Water utility rates????

dave100August 7, 2006

My local water board recently (this month) switched to monthly billing ( it was previously a quarterly cycle). They advised customers might notice a "slight" increase in their rates.

We used to pay about 200 dollars per YEAR for our water and sewer tax. This month's bill was $50 and my usage was comparable to the average over the past 3 years (approx 6000 gallons for the 30 day period). I took the trouble to calculate the price per gallon and it shocked me to find we actually pay $.08 per GALLON for our water.

Is this happening elsewhere or am I just in a district that has figured out a way to bleed its customers beyond the norm??

I figure that I could QUICKLY pay for a private WELL to supply my home and just use the city water for drinking and washing dishes!!!


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My water/sewer bill is usually about $65 which includes $20 garbage.

I do have a lawn pump to water the grass - elect for it costs me about $5 monthly now at 13 cents/kwh. 1 Hp at around 1776 watts per hour run time.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 5:56PM
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Before you buy that well, wait a few month's cycle to see if they actually come read the meter and then make an adjustment.

Utilities often do estimated readings and then make adjustments. They may still be only reading your meter quarterly.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 5:58PM
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Do what spewey said, and then, if you still wish to put in a well find out if you CAN put in a well where you live. The city may reject your application.

I don't know where you live except that you say you live in a city, but some cities get all of the water that they supply from wells. They won't issue a permit for you to put your own well in and draw off of the water table. There are also other reasons that a city will not issue a permit to put in a well. For instance if the well water in the area is deemed to be contaminated they will not let you put in a well in case someone, like a child, should drink fom the garden hose, or is is just so contaminated that they don't want you spreading it around your lawn or sending it down the drain to contaminate nearby rivers and lakes. The city will look into how you are going to dispose of the used well water. Do you use sanitary sewers or co-mingled sewers or septic system? Where I live, part of the "Water Bill", in fact, the majority of what we pay in the "Water Bill", pays for the *treating of the sewage* not the price of the water. They may let you put in a well but you won't save any money on your bill having to pay for treatment of what goes down the drain.

Check with your local City Hall before you get too excited about saving money by using a well.

Usually if something was that easy, everybody would be doing it.

If you do go ahead and decide to get a well ask around how others like using the well water in your area. In Wisconsin, where I live there is a problem with exessive iron in the well water in some areas. The iron can turn your laundry really, really dingy and can also stain sinks and tubs with buildup. Appiances can be affected by the excessive lime and iron buildup. Some well water STINKS like sulphur and taking a shower or doing laundry will take some getting use to.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 10:51PM
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Thanks for the input, guys --
In re-reading my original post, I see the $.08 per gallon is supposed to be $.008 ( just under a penny per gallon....) whereas the previous rate was approximately $.0025 This is more than tripled from before.
In checking the web for public utility sites I'm seeing residential water rates between $.0015 and $.0025 per gallon so It's clear to me that our supplier is way out of line.

The meter reading is correct and is not an estimate -- besides, it's the RATE we're being charged that I'm questioning.

Frankly, I have no intention of asking anyone's permission to dig my well as I'm quite sure I know the outcome!!
I expect I could use a drive point 15 feet down and get all the water I need.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 11:44AM
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We went down 200 ft to get good quality water with little iron. And that's pretty shallow -- for a cost of $10,000. It's much higher with rockier soil and poor drilling conditions.

But of course, if there is problems -- I can't complain to the city -- I call a well guy and fork out $500 to show up and pull the pump and change a filter.

Grass is always greener on the other side.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 3:47PM
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dave100 said: "Frankly, I have no intention of asking anyone's permission to dig my well as I'm quite sure I know the outcome!! I expect I could use a drive point 15 feet down and get all the water I need."

I sure hope that I am reading this wrong.

If you plan on doing this without a permit, and don't know what you are doing, you could damage the whole eco-system in your area.

Shallow aquifiers often supply the nearby lakes in the area and you could affect the lake level, draining it, or even cause the temperature change in the lake, causing a big kill of the lake flora and fauna.

You could also cause a contamination, that would affect the entire water table in the area, and everyone would have contaminated wells. Once a water table is contaminated it cannot be recovered.

