What are the big changes for 2020?
We added a discount for low-income seniors and other fixed-income individuals. We also simplified the rate structure.
What are the new sewer rates?
Ordinance 2019-75 established the sewer rates. The increase for the years 2020 and 2021 is 0% ($86.06 mcf), then in 2022-2025 there is a 2% increase each year, then in the years 2026 through 2027 an additional 2.5%, per year. These increases are needed to keep pace with expected increases in inflation.
How is the usage determined for my sewer bill?
On your bill there is a charge for water and sewer, both of those charges come directly from your water meter readings (Current Meter Reading less Previous Meter Reading).
But what about my bill? Is it going up?
For 2020 we rebalanced the rates into fewer tier groups so depending on how much water you use you may see a slight increase or a slight decrease. Fewer groups mean more consistent billing. Overall people that use less water should see a slight decrease while some of our higher-end users will see an increase (the calculation is sewer rate x usage).
It seems like the bill is large, why is your sewer rate so high?
Sewer rates are determined by the total cost of transporting and treating polluted water to the treatment plant where it is treated, filtered, and disinfected before being discharged into the Rocky River. Since many people use the Rocky River for recreation and enjoyment, the standards for treatment need to be high.
The average cost to treat a gallon of wastewater is generally more than treating a gallon of water due to the level of pollution that needs to be removed. The cost to treat a gallon of wastewater is normally less than 2 cents per gallon and considering that this water is going right into Lake Erie where it will become drinking water, you’re getting a good amount of value for that 2 cents per gallon.
The North Olmsted Wastewater Treatment Plant is a non-profit entity and we only charge for the cost of treating and disposing of water and residual waste material. We are not charging you extra to make a profit.
It seems like sewer rates shot up a few years back. How do you set the rates?
Sewer rates studied and developed every 7 to 10 years based on an independent analysis conducted by contracted professional engineering firms that specialize in this field. North Olmsted City Council reviews their recommendations and passes legislation for sewer rates. Past rate increases were directly related to mandates set forth by Ohio EPA, which included nearly 50 million dollars in sanitary system and treatment plant improvements completed from 2005 through 2015. Current rates also reflect the debt portion of those projects.
Besides treating wastewater what does my sewer bill cover?
Sewer charges for all customers include laboratory services, pretreatment services, and maintenance services. For North Olmsted residents, sewer bills also include maintenance of the collection system and lift stations, which transport waste to the treatment plant. Residents of Fairview and Olmsted Township have a slightly lower sewer rate but pay for additional service fees for sanitary collections and stormwater, through increased taxes (Fairview) or through payments to Cuyahoga County (Olmsted Township).
How do North Olmsted sewer rates compare to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD)?
The NOWWTP sewer rates have been lower than Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) since 2016. The NOWWTP 2019 sewer rate of $86.06 per mcf is 9.5% below NEORSD’s suburban rate, and in 2021, our sewer rate will be 19.4% lower.
Does North Olmsted charge a stormwater fee?
The NOWWTP does not charge a stormwater fee. Olmsted Township residents connected to either NEORSD or NOWWTP are charged a fee by the Olmsted Township. Fairview residents connected to NEORSD have assessed fees that go directly to the NEORSD stormwater program.
Can I get a credit for a rain garden or a rain barrel?
Since we are not charging a stormwater fee, we do not offer a stormwater discount or credit.
Do you offer a senior citizen discount? Do you have reduced rates for the disabled?
There is not a senior citizen discount but there are reduced rates for the disabled or income-based reductions through the homestead exemption. These programs are run by the Cleveland Division of Water.
How do I get/qualify for a homestead exemption?
If you already have a homestead exemption, granted by Cleveland Water (for your water bill) this exemption will be applied to both the water and sewer parts of the bill starting in 2020. If you do not have an exemption you can apply for one on Cleveland Water’s Website at http://www.clevelandwater.com or (216) 664-3130.
Does North Olmsted offer a seasonal discount?
There is not a seasonal/summer discount. A second meter (called a deduct meter) can be installed for outside irrigation, watering a garden, filling up pools or topping off a pond or fountain. Only water is charged on deduct meter usage, there is no charge for sewer on the deduct meter. For more information on a second/deduct meter please contact The North Olmsted Building Department at 440-777-8000.
My bill seems high. Do you have any tips for lowering it?
The US EPA estimates that the average person uses 100 gallons per day. This means that an average person uses 3000 gallons or 0.4 mcf per 30 days. Water bills and their associated sewer portion are billed based on the meter reading, using less water will help to lower both charges of the bill. You can check to see if your meter is running when you are not using water (a leak test) and check the calibration of your meter (search water meter calibration online). You can also register your account at ClevelandWater.com to see you daily usage.
How do I check a meter for leaks?
Start by turning off all faucets and appliances, then look at the meter. If the meter is digital the number should not change. If the meter is analog a little red or white triangle, or a blue arrow is your low flow indicator if this is moving, then there is water running somewhere in your home and you should investigate to determine if there may be a leak.
Where is my water meter?
Your meter is located in one of two places. It is either inside your home near the location that the water line enters your residence, or outside in a meter pit near the front of your lawn. Water meters in meter pits are housed in a meter box with a metal lid which is usually marked “Water.”
Who do I call regarding billing questions and rates?
Sewer rate questions should be directed to the City of North Olmsted Finance Department at 440-777-8000 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Questions regarding your meter readings or usage should be directed to Cleveland Water at (216) 664-3130.
Who do I contact if my tap water is rusty or contaminated?
The WWTP does not supply water to your home. You need to contact the Cleveland Water Department at 216-664-3060.
Who do I contact if dirty water is coming up in my sink, bath tub, or utility sink?
Contact the WWTP at 440-777-1881.
Who do I contact if I detect a “rotten egg” odor coming from my garage drain or another drain in my home?
First try pouring soapy water or bleach water down the drain. If that does not resolve the problem, call the WWTP at 440-777-1881.
What should I do if water is coming up around the base of my toilet?
Call a plumber. It is possible the wax sealing ring needs to be replaced.
What should I do if I have water coming up by my basement sump pump or crock?
First, make sure the power is on and the sump pump is working properly and/or call a plumber. If this occurs during a storm event, call the Service Department at 440-716-4151 during business hours or contact the Waste Water Treatment Plant at 440-777-1881 after hours and on weekends.
Anyone experiencing a sanitary back-up or standing water (water that does not drain) in a sink, bathtub or shower can call the WWTP at 440-777-1881 any time of the day or night. Many times this is a localized blockage (one area of the house) and will need to be addressed by a private plumber, but we always encourage you to contact us first for advice. Please note: E-mails are only viewed on weekdays.
On a typical sewer call the collection system crew will, locate your inspection tee (most houses have one but not all), inspect the tee, and determine if the sewer main and/or lateral pipe is clear. If the blockage is within the public right of way, the wastewater staff will work with you to resolve the issue. If the problem is on private property, you may need to contact a plumber to clear your drain pipes of any blockage.