Chandra Farmer
Send E-Mail
Physical Address:
Land Use Center
309 E. Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2263
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone: 919-989-5075
Fax: 919-934-7174
Frequently Asked Questions
The default view (Home and Entire Site categories) show a complete list of all FAQs available on the web site. To view the questions for a particular department only, select a department from the drop-down list below:

Q: What do I need to buy a decal?
A: Proof of residence in Johnston County such as a driver's license.

Q: Can I take construction materials or yard waste to the convenience sites?
A: No, must be taken to Landfill at 680 County Home Road (off Hwy. 210) in Smithfield.

Q: Is it mandatory that I sign up for a tap?
A: No. Participation in the project is strictly voluntary. Residences and businesses constructed after water mains are in place may be required to connect, if 350 ft. from the water main.

Q: Do I have to abandon my existing well if I sign up for water service?
A: No. You may sign up for water service and keep your well. However, in order to keep your well, your indoor plumbing must be disconnected from the well. Outside hydrants can remain on the well--consult your plumber. You may wish to contact the Johnston County Inspections Department for more information about this requirement.

Q: Why doesn't my road have a water line?
A: Sufficient interest has not been shown. Interested property owners on your road can sign a petition for water service which will cost $600 per tap.

Q: Is the tap fee all I will have to pay?
A: No. Additional expenses you will incur include the piping connection from your plumbing to the meter at the road right-of-way, a plumbing inspection fee, and possibly an account deposit. If a water line is installed adjacent to your property and water is available in that line, the County will notify you by mail to let you know that you can connect. First, visit the Utilities office and set up your account for billing. When setting up the account, a $50 deposit or letter of credit from another utility is required (for example, Progress Energy). Secondly, visit the Johnston County Inspections Department to apply for a plumbing permit (current cost is $31). You are responsible for the cost of the installation of the piping and plumbing from the tap to your residence. If a water line is not installed adjacent to your property, your tap fee would be refunded to you, or you may leave it on deposit to qualify for service in the future when a main is installed.

Q: If water lines are not currently proposed to go in my subdivision or road, how do I qualify for a line extension?
A: You may contact your neighbors and inform them about the plans for water in your area. Get as many neighbors interested and signed up as possible. Once you have sufficient interest in the area, the extension to serve your subdivision, road, or street will be considered with other project additions on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on the availability of funds.

Q: Do I have to live on a state-maintained road to have water installed on my road?
A: No. As long as there is sufficient interest, service can be provided on a non-state-maintained road. All landowners along any private road must grant the district a Utility Easement to construct, operate, and maintain the pipeline in order for an extension to be possible.

Q: Can I purchase a tap for a lot without a building or a residence on it?
A: Yes. If you do not plan to use the water for at least seven or more years, it may not be economically feasible for you to purchase a tap. Once water is available at the property, you will be notified and you will begin paying a base monthly bill whether you have connected to the system or not. If you postpone connection for several years, you would benefit by saving your money during those years and paying the County's standard rate of ($1,370 currently) at the time you desire water service.

Q: Will you run a water line up a long path for one residence?
A: No. The water line will be installed at the right-of-way of the road. The resident will be responsible for having the plumbing installed from the tap to the residence.

Q: My water is currently provided by a privately supplied water system. May I pay the tap fee and use county water instead?
A: Usually, no. Service could be provided only if a written waiver is provided to the district by your current supplier.

Q: How much will my water bill be?
A: It depends upon whether you begin using water immediately or not. If you have not had your plumbing installed from the tap to your residence and you are not using water, you will only be responsible for the base monthly bill. The minimum base rate is currently $15 per month. Once your plumbing is installed and you begin using water, you will pay the base monthly bill plus a usage fee per 1,000 gallons.

Q: Will there be fire hydrants, and, if so, will this affect my homeowners insurance?
A: It is possible, but not guaranteed, that you will have a fire hydrant close to your property. The amount of reduction in your insurance premium, if any, will depend on the proximity of your residence to a fire hydrant, the "rating" of your fire department, and the policies of your insurance underwriter. Fire hydrants will only operate on 6-inch or greater water lines.

