When you receive a water and sewer bill in an apartment, it can be confusing. It’s common to think that you only pay for the water coming into your house, but you also have to pay for the waste that leaves your home.
This is known as wastewater and is usually charged by the gallon. Understanding what a sewer charge is and how it works can help you reduce your bill.
What is a Sewer Charge?
Aside from your typical water bill, you may also be asked to pay a segregated sewer bill. If so, it might be time to do your homework on the subject and make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.
Many utility companies measure both the amount of water flowing in your home, and the amount that leaves your drains to get to your local wastewater treatment plant. Using this information to calculate the appropriate billing rate for your residence is a challenge, but one that many utilities have conquered by utilizing smart meters, smart sensors or both. The best way to determine your individual bills is by visiting your local utility’s website and requesting a bill quote. It is also a good idea to ask your landlord about the cost of the water and sewer bill so you can make an informed decision before you sign on the dotted line.
How Much Does a Sewer Charge Cost?
If you live in an apartment, your utility bills can get a little tricky. Besides the usual electricity, energy and garbage charges, your apartment bill may also include a sewer charge that is different from the water bill in your home.
Usually, your water and sewer charges are based on your total water use. So if you used a lot of water last month, you could end up paying more than the average for your area.
The good news is that it is easy to lower your sewer bill without spending much time or money. First, try to cut down on your overall water use. It can be as simple as switching to a water-efficient showerhead or washing clothes and dishes using less water.
Second, you should check to see if your toilet is leaky and replace it if needed. A leaky toilet can send a huge amount of water down the drain every time it flushes, so fixing it can save you a ton of money on your sewer bill.
Next, you should pay attention to your sewer cap and see if it has changed. The City re-evaluates sewer caps annually, based on the winter use of similar customers with metered water.
You should also pay attention to your sewer usage charge, which is based on actual water consumption or the water use of the prior winter. This charge is based on the same metric used to calculate the sewer volume for residential customers, and can be lower than the sewer cap if you have a low monthly water use.
Finally, you should consider installing an auxiliary meter to save on your sewer charge if you have large amounts of water that goes to the outside of your house that never ends up in the sewer system. These meters are sold by the city and must be inspected by the city before you can start using them, so make sure you do your research before purchasing one.
You can also check out the website of your local water utility to find out more about what is included in your sewer charge and how it is calculated. These websites typically include a breakdown of your sewer charge in your “billing detail” or “summary of charges” section, so you can easily understand what’s going on with your bill.
How Much Does a Sewer Charge Include?
Sewer charges are based on water consumption, which is the amount of water you use in your apartment or home each month. In addition, your sewer charge will typically include a fixed charge for the wastewater system and a number of charges that are unique to you as a resident or business owner.
Your water bill will contain a total of four to six separate charges, each representing a specific element of the cost of providing service. You will be able to view these charges in the billing detail section of your bill or on the utility’s website.
The first charge on your water/sewer bill is a water fixed charge. This is a fee that reflects the actual cost to treat and deliver water, as well as pay for other related costs like sewer maintenance and repairs. The next charge on your bill is a water consumption charge, which reflects how much water you used per 1,000 gallons during the billing period.
These charges are usually billed on a monthly basis and are paid by check or direct deposit to the utility. Many property owners receive one bill each month that covers all of their services including water, sewer and waste removal.
Some utilities also have a drainage charge that reflects the volume of rainwater that runs off of your property and into the sewer. This can be a flat fee or a percentage of each unit on a multi-unit property.
An industry-standard Winter Quarter Average is calculated based on your December through February water usage to determine the number of units you will be charged for sewer each month. This is done to make sure that residents are not overpaying for sewer services.
For new accounts, until the WQA can be established, actual water usage will be reflected on your sewer charge. This is a good way to see how you are using your water, especially in winter.
In addition to water, your sewer charge will also include a Storm Drain Fee. This is a fee for commercial and industrial storm drains.
How Can I Reduce My Sewer Charge?
The utility bills that you receive each month can seem overwhelming at first, but if you take the time to learn about them, they can be pretty easy to navigate. In addition to your energy, internet, and garbage bills, you may also get a bill for your water and sewer services.
The key to understanding these bills is to understand how they’re charged and what those charges mean. Your water bill is based on the amount of water that comes out of your faucets and any wastewater that goes down the drain.
Your sewer charge is based on how much wastewater goes into your sanitary sewer system and the treatment process that’s involved. This type of bill is usually higher than your water charge because it involves a lot more work on the part of your local sewer utility to clean and sanitize wastewater.
One way that you can lower your sewer charge is to reduce the amount of wastewater that goes into your sewage system in the first place. This can be done by following a few simple steps.
Start by installing low-flow faucets and shower heads in your home to ensure that you’re using less water than you need. These simple changes can help you save a significant amount of money on your sewer bill every month.
Another way to cut down on your sewage usage is to make sure you’re using proper waste disposal methods. Instead of throwing your trash in the trash can or flushing it down the toilet, put it in a compost bin or a biodegradable bag.
You can also minimize the amount of wastewater that goes into your sanitary sewer system by taking shorter showers, not running the dishwasher or washing machine when full, and only running appliances when you need them to be operating. All of these steps can help you save a lot of money on your sewer bill and they’ll benefit the environment, as well.
You can also reduce your sewage usage by making certain that you’re not filling up your pool during the summer months. You can even install a cover to your swimming pool and turn off your sprinkler system when it rains, which will cut down on the amount of water that you’re using during those times.