Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find helpful information that every citizen and utility customer of Marshall should know. New Residents and utility customers to Marshall should come in to City Hall to sign up for electric, gas, water and sewer services. New residents' will be given a package of general information to acquaint you with our community.
About City Hall
About Your Utility Bill
Utility Relate FAQ's
About City Hall
About Your Utility Bill
- If you live in the NE part of the utility system bills are issued on the 8th of every month.
- If you live in the SW part of the utility system bills are issued on the 15th of every month.
- If you live in the SE part of the utility system bills are issued on the 22nd of every month.
- If you live in the NW part of the utility system bills are issued on the 28th of every month.
What if I did not receive my utility bill in the mail? Your account is billed on a regular basis every month. If you do not receive your bill call City Hall immediately. Failure to receive the bill does not exempt utility customers from their responsibility to make payments.
What if I'm away and can't pay my bill on time? The City allows one late payment without a penalty per 12 month period, however, to avoid that late payment penalty, payments must be made at City Hall by the due date. If your bill is not paid by the due date a 10% penalty charge is added to your utility bill.
What methods of payment does the City accept? The City accepts payments online, cash, check, or money order. Click here for more information, Payment Options.
Do I need to notify the City when I move out? Yes, in advance of moving out. It is necessary that you contact City Hall to close out your account. This may be done either in person, by phone or by sending a letter stating the date you want your account closed and where to send the final bill. You will be responsible for payment of services through the date of your closing.
What happens if my utilities are turned off for non-payment? Service will be restored upon payment of the entire balance due, including a disconnect/reconnect fee.
Disconnect /Reconnect Fees:
Reconnection during the hours of 7am - 3:30pm Monday - Friday excluding holidays is $25.00 per meter.
Reconnection at all other times is $100.00 per meter.
What if I feel my water bill is too high? Simply call City Hall and we will have the meter reader check your reading and the leak indicator on your water meter. If it appears that you have a leak the meter reader will leave you a door hanger notifing you of the condition or someone from City Hall will give you a call.
Is there an additiional cost when I fill my swimming pool? Yes. You will need to use a Sewer Deduct Meter. Click here for the rules of an Sewer Deduct Meter.
Utility Relate FAQ's
Who do I call to have my underground utilities located? Digging Responsibly is the Only Way to Dig. The impact of unsafe or careless digging practices is real and often costly-in terms of personal injury and damage to underground lines, property and the environment. According to state law, anyone planning an outdoor project that requires any type of excavation, regardless of depth, should call JULIE first at 1-800-892-0123.
What Is JULIE?
JULIE, Inc. (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators), also known as the “Illinois One-Call System,” is a not-for-profit corporation that provides contractors/excavators, homeowners, and others who may be disturbing the earth, with a free service through a single toll-free phone number (1-800-892-0123) to call for the locating and marking of underground utility facilities. JULIE is not a utility. JULIE owns no facilities and does not locate underground facilities. JULIE serves as a message handling service for utilities, taking information about planned excavations and distributing this information to its utility membership. It is then the responsibility of each utility to mark the location of their underground facilities at the excavation site.
Necessary Information for Each Call
Safe digging starts when you contact JULIE. According to state law, the person actually doing the digging is required to make the call to JULIE with the locate request information at least 48 hours (two working days, excludes weekends and holidays) in advance of the start of excavation. If a contractor is doing the work for you, suggest that they make the call to JULIE for their protection. Illinois Law also requires that you start your project within 14 days from your call to JULIE. If the markings become unclear at any time before or during your project, please call JULIE to have the markings refreshed and be prepared to wait an additional 48 hours. If possible, mark the area where you will be digging with white paint or flags. This will help the utility locator properly identify your project area. Do not call JULIE on Saturday or Sunday for a project to be marked on the same weekend. Member companies only respond to emergencies on these days--not routine projects. When you call, be prepared to give the JULIE operator the following information: Your name, address, and a phone number at which you can be reached, a fax or pager number. (This is essential in case the utility has questions. Delays may occur if the utility locator is unable to contact you.); The county and city OR county and unincorporated township name where you will be digging. (If you are digging in an unincorporated area be prepared to give the operator directions, such as 2 miles southeast of Springfield, IL); The location at which the excavation will take place, which may include but not be limited to, address, cross street (within 1/4 mile), subdivision name (if it applies), etc.; The start date and time of the planned excavation; The type and extent (size of excavation area) of the work involved, including if white paint, flags and/or stakes were used to outline the proposed excavation area; and Section and quarter-section numbers from your plat of survey if available. At the end of your call, the JULIE operator will verify all the information you have given. It is very important to listen and make sure it is correct. The operator will then give you a Dig Number. This number is proof of your call to JULIE. It is important that you write it down and keep it with your records. If you need to call back for any reason, such as to refresh the marks on your project, you will need this Dig Number.
