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High Bill...?

Possibilities to Consider

Why is my bill higher than normal?
Water and sewer charges are based on the gallons of water that flowed through the meter during a reading period. There are many reasons water usage fluctuates from month to month. The number of days in a reading period and changes in household use are common causes.

Possibilities to consider:

  • Duration and frequency of showers
  • Toilets – According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency toilets make up about 31% of overall household water use. Toilets are a common source or hidden leaks. You may or may not hear the water lost from a toilet leak. Click here for more information about toilet leaks from home-water-works.org
  • Landscape watering and irrigation systems
  • Appliances – faucet leaks, water softeners, freshwater back up sump pumps, humidifiers, and other appliances that use water.
  • Houseguests or changes to the number of people living in the home.
  • Is this a winter bill? Your summer sewer credit stops after your October meter reading.

More detailed information and tips are available from home-water-works.org and EPA.gov regarding higher than normal usage and potential causes.

Could I have a Leak?
Higher than normal bills could be the first indication of a leak potentially resulting in hundreds of gallons of water wasted and could cost you several hundred dollars a month. Using the links above you can calculate approximately how much water a leak wastes based on flow rate. See the following leak types and the gallons of water potentially lost:

  • A dripping faucet could result in 15 gallons a day
  • A running toilet, up to 12 gallons per minute.
  • 1/16-inch opening, 943 gallons a day
  • 1/4 –inch opening, 60,900 gallons per day

How to Check for Leaks
Below you will find information on how to use your water meter and shut-off valves to locate potential high usage problems and leaks.

When you need help, we’re available. BCWS Technicians are available by appointment to help investigate higher than normal usage concerns. Email or call our office to schedule an appointment. Our technicians are not licensed plumbers and are not permitted to enter the residence. There is a $15 service charge added to your monthly bill for the service call. Appointments are scheduled Monday through Friday, except holidays, in two hour blocks: 8AM – 10AM, 10AM – 12PM, 12PM – 2PM.

Once you locate your meter it can be used to easily check for a leak and monitor usage by reading your meter. Identify the register on your meter.

  • Register 1 has a black triangle in the center of the register face. The black triangle will move in a clockwise motion when water is being used.
  • Register 2 has a red dial with a black line. The black line on the red dial will move in a clockwise motion when water is being used.
  • Register 3 will display a circle with a plus sign inside. The will display when water is being used. The first time the lid is opened on this type of register it displays the current reading for 30 seconds. If you close and reopen the lid the register displays the rate of flow. Rate of flow is registered in gallons per minute.

Observe the meter. With all water turned off in the house there should be no movement of the triangle or dial or the circle with a plus sign should not be displayed. If water flow is indicated you may have a leak.

To further isolate the location of the potential leak, close the main water valve inside the home or building. If there is movement this indicates a potential leak in the service line between the meter and the shut off valve.

If there is no movement when the main valve is shut off but there is movement when the main valve is on and no water should have been used indicates a leak inside the home or building.

What if I can’t find a leak?
Leaks can be hard to find. The first step is to identify all water using fixtures in and outside the house, plumbing fixtures, appliances (humidifiers, water softeners, fresh water backup sump pump), outside faucets, automatic pool leveler, irrigation systems and any other items hooked to the plumbing system to verify they are working properly.

Monitor usage by regularly reading your meter. Humidifiers, water softeners, toilets and many other items may run at irregular intervals making it difficult to identify the source.

Changes in water use patterns may result in higher or lower than normal bills. A few things to consider are activities and changes during the reading period dates.

  • Houseguests or changes in home occupancy
  • Outdoor activities such as filling small pools and slip and slides can significantly increase usage.
  • The Summer Sewer Credit Program beginning and ending dates.
  • Ask around. Did someone find a toilet running or leave an outside faucet on?

You may want to hire a professional to help locate hard to find leaks.

I found a leak. Will my bill be adjusted to normal?
No. All water is treated and transmitted and incurs the same operational costs and demand for capacity whether it is used intentionally or lost due to a leak. However, we do recognize the financial burden a significant increase in usage and the repair(s) places on our customers. Fortunately, with the conservation rate structure and the approval of the Butler County Board of Commissioners we have an adjustment policy. While your bill will remain higher than normal peaking usage will be calculated at the lower block 2 rate, a savings of $3.31 per 1,000 gallons.

Important requirements:

  1. The leak must be repaired quickly. ONLY 2 bills will be adjusted. The bill for the reading period in which the leak was repaired and 1 month prior.
  2. Proof of the repair must be submitted by email or fax (513) 785-5799.

    How are adjustments calculated once the requirements are met?

    Water consumption over 9,000 gallons would normally be billed at the block 3 rate of $8.31 per 1,000 gallons. The consumption over 9,000 gallons will be billed at the reduced block 2 rate of $5.00 per 1,000 gallons.

    Sewer consumption will be adjusted to the winter usage average if the water from the leak did not enter the sewer system. Examples of leaks eligible for sewer adjustments include outside service lines, irrigation system, and spigot leaks. Inside leaks do not qualify for sewer adjustments.

    Leak adjustment credits will be applied to the account and will be reflected on your regular monthly invoice.

Applying for a leak adjustment does not exempt an account from collections processing or service disconnection for delinquency.

Who is responsible for repairs?
BCWS is responsible for maintenance and repair of the public side mains and service lines. The property owner is responsible for all water maintenance and repairs past the outside water meter or curb stop if the meter is inside and the sewer service lateral from connection to the sewer main. Lateral connection schematics are available online.