test is $50.00 and is added to customer’s bill when device is tested.

First Utility does not read/recognize any type of metering unless it belongs to our utility.

Irrigation systems need to be winterized before cold weather begins. This will help ensure that irrigation pipes will not freeze and burst during the winter months.

It is also a good idea to have system inspected by a reputable irrigation company before irrigation begins in the spring/summer months. This is a good time to go over your watering cycles and decide how many days/hours per week you will want to water.