What Happens After the Call
Within two working days of your call to JULIE, a representative from each member utility company (not a JULIE staff person) will mark the location of their underground facilities with paint and/or flags at the excavation site. (See APWA approved Utility Markings Color Chart.) The utilities are only required to mark the facilities that they own, not privately installed lines or facilities such as house to garage or out buildings, gas grills, pool heaters, etc. You have an obligation to honor all time/marking requirements and then to dig in a reasonable and prudent manner, taking precautions to avoid damaging underground facilities. It is recommended that you follow current industry practices, such as hand digging within 18 inches on either side of a marked facility (see graphic).
Most locators will not enter your yard if pets are present or if a gate is locked. Make sure your property is accessible. Delays may occur if the locator is unable to mark the area.
Can I turn my water meter on or off? No. A City employee will do this for you at no cost. The water meter is the property of the City and damages to the meter could be charged to you. Call the Utility Office at (217) 826-8087 or after hours, call the emergency number (217) 826-8084 and an on-call City employee will be notified and dispatched.
How do I check for a water leak? Turn off all water in and outside of your house. DO NOT TURN OFF THE MAIN SHUT OFF VALVE.
CHECKING FOR LEAKS
1. Determining if there is a leak in the home.
a) Locate and look at your water meter and take notice if the small triangle on the face of the meter. Is it moving? If no water is being used, there would be no movement
of this triangle. If the triangle is moving, there is a leak in the home or in your service line.
2. Locating the leak in the home.
From our experience, ninety percent of the leaks in residential plumbing systems are found at the toliet tank. To check for a leak do the following:
a) If you have checked the meter and the triangle is spinning, you then should go to all the toilet(s) in the property and shut them off at their shut off valves. Recheck the
meter to determine if this stops the triangle from spinning. If it does, then proceed to turn on, one at a time, the toilet(s) at their shut off valves until you can determine
which one is causing the triangle to spin. OR
b) Drop a few drops of food coloring in the tank (the back) of the toilet and wait a few minutes. Do not flush the toilet. If the food coloring makes it's way down to the bowl of
the toilet there is a leak. When the toilet is running properly there will be no food coloring in the bowl.
c) Check all faucets and spigots in or on the property to verify they are properly shut off.
d) Other possibilities for inside leaks are malfuncationing water softeners and humidifiers.
3. Locating the leak in your service line.
If you have completed the steps above and have found that you do not have any water running in side the property and all outside faucets are off shut off the main shut off
valve coming into the building. If the triangle is still moving it is likely that you have a leak in your service line and you will need to contact a plumber to have this confirmed
IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE YOUR LEAKS REPAIRED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO AVOID HIGH WATER/SEWER BILLS SINCE THESE BILLS ARE CALCULATED BASED ON THE CONSUMPTION REFLECTED BY THE METER READINGS.
What do I do if I have low water pressure? First, check the strainers (aerators) on the faucets. Make sure they are cleaned out. Next, check flow outside, at the hose bib (spigot). If you have a water softener, put it on bypass, and see if the pressure picks up. If none of these steps help you may need to check for a leak.
What are the Cities responsibilities for water line repairs? The City is responsibility for the main lines, service lines from the main to the meter, and meter up to the point of the customer's service line connection to the meter.
What are the Cities responsiblities for sewer line problems? The City is responsible for the sewer main lines. Service lateral lines, building service lines are the responsibility of the property owner.
