In 2018, we will change our rate structure to include a new fixed fee - the Capital Charge Fee. This fee will help fund necessary infrastructure investments in our water and sewer system, and ensure that we can provide safe and reliable services for years to come.
In 2017, our average residential customer paid $170 per quarter for 13,465 gallons (18 CCF) of water. The 2018 rate increase would add about $24 to an average residential customer's bill. For more information, check out the 2018 Rate Increase Frequently Asked Questions.
How much will my water and sewer rates increase in 2018?
Effective Jan. 1, 2018, there will be an average 14% combined rate increase to water and sewer bills in Montgomery County. The rate increase will vary depending on the size of your water meter and your average water usage.
Average Montgomery County residential customers pay about $170 per quarter for water and sewer. This rate increase will add about $24 to their quarterly bill in 2018. To put that in perspective, that’s just one extra cent for every 6 gallons of water.
I own a business. My rate increase is larger. Why?
Business and commercial customers require more infrastructure and service capacity than residential customers (e.g., water main size, fire suppression needs, and consumption patterns). (See table below.)
In 2018, we will adjust our fixed charges so that business and commercial customers pay the appropriate amount for the larger demand they place on the system. This adjustment will make our charges more equitable. It also means that business and commercial customers will see a larger one-time rate increase in 2018. After 2018, we will have flat percentage rate increases for all customer classes.
Fixed Charges Comparison Commercial vs. Residential Customer
|Large Healthcare Institution||Residential Customer|
|Annual Water Usage||
|Annual Sewer Usage||
|Water Service Line Size||
4-in Water Service Line
|1-in Water Service Line|
|Fire Suppression Needs||
|2 hydrants within 200’|
|Water Main Lines||
2,600 feet of 8" line
|101 feet of 8" line|
How do Montgomery County rates compare to other local water utilities?
Montgomery County, Ohio, water and sewer rates are competitive and reasonable, even after the 2018 rate increase, when compared to other local jurisdictions and similar metropolitan areas.
Montgomery County charges $254 per quarter for 30 CCF (22,442 gallons) of water. Other local jurisdictions charge from $169 to $491 for the same volume of water. The chart below illustrates our current rates as well as the impact of the 2018 rate increase, compared to similar water and sewer service providers.
What options do customers have to reduce the impact of rate increases?
A portion of the water and sewer bill has always been based on how much water you use, and that will still account for a substantial portion of the overall bill. Customer can save money by conserving water, which will reduce the amount they pay every quarter. You can visit our webpage for water conservation tips.
If you are a commercial or business customer, you may be able to reduce your costs by downsizing your meter. We allow customers to request a decrease in their meter size, provided the customer and his/her plumbing contractor determine that a smaller meter will meet the building or facility water usage needs. All plumbing changes and upgrades related to the new meter size must still adhere to current Montgomery County Rules and Regulations, and may require permits and inspections of completed plumbing work. All costs associate with upgrading and replacing the meter are the responsibility of the customer. For more information, click here or call permits at (937) 781-2653.
Why do we need a rate increase? Why is it important?
Our revenue is flat, largely due to decreasing water consumption, as well as below-average rate increases. In fact, we had no rate increases at all for four years straight from 2010 to 2013, because we wanted to help our constituents during the Great Recession. Now, we need to increase rates so that we can fund necessary infrastructure projects.
In addition, much of our infrastructure is getting old and needs to be replaced. The cost to maintain and upgrade our infrastructure continues to increase and will only get worse as the entire system ages. For example, we spend about $2 million every year to repair main breaks, and the cost has been steadily rising as our system ages. Without more investment in our aging water and sewer system, we will begin to experience:
- Decreased quality, reliability, and level of service
- Higher maintenance costs
- Increased risk to public health and safety, as well as the environment
Our water and sewer systems protect public health and the environment, support economic development, and ensure a high quality of life for our citizens. Many times we take these vital services for granted, simply because they are always there when we need them and much of the infrastructure is "out of sight and out of mind." We must reinvest in our water and sewer system to make sure that it continues to support our local economy, our communities, and our environment. The time is now.
How old is the water/sewer system?
Most of our water and sewer system was installed in the 1950s during a housing and commercial boom. Now, much of this infrastructure is reaching the end of its usable life and needs to be replaced or upgraded.
Specifically, about 50% of our underground pipes are at least 50 years old, and these older pipes experience more frequent breaks and stoppages. Our wastewater treatment plants were installed 35-45 years ago with help from the federal government, and that funding source no longer exists.
What will the rate increase fund? How will the money be used?
The 2018 rate increase will generate approximately $13.2 million in revenue, $6 million in water and $7.2 million in sewer. This money will be used to repair, replace, and upgrade our aging infrastructure. For more information about our current and planned capital investments, visit our capital projects page.
Money generated from the rate increase will be used to replace underground water and sewer lines. The cost to replace just one mile of water mains is about $1 million. We have about 1,400 miles of water mains, and 50% of those mains are 50 years old or older. Newer pipes will experience fewer main breaks, which means reduced maintenance costs, as well as fewer road closures and detours.
The money will also be used to improve the safety and resiliency of our water and sewer system by investing in two major projects:
- Replacing the sewer force main that feeds our Western Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Building a new redundant Water Feed to our south system, which serves 75% of our customers
Finally, some of these funds will be used to maintain our current aboveground assets, such as water towers, pump stations, and wastewater treatment plants.
What have you done to reduce costs and use your financial resources wisely?
We are a high-performing utility with high customer satisfaction (i.e., We had at least 93% high customer satisfaction in most recent surveys.). We just received the 2016 AMWA Gold Award for Sustainable Utility Management. Over the past 10 years, we’ve had minimal increases in our operating costs and we make every effort to be efficient with our resources, such as:
- We have saved $350,000/year in energy costs
- In 2016, we successfully applied for a $650,000 energy rebate from DP&L
- Since 2012, Western Regional reduced cost of overall chemical purchasing by 53%.
- From 2015 to 2016, Eastern Regional saved $96,100 on chemical/biosolids disposal costs
- From 2014-2017, $4.5 million in grant money to fund projects
- From 2013-2016, $421,000 in lab testing revenue to offset costs
The County has realized efficiencies wherever possible by using new technology, finding innovative solutions to problems, using current resources wisely, and reducing costs. We also employee fewer people, despite rising overhead costs and an aging system.We are always working to keep costs down and be more efficient.
However, this is not sustainable. Maintenance costs continue to increase, and many areas of the system are reaching the end of their usable life. Efficiency alone will not solve this problem. We must invest in our water and sewer infrastructure now. Rates must increase if we are to continue providing reliable and safe drinking water and sewer services to our citizens.
Is there any assistance available to low- and fixed-income residents?
Residents can still control a portion of their water and sewer bill by conserving water. Here are some water conservation tips for saving money on your bill.
If you know you are going to have difficulty paying your bill, please contact customer service at (937) 781-2688 BEFORE YOUR DUE DATE to set up a payment plan.
The following local community organizations may offer assistance, including paying utility bills, in limited circumstances:
1. Community Action Partnership: (866) 504-7379
2. Montgomery County Job and Family Services: (937) 496-6720
3. United Way of Greater Dayton HELPLINK: (937) 225-3000
4. Montgomery County Veteran’s Services: (937) 225-4801
5. St. Vincent de Paul: Call the local Catholic Church in your area and leave a message that includes your name, address, phone number, and the best time to return your call. A St. Vincent de Paul volunteer will return your call, usually within 24-48 hours, and you can discuss your needs in detail. If you are unable to find a church in your area, call the St. Vincent de Paul Administration Office at (937) 222-7349 for assistance.