Q: Where does the water come from? Is it safe?
A: The water originates from the Neuse River at Wilson's Mills. After intake, the water undergoes a state-of-the-art process of clarification, filtration, and disinfection. Quality is monitored 24-hours-a-day. In the event that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criteria are not achieved, a public notice must be issued. On occasion, our water supply might require supplementing from the supplies of the Town of Smithfield, City of Dunn, or Harnett County.

Q: How much is the base monthly bill?
A: The amount of the base monthly bill depends on the size of your service tap.

Q: What are the Public Utilities Office hours?
A: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For Holiday closings, please see the Johnston County Holiday Schedule on the County Website at

Q: What is the Public Utilities phone number and fax number?
A: If you are calling concerning a utility account, the phone number is (919)989-5075 and the fax number is (919)934-0256. If calling after 5:00 P.M., on weekends or holidays please call the after hours phone number (919) 989-5056.

Q: How do I establish service for water?
A: Complete an application for utility service, pay an application fee and pay a deposit. The deposit can be waived if a letter of credit from another utility company can be provided. The letter of credit must be for the most recent 12-month period and indicate no delinquency in payments. You will also need to provide some type of government-issued photo identification.

Q: Can I start water service and the application and deposit be billed on my first bill?
A: No-all fees must be paid before service will be started.

Q: How can I change the name on my account because of marriage/death?
A: We will require written notification for a name change provided that the account has your original name on the original application.

Q: Where is the Public Utilities office located?
A: The Public Utilities office is located in the Land Use Center at 309 East Market Street, Smithfield, North Carolina. From the Clayton area, take 70 Business east into Smithfield-cross the Neuse River-pass the Johnston County Courthouse and the Land Use Center is in the next block. It is located on the left between the Public Library and the Ava Gardner Museum. From I-95 exit 95, take 70 Business west to 309 East Market Street.

Q: What utilities do you provide and will I be a Johnston County Public Utilities customer?
A: Johnston County Public Utilities provides water service to the rural areas of the county. We also provide sewer service in the Cleveland, East Clayton and Wilson's Mills area but very few are residential. If your address is within the city limits of any town, you will need to contact the town for additional information. You may provide our office with the physical address of the property for a determination. We also provide a Landfill and Convenience Sites for disposal of garbage.

Q: Once I complete the application and pay all fees, when will water be cut on?
A: Once the completed application, application fee and deposit are received in the Public Utilities office, the water will be connected the following business day, provided that a new service connection is not required. Otherwise, service may be provided within ten to twelve business days.

Q: I am divorced--how can I change the name on the account?
A: If both names are on the account, we will require written documentation to change the name.

Q: My online payment has failed due to error 12. What does this mean?
A: This means that requested credit card information does not match the credit card's banking information. Typically either the expiration date, the CVA--3 digits from the back of the credit card or the account holder's name does not match exactly as it appears on the card.

Q: My online payment has failed due to error 99. What does this mean?
A: An error 99 indicates that the online payment system is down for maintenance. Please try the payment process again later.

Q: Can I get an adjustment to my bill for a leak?
A: Johnston County Public Utilities does have a policy for making adjustments to your bill. Since you are billed a month after the usage, we will need to determine when the high water usage will be billed. The customer should also take into consideration that only one adjustment per year may be made. The water bill will be reduced by 50% of the amount in which it exceeds one and one-half times the average water bill for the preceding six months normal usage.

Q: Why is my consumption the same each month and always shows even gallons?
A: We round down to the nearest thousand gallons.

Q: I never see anyone reading my meter, do you estimate meter readings?
A: Meter readings are taken using an automatic meter reading system. "Public Utilities" vehicles with a special radio receiver drive by and readings are recorded using low frequency radio sensors on the meters.

Q: I am not receiving utility bills. What should I do?
A: Contact the Public Utilities office, verify the billing address and we can advise of any mail returned. We require the Postal Service to return any undeliverable mail back to the Public Utilities office where it is documented. We research the name and attempt to re-mail bills. If the billing address is correct, you will need to contact your local post office.