What do I do if I have a sewer backup? If a backup occurs in the building, first check to see if it backs up only when you use your facilities such as stool, tub, washer or sinks. If so, it is a possibility that you need a plumber. If you have sewage backing up when you have not used any of the facilities, it is a possibility that it is the City main. Locate your building sewer line clean out, outside the house. Hint: Most cleanouts are in the line with the three or four inch vent pipe on the roof. (This is the biggest pipe on the roof). Open up the cap. See if there is any water in the clean out. This will tell you if the problem is inside. If a blockage in the private building sewer is the cause of the sewer backup, it is the responsibility of the property owner to clear the blockage. (The private building sewer extends from the interior plumbing of the building to where the pipe connects to the public sewer main, most frequently located at the center of the street or alley.) There are various private firms listed under septic tanks and systems – cleaning, sewer cleaners or sewer contractors, in the Yellow Pages who are equipped to remove the blockage from your private building sewer. In the event that any of these actions are not successful in removing the blockage from the private building sewer, it is possible that the private building sewer has collapsed. This is true especially if your sewer was installed during the period from around 1950 through around 1970 when bituminous fiber pipe (commonly known “Orangeburg”) was installed in most residential areas. Orangeburg is a paper type pipe impregnated with tar and pressed togeather. It is susceptible to damage by tree roots and has a tendency to collapse with age. (The City does not have a record of what type of pipe material residences actually have!) At this point the property owner may require the services of a qualified contractor to repair or replace the private building sewer. If you feel that it is a blockage in the City main, call the Utility Department at (217) 826-8087 during working hours after hours call (217) 826-8084. Sewer Maintenance personnel will contact you as soon as possible, so be sure to leave your name, address and telephone number. (Emergency Dispatch takes these calls after normal working hours) The City Sewer Maintenance crews will first check the public sewer main to determine if it is causing your sewer backup. If the public main is operating normally, indications are that your private building sewer is the cause of the sewer backup. The emergency crew will immediately attempt to notify the property owner or the residents of this fact.
What can I do to prevent sewer backups? If you have experienced backups from your building sewer, you might consider the installation of backup devices, which may be installed by your qualified plumbing company or contractor. They can assist you in the best methods and products. Do no plant trees and shrubs over the private building sewer. The roots of trees, particularly Silver Maple and Willow trees will seek out the joints of the sanitary sewer and eventually clog the pipe. Do not put large amounts of vegetable waste, such as pea pods and tomato skins, through the garbage disposal at one time. Even though these materials will go through the garbage disposal, they may clog the private building sewer. This also applies to large amounts of grease and paint, which will build up in the building sewer over a period of time eventually causing a blockage. Keep lint traps in the sinks, which drain washing machines in place. It is easier to clean out the lint traps than it is to clean out the building sewer. If the building sewer serves a commercial establishment in which a grease trap is required, the grease trap should be cleaned periodically to prevent the solids from bypassing into the building sewer. If you smell sewer gas, check to see if all sewer traps are filled with water and check to see if the cap on the sewer cleanout is on tight. If the gas smell persists, call your plumber and have your system checked.
There's an odor inside my house, what is it? The odor could be from a natural gas leak or from sewer gasses. If it is a natural gas leak, leave immediately and contact the utility department at 217-826-8084 from a neighbors phone. If you smell sewer gas, check to see if all sewer traps are filled with water and check to see is the cap on the sewer cleanout is tight. If the trap is dry, pour at least 4 cups of water into the line to provide a seal in the U of the drain, preventing the sewer gas odors from entering the house. If the sewer gas smell persists, call your plumber and have your system checked.
How can I detect a gas leak? The smell is the best way to detect a gas leak. Because natural gas has no odor, The City of Marshall adds mercaptan a harmless odorant to natural gas, so that you will recognize its distinct “rotten egg” smell if there is a leak.
What should I do if I smell gas inside a building? The following is a list of procedures to follow should you ever detect the smell of gas within your home or business. Following these steps will help ensure your safety as well as others.
1. Do not turn on or off any electrical switches or devices.
2. Extinguish all open flames. Do not use matches, cigarettes, or lighters.
3. Leave the building immediately. Open doors and windows as you exit the building.
4. Evacuate to a safe distance.
5. Call The City of Marshall Utiltiy Office at (217) 826-8084 (This is a 24 hour number).
6. Provide The City of Marshall Utility Office with:
i. Your name and call back number
ii. The address or location of reported gas odor
iii. Description of where the odor is detected, for example, in the kitchen, outside by the gas meter, etc…
What should I do if I smell gas outside a building? Notify The City of Marshall Utility Office at (217) 826-8084 and provide the following information:
1. Your name and call back number
2. The address or location of reported gas odor
3. Description of where the odor is being detected
Do Not contact us via this Web site about a gas emergency.
