Skip to content.
HomeE-ServicesCity GovernmentLiving & WorkingDoing Business
You Are Here: Home > E-Services > FAQs

Water/Sewer

Related Pages: Administration & Finance » Treasurer & Collector of Taxes

Questions about usage, rates or abatement requests can be directed to the DPW Water Billing Office at (508) 799-1440. Questions about payments or balances can be directed to the Treasurer & Collector of Taxes at (508) 799-1075.

Q:
How often am I billed?
 A:

Most residential meters are billed quarterly, approximately every three months. Most commercial meters are billed monthly.

Q:
Why does my bill change from period to period?
 A:

Bills change according to water usage, which fluctuates as a result of a number of things, including the number of people who live at a property. Everyone has different personal water habits that will affect the amount of water used in a given month and water consumption may vary from season to season. Many customers increase their water consumption in the summer months by watering gardens, washing cars, filling swimming pools, etc. Bills may also fluctuate based on the number of days in a billing period. Quarterly bills can on occasion be over or under 90 days depending upon the day your meter was read.

Q:
Why is my bill so high?
 A:

Bills change according to water usage, which fluctuates from month to month. A drastic increase in consumption could be an indication of a leak. If you suspect a leak or receved a "high consumption notification," you should check all plumbing for leaks. If you cannot find a leak, contact the Water Billing Office at (508) 799-1440 and we will be happy to set you up with a free home inspection.

Q:
How do I check for leaks?
 A:

Faucets - Check all faucets and piping for leaks by monitoring for drips of water under sinks and from exposed pipes. Perform an inspection with the water on and off, as some leaks only occur when the water is on.

Toilets - Add a few drops of dark food coloring in the back of the toilet tank. Do not flush the toilet. Wait for a few minutes. If the food coloring appears in the toilet bowl, this means you have a leak. Some toilet leaks are intermittent, so you don't always see or hear the water running.

Check plumbing in the basement by monitoring for drips of water coming from exposed pipes.

Check your meter - Turn off all water using appliances and water fixtures inside and outside your home. Check your meter to see if the leak detector (small black triangle) is spinning or slightly vibrating. If it is, then you most likely have a leak and should try to investigate further.

Q:
How can I lower my bill and conserve water?
 A:

Bills change according to water usage, which can fluctuate based on personal water habits. You can lower the water consumption at your property by installing water saving devices or following some simple conservation tips. Check our Conservation Tips page for more ideas.

Q:
Why is my bill estimated?
 A:

Actual readings are obtained using an automated meter reading (AMR) system. If the meter interface unit (MIU) is not functioning, you will receive an estimated bill based on past usage. If your property is equipped with the AMR system and you receive an estimated bill, please contact the Water Billing Office at (508) 799-1440.

Q:
Why is my sewer charge higher than my water charge?
 A:

Sewer charges are higher than water costs for many reasons. There are differences in installing and maintaining water distribution versus sewer collection systems. The cost and complexity of treating wastewater has increased more dramatically over the years than the cost of producing drinking water. FY2015 water rate is $3.54, sewer rate is $6.29 per hundred cubic feet of usage.

Q:
What options are available for paying bills?
 A:

In person at City Hall (Treasurer's Office), online via our Online Payments page or mailed to PO Box 15602, Worcester, MA 01615.

Q:
I am buying/selling property. What should I do?
 A:

When transferring a property, it is important that all water/sewer charges are finalized with the seller of the property. To ensure that the appropriate water and sewer charges are assessed, the buyer and seller must follow these important steps. Seller or representative must obtain a final reading from the water meter and contact your attorney prior to the real estate closing. This will ensure that the home seller pays all accrued debts. If this process is not completed, the new homeowner may inherit the water and sewer bill from the previous owner. The attorney conducting the real estate closing needs to call in the final reading to the Water Billing Office at (508) 799-1440. The billing office will calculate the outstanding water and sewer usage and verbally quote this over the phone. The attorney will provide the name and mailing address of the new owner so future bills may be properly addressed.

Q:
I will be temporarily be away. What should I do?
 A:

If you will be away for an extended period of time, you may request to shut off the water service at your property. Please contact our Customer Service Center at (508) 929-1300. Please note that there is a $95 turn-off fee and $95 turn-on fee for this service.

Q:
How do I prevent my pipes from freezing?
 A:

It is the responsibility of the property owner to protect the service pipe and water meter from freezing. If your meter does freeze, the Water Department will replace the meter and your account will be assessed a meter replacement fee.

To Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing:

  • Insulate water meter and pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements and crawl spaces.
  • Repair broken and cracked windows, doors and walls. Close all doors and windows near pipes, and make sure there is no draft.
  • During cold weather (prolonged temperatures below 32 degrees), allow a slow trickle of water to flow through faucets connected to water pipes that run through unheated spaces.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and install covers on all outside faucets. Shut off water to outside faucets and drain those water lines.
Q:
How do I read my water meter?
 A:

Your water meter is read from left to right, just like a car odometer. Your meter reads in hundred cubic feet (100cf = 748 gallons).

Q:
How can I obtain a bill history for my account?
 A:

Contact the Water Billing Office at (508) 799-1440.

Q:
Does the City of Worcester offer public assistance for water/sewer?
 A:

Certain criteria are required. To find out if you qualify for assistance, please contact the Assessor's Office at (508) 799-1021.

Q:
Can I bill my residential tenant for water and sewer charges?
 A:

The Water Sub-Metering Act was signed into law on December 16, 2004. Tenants in apartments occupied from this date forward are eligible for sub-metering. Worcester Department of Public Works - Water Billing Office WILL NOT supply, install, maintain or read sub-meters, nor will it bill tenants.

Q:
What is a Fire Pipe Service?
 A:

Fire Pipe Service fees are an ANNUAL bill issued to property owners as part of the private fire protection system installed by a property owner. This ANNUAL bill is issued in August/September of each year and covers July 1st through June 30th of each year. These bills are prepaid for fire pipe services. The ANNUAL fee charged is based on the size of the Fire Pipe with every 1" of pipe diameter = $89.00 annual fee.

E-Services
© 2014 | Copyright City of Worcester, MA | All Rights Reserved. | Login | Disclaimer | Site Map

Translate
Español  tiếng Việt  中文 - Chinese  Português  Shqip - Albanian  Français  Polski