Q: How can I view my utility account online?
A: This information is available online at Under "step by step instructions," click on "pay the exact amount of an existing utility bill." Click on "Utility Bills." Enter the account number and the customer number as it appears on your utility bill. You can now view your utility account online. You may click on the link under service code to view consumption over the last 12 months and see a bar graph of the usage. Click on "View/Pay bills" to view the past 12 months' bill.

Q: I have sold my home and have not connected to the water tap. I am continuing to receive the $15 per month flat charge. How can I stop the billing?
A: Call our office with the closing date and the new property owner's name. When the GIS and Register of Deeds information is updated, we will stop the billing and mail future bills to the new property owner.

Q: How can I get rid of a pink residue around my sink and tub?
A: When the water contacts air sometimes bacteria can grow. The fixtures and surfaces should be cleaned with a cleaner containing bleach.

Q: Can you locate the utility lines in my yard?
A: No--we can only locate the water lines within the public road right-of-way. You can call NC-One Call at 800-632-4949 and request that all lines be located.

Q: What is the cost of a water tap?
A: If Johnston County water is available to your property, the cost of the water tap will include an assessment fee, tap fee, meter fee, application fee and deposit. The charges are established each year by the Board of Commissioners with the adoption of the annual budget. The rates are online under Public Utilities, Water and Sewer Policies.

Q: Can I allow someone else to apply for service for me?
A: You do not necessarily need to come into our office to apply. The application is located online at or you may call our office and an application will be faxed to you. The completed application may be faxed back to our office and any fees may be paid by credit card over the telephone.

Q: Can I apply for service over the telephone?
A: No, however the application form is located on the web site and may be faxed into our office. Any fees may be paid with a credit card by phone.

Q: Can I transfer service to another address?
A: No. An application for utility service must be completed for each address. An application fee and deposit must be provided.

Q: How is my monthly bill calculated?
A: The monthly bill includes a minimum charge (does not include any water) and a charge for each 1,000 gallons of water used. The water usage is determined by meter readings. The rate is established by the Board of County Commissioners and is posted on the Johnston County website under Water and Sewer Policies.

Q: What is my utility account balance?
A: You may access your account balance online at by clicking on "County Departments" and "Public Utilities." You are also mailed an invoice every month which indicates your account balance.

Q: Why am I getting a bill when I am not connected to County water?
A: When Water Districts were first created, property owners voluntarily purchased water taps for their property and signed a Water User's Agreement. This agreement requires that a monthly flat rate would be billed when water became available to the property whether or not the service is connected to the house or business. The tap which is physically located on the property and any unpaid charges are transferable to any future property owner.

Q: What is the latest date to pay my bill?
A: For accounts billed on the 10th of each month, the due date is the 25th. For accounts billed on the 25th of each month, the due date is the 10th of the following month.

Q: When will my service be disconnected if I do not pay the bill?
A: All accounts with a past-due balance are subject to disconnection the day after the due date.

Q: Do you send out a disconnection notice?
A: No--your monthly utility billing will indicate a past due amount. If the bill has a past due amount, the account is subject to disconnection at any time.

Q: Where can I pay my bill when the service is disconnected due to non-payment?
A: If your water service has been disconnected due to non-payment, you must come into the office to pay the balance due on the account and the reconnection charge. If the utilities have been disconnected, please do not pay your bill online. We will only take credit card payments over the phone if the account has been disconnected due to non-payment or to start new service when the application is faxed or emailed into the office.

Q: Can I have an extension on paying my utility bill?
A: No--there is no provision for payment extensions.

Q: I am divorced and my name is not on the account, what should I do?
A: In the event your name is not on the account, you would need to apply for service as a new customer and pay all associated fees.

Q: Where can I make payments for my utility bill?
A: Payments may be mailed to our lockbox at First Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 63025, Charlotte, NC 28263-3025; Johnston County Department of Public Utilities, P.O. Box 2234, Smithfield, NC 27577; Online at; in the drop box located at the parking lot entrance to public utilities; at any First Citizens Bank in Johnston County or you can enroll in bank draft. You will need to have your remittance stub to make payment at all locations other than the Public Utilities office. If using the drop box, include the remittance stub and only pay with check or money order. These are the only authorized payment facilities for Johnston County Public Utilities.

