Kankakee citizens are again showing their ignorance and lack of understanding. The latest exercise of these ‘democracy demons’ concerns what they claim to be an unfair surcharge on their water bills by Aqua.
Aqua, with the full legal force of an ordinance passed by city council, is permitted to take a person’s water history into consideration in determining a monthly water and sewage charge.
First of all, this is not in contravention of HIPPA laws as critics of Aqua and the City of Kankakee claim. This process has nothing to do with personal urological heath records. Rather, it merely assesses a resident’s water usage to determine what that resident should pay for disposal of the water or sewage.
Secondly, Aqua has publicly and vigorously denied that it has any intent to monitor the waste products of a home. Critics have pointed out examples of what they considered ‘voyeuristic’ behavior by Aqua waste assessors entering people’s homes to count waste material in toilets or weighing egg shells, potato peelings and food scraps sluiced down garbage disposals.
“Such policies were abandoned because they were not cost effective. Their intent was accurate cost assessment, not to meddle in the private matters of its customers’ waste habits,” said Throckmorton Terwilliger, Jr., head of Aqua’s Waste Assessment department
“We now use complex formulas, a calculus based on water use,” he said and added, “It’s very scientific and uses the months from December through February as a base.”
“Contrary to the wild claims of the opposition, these are not the months when few people are moving, and therefore new tenants in warmer months pay high surcharges. These are the months when slightly frozen sewage moves slowly enough for our monitoring equipment to measure things like its density, rate of flow etc.,” he added.
Accused of not maintaining proper records, an Aqua spokesman explained that while being moved, the safes containing the files plunged in Aqua’s water-filled quarry in a truck accident. “Apparently the waterproof safes dissolved and the files with them,” the spokesman added.
These small-minded citizens have quoted numbers far removed from reality. “It should amount to pennies a day,” Terwilliger averred.
Local Kankakee politicians came to Aqua’s defense: “If people are concerned, they have options that will give them control of their own sewage. They can use hand sanitizers instead of soap and water, use public toilets more often or start a mulch pile,” said one Kankakee politician, her voice barely concealing her righteous anger.
As a sop to the ‘green, pin-headed tree huggers,’ an Aqua spokesman stated, his company has plans to install (after a homeowner pays a capital investment fee) little penstocks in a home’s sewer lines that catch a homeowner’s waste that will spin turbines that will run generators that will make electricity that could go back to the grid and bring in a monthly profit to the homeowner in equal partnership with Aqua and the City of Kankakee.
Other cities have tried it – colorful campaigns have engendered sloganeering: “Flush for Financial Freedom” or “It’s not voodoo to get rich from doo-doo.”
“I know these folks feel they have a right to speak, but just because they have a right doesn’t mean they have a right to exercise it. Why don’t they go back to where they came from like France where they still throw their night soil right into the street! Those (expletive deleted) Commies make me sick.”
Terwilliger then became more wistful and added, “We’re only a water company. People are always demonizing us, but cities like Kankakee have benefited immensely. Look at the gorgeous lake we maintain near our headquarters. We’re business people.”
“As we say at Aqua, we’re your water company and we are proud stewards of your water and our [cash]* flow.”
* bracketed text is added for clarification