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Understanding Your Water Bill

Recently, summer water bills were sent out and you may notice that your bills may be higher than normal.  The reason for this is generally attributed to an increase in water and sewer rates and summer utilitization. 

First, water and sewer rates have increased effective July 1, 2016 to reflect the rising cost of water.  The overall increase in water and sewer rates is 7.3%.  The water rate increased 4% as a result of an increase in the cost of water from the Great Lakes Water Authority, an increase in the cost of maintenance and a decrease in the amount of water consumed by the City in total, which increases the rate.  The sewer rate increased 9% as a result of an increase in sanitary sewage disposal costs, an increase in storm water costs, an increase in capital improvement costs, as well as, a decrease in the amount of water consumed by the City (water consumption is the basis used to bill sewer charges).

The second reason why your summer water bill may be higher is due to the weather and utilization.  This past summer was a hot and dry season.  We have not experience this kind of weather since the summer of 2012.  As a result some homeowners may have used their sprinklers more than they have the in past three summers.  Homeowners are often shocked at how much water is used to irrigate their lawns.  Additionally, other reasons for a high bill could be a leak.  A common water leak problem is a running toilet.  The City’s Department of Public Services has prepared a self-diagnostic guide to help homeowners determine whether they have a leak. 

If you believe your meter was read in error, please contact the utility billing phone number at 248-530-1830. Learn more at www.bhamgov.org/waterandsewerrates.