You could cause a sinkhole and loose your house or a destroy a neighbors house miles away.

I shudder.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 1:23AM
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Can your sewer usage bill be separated from the water bill? If it can and you are able to monitor water you use on your lawn, garden etc., you may be entitled to a reduction for the amount of water that doesn't go into the sewer. You will need to be able to prove the amount, not just guess what it will be.

My daughter discovered this a few years ago for a company that was employing her as a summer student. She saved them enough to more than pay her salary through the rest of her degree.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 8:34AM
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Hmmm... a butterfly flaps its wings in Wisconsin ... and it rains in Florida ... happens, I guess.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 10:07AM
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I just looked at our most recent water and sewer bill. $.0078 per gallon including sewer and taxes in that number. Water was $12.52, sewage $25.69, tax $.75 for a total of $38.96. We used 5000 gallons the past month. I would say your rate is about average or maybe below average.

Our utility assumes that all water coming out of the taps goes down the sanitary sewer. This actually has merit for our area as there are many combination sewers in the older portions of the city (when it rains really hard the sewage flows directly into the Ohio River due to excessive flow). You do get charged extra for watering plants, washing car, etc. even if you live in an area without combination sewers. You can get around this by having the utility install additional meters for watering, but this is about $200 per faucet with labor. We haven't done this yet.

One thing to look at to save on the water bills is the two-stage toilets from Australia that use 0.8/1.6 gallons per flush depending on need. Our 24 year old toilets use 3.2 gpf and work fine, so we haven't swithched yet. Payoff on one $400 toilet would be about 16 years at current rates. But if they double water/sewer rates to pay for the water pollution issues, then we will probably make the switch.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 11:57AM
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Would think everybody thats a bit of a diy'er, that gets a water bill or power bill heads to homedepot lately. Only to become discouraged and say screw it until some other day. Maybe I will buy it online ? Someday.

My citys diy suppliers stink when it comes to energy or water savings materials around here. Compromise or change plans to go with what they got(which is severly limited) ,, or online order, usually after driving three or four places wasting a day and those precious gallons of gas.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 1:49PM
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Just got a notice from the city water utility that the water rates are going up 34%. That comes to around $7/month.

Anyone use the Frugal Flapper or other water saving methods like a rock filled plastic milk jug in older type toilets?

My wife will not tolerate the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" tactic due to rings in the toilet, smell, and other peoples pee splashing on her bottom. Although I agree with her that a toilet was designed to be used, I am also frugal and trying to figure out a way make the old 1982 Kohlers less expensive and better for the environment too.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 4:13PM
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Get used to it, folks.

Many cities have let their 100 year-old sewers get severely deteriorated, not renewing some of them regularly, as they found using municipal funds for more obvious and glamorous projects more attractive.

So now many are making deals with private utility services to provide water and sewer services in future years.

Do you figure that will result in lower rates?

That hasn't been the general experience in such situations converted earlier. If you know of some area where it wasn't, let us know: we can use some good news.

I'm using a shallow well on what used to be uncle's beef farm, with a dozen or two animals around in recent years, when he was in his 80s. Well too close to the barnyard, so too high e coli and coliform readings, thus I bring water for drinking and cooking in gallon jugs from the nearby city.

We'd thought that, as the animals have gone, after a while the ground would clear so that the water would pass tests.

But a substantial landfill is within two miles of the house, that recently received increased certification from about 9 or 10 to 17 million tons and was bought by a major city.

So I doubt that I'll be using the water for all house purposes any time soon.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 6:41AM
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My disabled dad uses a bedside urinal three or more times per day, and the toilet about 4 times. Fewer flushes that way = less walking/falling for him. Less water/sewer bill too !

Couldnt find a replacement bedside urinal recently ... used a empty FAB liquid washer-laundry detergent bottle, temp. Larger opening, more capacity & a scew on lid, bigger handle .... actually nicer - and free. Backyard Spider (lilly?) plants loves that stuff.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 10:17AM
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Thank you for reusing.

My old uncle, who'd had three hip replacements, suffered from major back, hip and leg pains, so used to use an instant coffee bottle in the middle of the night.

Didn't have trouble with spillage, that I could tell.

o j

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:33AM
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