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We can imagine that many a Pepperell resident’s eyebrows will arch in astonishment when they read this week’s story about unpaid bills in the water and sewer department.

According to Superintendent Joe Jordan, who was hired last year, past practice had been that if a household didn’t respond to the bill, no action was taken. It remained unpaid.

And, more than one Pepperell resident has commented on the sudden timeliness of check-cashing by the department. In years passed, months could go by before a check written in payment of a water or sewer bill would actually be cashed.

In a report given to the Board of Health this week, Jordan noted that over 30 percent of bills are outstanding, something he calls “absolutely unacceptable.” He also said that in 2014, 10 accounts owed over $5,000, each.

His visit with the board resulted from complaints by folks threatened with water-shutoff due to unpaid bills.

Apparently, he got their attention.

Water and sewer services do not come cheaply, with costs shouldered by those who do pay their bills. Good job, Joe Jordan, for doing what should have been done all along.

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