Common Questions

  1.  My bill has gone up. Could I have a faulty meter?

No, a failing meter will slow down its tracking of your water use rather than ever speed up. Please see the section "Monitor Your Property for Leaks."

     2.  Road or infrastructure work was done in front of my house and a lot of water was used or lost during the process. Could this be why my bill has increased?

No, this water has not crossed your meter, and therefore has no effect on your bill.

     3.  I received an unusually high water/sewer bill and  found that I had a leak which had gone undetected for some time. Is there anything the Water/Wastewater Utility can do to help me with the bill? 

The Water/Wastewater Commission is able to review requests for a one-time adjustment to a water/sewer bill in cases like this. You can read about the policy here:  Water and Sewer Bill Adjustment Policy

     4.  My water bill is higher than my friend’s bill who lives in Oak Creek. How can South Milwaukee’s water be so much more expensive?

While the water rates may be higher in South Milwaukee than some other communities, there are many other factors to consider. The majority of Milwaukee County communities pay the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) for sewer usage. This cost may be included in their property taxes, or be billed separately, rather than on a combined water/sewer bill as we have here in South Milwaukee. The charge for Fire Protection is also included on South Milwaukee’s water/sewer bills. This is another charge that other communities may include in property taxes rather than on the water bills. Finally, a very important difference is that water/sewer bills in the City of South Milwaukee are tri-annual rather than quarterly or bi-monthly as seen in other communities. Each bill covers 4 months of service rather than 3 months (quarterly billing) or 2 months (bi-monthly.)

     5.  We are billed per 100 cubic feet of water usage. How does that translate into gallons?

Each unit of usage you are charged for is equal to 748 gallons of water.

     6.  What are some ways I can decrease my water usage?

The number one way to reduce water usage is to catch and correct any leaks that develop.  See the section "Monitor Your Property for Leaks." You can also reduce water use by upgrading appliances such as your washing machine and/or dishwasher to more efficient models. Reducing the length of time water is left running while showering or doing other tasks, and changing to a water-saving shower head, are other effective ways to reduce water use.

     7.  What should I do if I have discolored or cloudy water?

If water needed to be turned off in your area for a repair or if hydrants were being flushed nearby, this may disrupt the pressure in the system.  Once water is restored, open the cold water tap at the lowest point in the home first until water is clear and at full pressure. Then move upward through the home running the cold taps to do the same. 

Another reason you may have temporarily discolored water is if you have galvanized pipes in your home. Pipes that have not been used regularly may have some rust/sediment in them which needs to flush out when the water is first used. It should clear up quickly.

 8.  My water bill's usage period starts before I moved into my house. What should I do? 

Water/sewer bills are sent out every 4 months. The dates of usage for the bills do not change based on a change of occupants. The water/sewer bill stays with the property. This is different from other utilities, such as WE Energies, which require each resident to set up a billing account in their name so they can be charged according to their need for service at the address.

 When a home is purchased, anything owed toward the water bill by the seller should be pro-rated up to the date of sale and credited to the buyer on the closing documents of the sale. Then, when the next water bill is generated, the buyer is responsible to pay the full bill, even though the usage dates may begin prior to the purchase date.

 Another way a change of occupants can be handled for water/sewer billing purposes is by requesting a final bill from the Water Utility. We can let you know the amount due for service up to a certain date, so that a tenant or owner can know what is owed up until that date. They can then pay toward the account so that the amount will be credited toward the next full bill. Again, the dates shown on the actual bill will not reflect when a tenant moved out or a new tenant moved in.