What causes carbon monoxide? An appliance could give off carbon monoxide if:
The heat exchanger is cracked.
The vent hood, pipes or flues are blocked or corroded.
The unit is installed or adjusted improperly.
Boxes, laundry or other materials are blocking the base, restricting oxygen flow.
It's used incorrectly (e.g., heating a room with a gas stove).
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, have your gas appliance checked by a service technician regularly.
How do I know if my gas connectors are safe? If it's been more than 15 years since your gas appliance (especially an oven or clothes dryer) was installed or inspected, call a service technician to check the connectors and replace them if necessary.
Is it OK to heat a room with a gas stove during a power outage? No! Using a gas appliance improperly can cause it to take in too much oxygen from the air, leading to asphyxiation, or not enough oxygen, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. The same holds true for space heaters that burn fuel like propane or kerosene - these should never be used in an enclosed room. Never use a charcoal or propane grill indoors either. The best way to stay warm during a power outage is wearing layers of clothing and blankets. A wood-burning fireplace or stove is also an option, but make sure it's in good working order.
How long will food stay fresh in the refrigerator or freezer if the power goes out? Refrigerated food will stay cold up to six hours; frozen food will keep for about two days if the door is not opened. If the outage is prolonged, pack refrigerated items in a styrofoam or insulated cooler surrounded by ice. When the power comes back on, use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food - if it's less than 40 degrees, it's safe to keep. If frozen foods still have ice crystals, they can safely be refrozen.
How do you decide who gets power back first during a blackout? Electric companies like The City of Marshall follow an “outage protocol” when responding to storms:
1. Protect public safety by clearing downed lines and making sure police and fire departments and health related services have power.
2. Check generation facilities to determine if the original power source is still working.
3. Repair transmission lines that carry electricity from the generating station to the substations.
4. Repair substations that take high-voltage power from the transmission lines and reduce the voltage for home use.
5. Repair distribution lines that carry the electricity from substations to various neighborhoods.
6. Reconnect lines to individual customers – the most difficult and time-consuming step.
If your power goes out, call the Utility Office right away – every call helps pinpoint the source of the problem.
Why is it so dangerous to use candles during a power outage? The risk of fire is too great. If you must use candles, be sure to place them on a stable surface away from flammable materials, and keep a close eye on children and pets. NEVER leave a candle burning when you go to sleep or leave the house.
Who do I call to report a street light out? Street light outage reports should be called into the Utility department at (217) 826-8087. It will be required to give the location of the pole and helpful if you include the number on the pole. (The number is black on yellow background)
What do I do with leaves and other yard waste? Residents are requested to take advantage of the yardwaste program. Vines, brush, grass clippings and leaves can be placed in paper bags and will be picked up by the City. Please call the Utility Office to schedule a pick up. Normal pick up days are Thursday and Friday.
Is it true that you give away free mulch? Due to the City trimming trees around the electric lines and removing dead or dangerous trees from the City Right-of-Way or around the primary overhead electric lines the City accumulates a large amount of wood waste. This wood waste combined with the material picked up through the leaf and yard waste pickup program is run through a chipper creating woodchip mulch. As the woodchip mulch fibers break down, the chips create a healthy compost that adds vital nutrients to the soil. This is excellent for area gardens or around tree bases. Best of all, the woodchip mulch is free of charge. Just call the utility office and schedule a mulch pick up. By utilizing this resource, residents save money, recycle nutrients back into the earth.
How do I get my sidewalk replaced? If your sidewalk is in need of repair, please call the Utility Department in late Spring to get on the list for inspection. The inspection will be conducted prior to being placed on the repair / replace list. You may also contact your Alderman to have your sidewalk put on the inspection list.
What is a Right-of -Way? Right-of-Way means the area of a highway, road, street, alley, electric line, gas pipeline, water main, storm or sanitary sewer main, or other such strip of land reserved for public use, whether established by prescription, easement, dedication, gift, purchase, eminent domain or any other legal means.
What is an Easement? Easement means a grant of use of land by the land owner to any person, or to the general public for a specified purpose, such as the construction or maintenance of utilities and/or storm water drainage.
How do I obtain a copy of a police report? A police report may be obtained from the Police Department, which is located in City Hall at 201 S. Michigan Ave., Marshall, IL. 62441. This service is provided Mon - Fri. from 7:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Please have your case number available.