My water bill Is higher than usual – what’s wrong?
Your water bill is based on actual consumption. If it is noticeably higher and you are unaware of a reason for higher usage (such as watering lawns, filling pools, or more people living in the residence) you probably have a leak.
Over ninety-five percent of leaks occur at the toilet. These leaks can be very expensive if left unfixed. Many toilet leaks are silent. Very often you do not hear the water dripping or running. Even a pinhead size drip can account for over 17,000 gallons in a quarter. If you have food coloring put several drops into the toilet tank. Do not flush. Wait ten to twenty minutes. If the color appears in the bowl – you have a leak.
You can also read the meter in your basement before you retire for the night (or sometime when you know no water will be used for several hours). Reread the meter first thing in the morning before any water has been used. If the numbers on the meter have changed that means water has moved through the meter. Our service employees can not repair leaks but they would be glad to come by and help locate it.
Click here to learn how to read your water meter.
Does the Utility charge late fees for missing the due date?
Yes, a ONE-TIME late payment charge of three percent (3%) but not less than 50 cents will be applied to any unpaid balance for the current billing period’s usage. An additional 10% penalty will be charge if the utility has to transfer any unpaid delinquent balances at the end of the year to the tax roll.
Per Public Service Commission guidelines, the Utility is not allowed to reverse or waive late fees.
I am moving, how do I close out my Utility bill?
The Brown Deer Water Utility does not perform final readings for utility bills for sales of property. The buyers and sellers should have the utility charges protated, you should contact the Finance Department ted as part of the closing process. If you are currently signed up for automatic withdrawal payment, you should contact the Water Department to make sure this is removed and the bill is mailed to the correct address moving forward.
What charges should I expect on my bill?
Depending on what type of service you have with the village, you may have one or more of the following charges.
- Water Service Charge: Fixed charge based on capacity of service and maintenance of the water system; determined by your meter size.
- Water Volume Charge: Variable charge based on the number of gallons of water you used during the quarterly billing period.
- Public Fire Protection: Fixed charge based on the additional costs and capacity that are needed to provided adequate water supply to fight a fire; determined by your meter size.
- Local Sewer Connection and Volume Charge: A combination of fixed and variable charges which covers the Village’s cost to maintain and operate the sewer utility.
- Metro Sewer Connection and Volume Charge: A combination of fixed and variable charges which covers the Village’s cost to the MMSD to collect and treat the sanitary sewer effluent.
- Stormwater Charge: Fixed charge based on the estimated amount of impervious area. Every residential property is charge the same fee – no matter the size of home. Impervious area includes roofs, driveways, parking lots – any surface where water runs off and can not be absorbed.
Click here to see a typical residential bill breakdown.
What is the average water consumption for my home?
There are many factors which go into determining what the average consumption should be, so it is difficult to give an average amount for a residential home. Some factors include household size, if guests are visiting, if you have filled or are maintaining a pool or hot tub, or if you irrigate or water your lawn. A good rule of thumb is approximately 6,000 gallons per person per quarter.
Where is my water meter located?
The water meter is typically located in the basement towards an outside wall with pipes coming from both sides. If you do not have a basement, the meter could be located in a utility closet.
The water meter is the property of the Water Utility, so access to the water meter must be maintained.
Why does the Utility need to replace the meter in my basement?
The meter in your basement should be replaced or tested every fifteen to twenty years. This meter accuracy test is a requirement of the Wisconsin Administrative Code section PSC 185.65.
In order for us to comply with this state code and to best serve your needs, we simply remove your old meter and replace it with a new one. The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and is done at no charge to you.
I have a well on my property – why do I need to abandon it or get a permit?
The Department of Natural Resources requires that all wells be properly abandoned if they are not operational. If the well is being used, the homeowner must have a permit. Ground water preservation is a major concern. One improperly abandoned or unsafe well can compromise ground water quality over a significant area. When a well is abandoned, a form must be submitted to the state and village verifying proper abandonment. If you are using your well a permit must be issued. There is no charge for the permit. And it is good for five years.
My water is cloudy but after it sits for a while the cloudiness disappears.
The water in Lake Michigan is very cold. At certain times of the year water comes into the mains and service lines at a cold temperature but warms up as it travels through the distribution system. Cold water captures extra oxygen. As the water warms, the extra oxygen is released. However, while the water is in a pipe there is no place for this oxygen to go. When you fill your glass from the tap and it appears milky or cloudy this is the extra oxygen in the water escaping.
Why is my water pressure low?
Do you have galvanized steel plumbing? If so, some of the pipes in your home may be obstructed with corrosion deposits – limiting the flow of water.
If you have a drop in pressure at a specific faucet, check the screen on the spigot, it may be filled and slowing the stream of water.
Is the pressure at neighboring residences also low? If so, contact the Utility. There may be a main break in your area temporarily reducing pressure in your neighborhood.
Who sets the rules, standards, and rates for the Water Utility?