Q: How can I sign up for bank draft?
A: Complete a form for bank draft and provide a voided check. The form is online or can be obtained by contacting our office.

Q: When can I get my deposit refunded?
A: At your request, the deposit will be credited to your account after 12 billing periods of on-time payments. The deposit will automatically be applied to the account when the account is final billed. Any credit amount will be refunded by check to the customer and mailed to the forwarding address within six weeks.

Q: How much are the late fees?
A: Johnston County Public Utilities does not charge late fees.

Q: I think I have a water leak, what should I do?
A: If the leak is on your side (from the tie in to the meter back to your house or business), any charges for water will be the customer's responsibility. You will need to contact a plumber to make any repairs. If you have any doubt, contact the Public Utilities office and we will schedule a field technician to investigate. The field technician can not make any repairs to the customer's property.

Q: My water is brown. What should I do?
A: If the water is brown, please contact the Public Utilities office and we will schedule the lines to be flushed in the vicinity of your home or business. Once the lines have been flushed, you will also need to flush the lines inside your house or business.

Q: What is the price of the decal?
A: The rate is established for the fiscal year, July 1 through June 30, by the Board of County Commissioners with the adoption of the annual budget.

Q: Do you have recycling facilities?
A: Yes--Recycling bins for selected items are available at each of the Convenience Centers and at the Landfill. There is no charge for recycling and a decal is not required.

Q: My water smells bad. What should I do?
A: If the "cold" water smells, contact the Public Utilities office and we will schedule the lines in the vicinity of your home or business to be flushed. Once the lines have been flushed, you will also need to flush the lines inside your house or business. If it is the "hot" water that smells, it is likely to be your water heater and you will need to contact a plumber.

Q: My water smells highly of chlorine. What should I do?
A: Once a year, the Johnston County Water Treatment Plant will temporarily stop feeding ammonia with chlorine for disinfection of the water supply and start feeding chlorine only. State and Federal regulations require that public water systems that feed chloramines (chloride and ammonia) feed chlorine only into the system for a period of at least 30 days to ensure that no bacteria are present which may have adapted to the ammonia in the water. Customers who use kidney dialysis machines should be aware that the water will contain more chlorine for about four to six weeks. Also, the chlorine only water can be toxic to tropical fish. The chlorine odor may be stronger during this period. If you experience a water color change, which cannot be cleared by flushing the lines inside your house, please call the Public Utilities office.

Q: Do you provide garbage pick-up service?
A: No--Johnston County provides 12 manned "Convenience Sites" for the citizens of Johnston County. These centers are available strictly for residential garbage disposal and materials recycling. In order to use the Convenience Sites, the customer must purchase a decal annually, and it must be displayed on the vehicle used to transport the garbage. Johnston County also has a landfill that citizens may use to dispose of garbage, recyclables, yard debris and other construction material debris. Charges may be assessed for larger loads of garbage, yard waste or construction debris.

Q: Where are the Convenience Sites located?
A: The 12 Convenience Sites may be located by clicking on the Johnston County website, "Public Utilities."

Q: Where is the County Landfill?
A: The Johnston County Landfill is located at 680 County Home Road (off Hwy. 210), Smithfield, North Carolina.

Q: How can I contact the Solid Waste Division for information about the proper disposal of materials?
A: The phone number for the Solid Waste Division is (919) 938-4750.

Q: Can I purchase more than one decal?
A: Yes--there is no limit on the number of decals purchased but the full cost is charged for each decal purchased.

Q: What materials may be recycled?
A: The following items may be recycled: Corrugated cardboard-Remove all packing and flatten boxes Plastic-soft drink bottles and milk jugs only--remove lid and rinse clean Aluminum-Beverage cans only--rinse clean Newspaper Magazines Glass-bottles and jars only Tires-limit 4 per week (Tractor tires and large truck tires at Landfill only) White Goods (Appliances)-limit 2 per week Lead Batteries-limit 3 per week Waste Motor Oil-limit 5 gallons per week

Chandra Farmer
Send E-Mail
Physical Address:
Land Use Center
309 E. Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2263
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone: 919-989-5075
Fax: 919-934-7174