Public Works FAQ (frequently asked questions)
How often does Washington Township bill water and sewer customers?
Washington Township bills water and sewer customers quarterly. The billing periods are January 1st through March 31st, April 1st through June 30th, July 1st through September 30th, and October 1st through December 31st.
When does Washington Township mail water and sewer bills?
The water and sewer bills are mailed to customers in mid January, April, July and October. Customers have 30 days to pay.
How do I obtain a final water and sewer bill?
The resident needs to determine what date they are supposed to pay their bill through, either through the date of closing or when they turn the keys over, as listed in the purchase or lease agreement of the property. Prior to that date, the resident should read the six-digit number off each water meter (usually the meter(s) are located in the basement of the house). Phone in the reading(s) to the Water and Sewer Department at (586/786-0010 extension 5). The final bill will be typed. The bill may be picked up at the Township and may be mailed or faxed.
Why is my water and sewer bill higher than normal?
A majority of high bills are due to leaks. Toilet leaks are often inaudible. Other things that should be checked for leaks are sprinkler systems, water back-up sump pumps, and leaking faucets. Leaking water results in high bills. One way to check if there is a problem is to write down the six-digit number off the water meter (usually in the basement) after using water the last time for the day before going to bed. In the morning, before use of any water go to the meter and compare the read to the previous night and write it down. If the meter reading is anything other than the evening read, water is being used somewhere or leaking. Also the red diamond on the top of the meter should not move when water is not being used. Movement of the red diamond also indicates a leak.
I live next door to a house with the same number of people and they water their lawn as often as I do. How come my bill is higher?
You can not expect to have an identical bill to you neighbor. Peoples’ habits of water usage differ. A neighbor may set the timer on their sprinkler system a lesser amount of time or have less zones. They may have low-flow toilets. They may wash clothes and dishes less often. The water meter in your home is the gauge of how much water is used by each customer.
My water consumption is high. Could the meter be running fast or was there an error in reading?
Water meters are specifically engineered to prevent accelerated readings. In fact, as a meter ages it will register a lower than actual use. The meters purchased by the Water and Sewer Department are tested prior to being installed in your house. Additional testing may be done at the request of an owner and a deposit of $100.00.
Misreads occur on an extremely rare basis. The letter “R” following the “Current Read” on the water bill indicated an actual read. “E” is for estimated read. To verify the reading shown on the water bill, compare it to the reading on your meter in the basement. The reading that you take (first 4 digits reading left to right) should be greater than the “Current Read” from the bill.
Will my water be shut off if I don’t pay my water and sewer bill?
The Water and Sewer Department will not shut water off for non-payment. If a current bill is not paid by the due date, a one-time late fee of 10% of the current bill charge is added to the account. Any bill that is past due over six months in November will be added to the winter tax bill.
Does Washington Township allow customers to add a separate meter for irrigation?
Yes, the Township allows customers a separate meter for irrigation.
What is the savings for having an irrigation meter?
Customers with irrigation meters installed do not pay sewer usage charges for water that is used for irrigation and flows through the irrigation meter.
What is the process for having an irrigation meter installed?
The meter must be purchased from the Water and Sewer Department. At the time the permit is paid, a template will be provided. The plumbing permit must be purchased from the Building Department. The Building Department will provide a form to be completed by a certified plumber after the pressure vacuum breaker is tested on your irrigation system. After the plumbing and testing of the vacuum breaker have been completed, you must contact the Building Department for a plumbing inspection. The plumbing inspector will pick up the test form completed by your plumber at the time of the plumbing inspection. The final step is to call the Water and Sewer Department at (586/786-0010 extension 5) to schedule an appointment for the installation of the meter.
What are the most significant ways to eliminate excessive water consumption?
The most important areas for customers to analyze are irrigation usage and home maintenance, preventing toilet and faucet leaks. The following are tips for efficient lawn and landscape irrigation:
- To minimize evaporation, water lawn between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
- During the hot summer months, utilize sprinkler rain shutoff devices to avoid unnecessary watering.
- Review sprinkler manufacturer specifications for gallons per minute usage in order to establish irrigation guidelines within your household budget.
- Irrigate lawns for a maximum of 20 minutes per zone every other day during, drought periods and much less for landscape beds. Frequent over watering can be detrimental to your lawn and landscapes.
- Be observant for breaks in underground lines or sprinkler heads that may contribute to a system leak.
- Mow your grass at approximately three inches or higher and use a mulching blade so clippings act as a natural fertilizer and also hold in moisture.
- Use a larger part of your yard for landscape beds as opposed to lawn area.
- Beds require less irrigation.
- Use plenty of mulch in landscape beds to hold in moisture and plant shrubs and deep-rooted flowers that are more drought resistant.
Home maintenance ideas include:
Inspect the flush valve and overflow valve in all toilets. Test for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring into the tank and wait approximately 30 minutes, without flushing the toilet. If you see the food coloring seep into the toilet bowl, a leak is confirmed. A “shimmer” on the surface of the toilet bowl water and is another way to discover a leak.
- The flush valve or “flapper” in the bottom of the toilet tank will eventually wear out. Be sure to replace the flapper correctly.
- Verify the tank water level is approximately one inch below the overflow valve. Make sure the water in the tank is not running into the overflow tube. The arm of the ball float can be adjusted to bring the water level to the desired height. Check the refill tube in relation to the overflow tube to ensure no siphoning when the tank is refilling.
- Consider 1.8 gallon low flow toilets, which use approximately half the water per flush compared to conventional types.
- Install aerators on water faucets and showerheads.
- Purchase water efficient washing machines and dishwashers and operate with only full loads.
- Inspect water back-up sum pumps and repair dripping faucets.
- Inspect the furnace humidifier overflow valve for excessive water flow.
What permits are required and issued by the Water and Sewer Department?
- New Construction: Final Grade; Sump Lead; Water, Sewer & Sidewalk, if applicable
- Irrigation Permit
- Sump Lead
Permits required for new construction, single family and commercial, are applied for through the Building Department. The Building Department will forward your application to us for approval and issuance of your permits. The Building Department will notify you when all permits are ready and the amounts due. Permits normally required are: Final Grade, Sump Lead, Sidewalk, Water, and Sewer.
Irrigation Permits for a second water meter are issued at the counter to the homeowner or their contractor. You will need to know the size of the meter you required (3/4” or 1”). Your irrigation installer will be able to tell you what size will work best for you. You will also require a Plumbing Permit issued by the Building Department. This permit is also issued at the counter to the homeowner or, a licensed plumber.
If you are converting from a ground well and/or septic system to Municipal Water or Sewer, you will require a Water Permit and/or Sewer Permit.
Payment is due when permits are issued and may be paid by check or cash.
Inspections are required on all permits issued. Request for inspections may be made in person or by phone and generally will be completed the following business day.
Permits are not available online as they are issued at the counter. Application for new construction is included in the Building Permit package.