Top Water Billing Questions

Q:  Why is my water bill so high?
A:  Several factors can contribute to high water bills: High usage is the most common reason.  Leaks in the residence, usually from running toilets or sprinkler systems account for the majority of high usages.  Our water meters have a leak detector built into them.  

There is a red triangle located on the top of the meter which will spin around in a circle if water is being used.  This can be monitored by a resident and can prove to be very helpful in determining if they have a leak occurring.

Seasonal lawn watering is the second reason for high bills.  Billings typically are higher during irrigation months and are lower during the colder months.  Often residents are not aware of the amount of water they are using on their lawns.   

Billing rates are another determining factor in the reason bills might be high.  Rates are reviewed and established on a yearly basis.  Set rates are approved for each of the billing items that appear on the water bill.  These rates are then calculated against the usage in order to determine the amount charged for each item.

Q:  How often will I receive a water bill?
A:  Bills are issued every two months. There will be six bills generated a year. 

Q:  Why is there a SW-sewage charge on my bill?
A:  The Sewage Treatment charge is a pass through rate that is set by the City of Detroit.  

Q:  I have yellow or "rusty" water.  Is it safe?
A:  Yes, the water is safe.  The yellow, or as it is sometimes referred to as "rusty" water, is actually iron sediment which is naturally present in the water mains.  Whenever there is a change in the pressure flow of the water throughout the distribution system, the iron is stirred up and presents the yellow coloring.  Water main breaks or use of fire hydrants can cause this to occur.   If you notice rusty water, we recommend that you open your cold water line in your basement laundry tub and let is run until the water is clear.  It sometimes helps to flush the toilet while the cold water line is open.  This process will remove the discolored water from the home.  Avoid running the hot water if the cold water is discolored.  This will prevent filling your hot water tank with discolored water.

Q:  My bath water is discolored.  Why?
A:  If the discolored water is only in the hot water, it may be due to an accumulation of sludge in the hot water tank.  This can be fixed by draining the tank and refilling it.  Always check the cold water first to make sure it is not discolored.  You don't want to refill the tank with discolored water.

Q:  My water is cloudy.  Is it safe?
A:  Yes, the cause of the cloudy water is actually oxygen bubbles.    If you fill a clear glass with water and set on a counter, the water will clear out within a few minutes.

Q:  What is the current balance on my water account?
A:  You can call the water office between the hours of 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday at 313-640-1615 or 313-885-6600.   

Q:  Can I pay my bill online?
A:  The City offers auto debit of the water bill from a checking account on file.  Applications for auto debit can be downloaded from our website, mailed to the resident, or picked up in person at City Hall.