How's my sewer bill figured?

This time of year we recieve lots of questions about how sewer bills are figured. The city does not meter sewer system. Residential Sewer Rates are based on a winter average process. Winter months are when water usage most closely matches the amount that goes into the sewer system. The winter average avoids customers having increased sewer charges for using water that does not go into the sanitary sewer, activities like irrigating lawns, washing cars, filling swimming pools, etc. Since sewers service isn’t metered, the winter average is the most equitable way to assess sewer usage.

Water readings from the three billing periods that cover mid-December to mid-March, (February, March and April bills) are averaged together to set the sewer consumption rate. Bills received in the month of May reflect the winter average. That charge is the same for the entire year until a new rate is set. If someone starts service before they have a sewer rate established, then the city-wide residential average is used until a new rate can be set by the customer. When a customer has a verified water leak during the winter average months, then city staff will adjust the average to account for the leak. We only do that when we have confirmed leaks, so if a customer has a leak during those months they need to contact City Hall as soon as possible.  

Commercial and Industrial customers (basically any entity that isn't a homeowner) do not have a winter averages. For those customers, the monthly sewer charge is tied to their water consumption each month meaning the charges vary from month to month.