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Wastewater Averaging- What is it and why should it matter to you?

Did you know that right now most cities in the Central Texas area are completing a process called wastewater averaging? This process is a way to calculate how much water flows directly from your property to the sanitary sewer system. A meter is installed to calculate exactly how much water your household uses every month, but there is not a meter attached to your homes wastewater line. So, wastewater averaging is completed every year between November and March to determine how much you will pay during the upcoming year for wastewater.

The City of Austin provides an online tool to help customers know the specific dates their property is being monitored. You can click here to find out your personal averaging period if you are a City of Austin resident. To accurately use this tool, Austin water customers will need a copy of a bill with a meter read date from October 2015 to March 2016. The specific dates for your wastewater averaging period are determined by your meter read date and cannot be changed.

The late fall and winter months were selected for this calculation period because most water used goes directly into the sanitary sewer system and is not being used for outdoor watering. The calculation from the wastewater averaging is used as a cap for the volume of wastewater you will be billed for during the upcoming year. New rates will go into effect with your April or May bill, depending on when your billing cycle begins and ends.

How is the calculation determined? With the City of Austin, a customer must have a minimum of 60 days of water use with at least 100 gallons of water used per billing period. If your household does not meet the minimum for two or more months, then your wastewater average will be set at a default of 5,000 gallons.

You might wonder why you pay more for wastewater than you do for water. Once the water in your home is used, it must be cleaned and treated before it can go back into the Colorado River or other water sources in the Central Texas area. Plain and simple, the cost of providing wastewater services is higher than the cost of providing water services.

If you would like to lower your wastewater bill you may want to check into some of these water conversation ideas.

  • Consider new landscaping for your home or business. The City of Austin actually has a rebate program for homeowners and schools that help conserve water through more drought tolerant and water effective landscaping. Check out the WaterWise Rainscape Rebate program to see if you can qualify for a $500 rebate. A rainscape helps to prevent runoff and works to reduce the need for additional water for irrigation.
  • The City of Austin also offers a rainwater harvesting rebate. If you would like help designing a rainwater harvesting system please check out the services we have to offer in this area. We would be happy to assist you with creating a plan that works with your home or business needs.
  • If you have an irrigation system it might be time for an upgrade. Multifamily and commercial properties can qualify for rebate through the City of Austin when they complete certain irrigation system upgrade. Read more about the program.

Now you know a little more about how your wastewater bill is determined and have a couple of options for how to save yourself money as well. If you need help with any plumbing questions, please give us a call at 1st Home and Commercial Services. We proudly service the Austin, TX and Central Texas area with service you can rely on and trust.

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