FAQ's

 

  1. Where is my water meter and how is it read?
  2. Why are my bills the same amount each month?
  3. Why do I use more water during the winter than I do during the summer?
  4. I want to have my house resided, is there a charge for removing the register?
  5. Why did my utility bill go up and what can I do about it?
  6. Where is the main shut off valve in my house and does the Water Department fix this valve?
  7. How can I fill my pool?
  8. What kind of information can I get for setting up a new water softener or fish tank?
  9. Can I plant a tree in the street right-of way?
  10. I just bought my house and I need to put in a new lawn this summer, do I have to pay for the sewer on the water that goes outside?
  11. I am going to be doing some digging, how do I find out where my water service is?
  12. I am having my driveway blacktopped / cemented do I need to contact the Water Department?
  13. Why does the Water Department flush hydrants?
  14. Why do I have rusty water and how do I clear it out of my house?
  15. What causes cloudy water?


Where is my water meter and how is it read?

The Water Department has a meter located inside each house or business building (usually located in the basement) and about half of the houses still have a remote register located on the outside of the building also. This register is connected directly to the inside meter and is used to read the meter each month so that we don’t have to enter your house. We ask that the outside register is kept clear of all obstructions so that we can read it.

The remaining houses have been upgraded to a radio transmitter which sends the meter reading to us about four times per day. All houses should be upgraded to a radio transmitter by 2015.

To keep the service charges and due dates consistent, we have two (2) separate billing cycles which are billed to the service dates of either the 2nd or the 16th of each month. Since we can only read approximately 400 meters per day, your usage dates will be approximately 30 days apart, depending upon weekends and holidays, but normally not read on the 2nd or the 16th of the month unless your home has already been upgraded to a radio transmitter.


Why are my bills the same amount each month?

The service charges are based on your meter size and do not change from month to month. The only thing that makes the amount of your bill change is the amount of water that you use, water is not billed to the last drop used, but to the whole unit that has registered on the meter; so if your bill has been for 4 units each month for the past 3 months, that means that you use anywhere between 2,992 and 3,739 gallons per month.


Why do I use more water during the winter than I do during the summer?

Some people use more water in the summer because of outside watering or a pool and other people use more during the winter months because of furnace humidifiers or steam heat. Try to get to know your house and your water habits and then you will know when to expect larger water bills and if a problem develops.


I want to have my house resided, is there a charge for removing the register?

The Water Department will remove the register at NO CHARGE and, if not already done, we will upgrade your meter to a radio transmitter so that you do not need to put holes in your new siding. We would prefer 24-48 hours advance notice, since this is not emergency work and we can then schedule it into the work day.


Why did my utility bill go up and what can I do about it?

First of all check the reading on your meter in the basement and on the outside register. Do they match? If you have a transmitter, just check the meter reading. Is the meter reading equal to or higher than the present read listed on the bill that you received? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you probably have a leak in your house.

Please see Water Saving Tips under FAQ’s and Helpful Hints for more information.

If you have an outside register and the readings on the meter and outside register do NOT match, please call the Water Department for assistance.

The smallest leaks can make your bills go up dramatically if not fixed. You probably don’t realize that a dripping faucet actually wastes up to 15 gallons of water each day.


Where is the main shut off valve in my house and does the Water Department fix this valve?

Since the plumbing from our shut off valve at the street into your house is done privately through a licensed plumber that is hired by the homeowner, we do not have a record of the location of the main shut off valve in your house and WE DO NOT REPAIR THEM, it is the responsibility of the homeowner. Normally it’s located in the basement by the water meter or where the water comes into the house from the street. If this valve needs to be repaired, we will turn the water off at the street and there will be a charge to do this during our normal business hours.

This valve should be "exercised" or turned off and back on at least once a year to make sure that it works. If you are going to check the main valve to make sure that it works, you may want to contact the Water Department 48 hours in advance, so that we can make sure our shut off valve at the street is working so that we can turn the water off as quickly as possible if a leak develops when youexercise the valve. If it’s been a long time since this valve was used, if it’s corroded or if you are just not comfortable doing your own plumbing, you may also consider hiring a plumber to check and repair this valve if needed.

Please keep in mind that there is a charge for turning the water off and on at the street, and that this charge is higher if we have to do it after our normal business hours of 7:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., Monday-Friday.


How can I fill my pool?

You may contact a swimming pool water delivery company if you need it filled quickly to keep the liner from moving or you can fill it directly off of your outside water faucet; usage charges will be billed for both the water and sewer if filled from your faucet.

You may want to check with your swimming pool installer for a list of delivery companies or check online or in the yellow pages under "Swimming Pool Water Delivery".

Fire hydrants and deduct meters may NOT be used for swimming pool fills.


What kind of information can I get from the Water Department for setting up a new water softener or fish tank?

The most requested information is the grains of hardness, iron, pH and fluoride amounts in the water.
     - There are 20-22 grains of hardness in our city water.
     - Iron is at .06 ppm (parts per million),
     - pH is at 7.5-7.6 and
     - fluoride is at 1 ppm

For any other water information, please check out the City Connection, published in March and September each year or the Water Quality Report published on this website under Water Department.


Can I plant a tree in the street right-of way?

Before you plant, you would need to get a permit from the City Forester. If you are planting in the street right-of-way, please make sure that the trees are planted at least ten (10’) feet away from the shut off valve in the boulevard to avoid future damage to both the tree and the shut off valve. You should always contact Digger’s Hotline before doing any digging at 1-800-242-8511 or click on the Call Before You Dig – Digger’s Hotline link from the Water Department website.


I just bought my house and I need to put in a new lawn this summer, do I have to pay for the sewer on the water that goes outside?

The Water Department has meters available to save you money on the water that is used outside. Since the water that goes through this meter does not go into the sewer system, you would not pay the sewer charges on this water but you will have to pay for the water.

A $55.00 deposit is required (cash or check) to pick up a sewer deduct meter and the annual rental fee is $20.00 which is billed on the September bill each year.

If the installation of a new lawn is included in your contract with your builder, please be aware that the cost of the water to establish the new lawn is NOT included and without this meter you will pay both the water and sewer usage charges.

If you would like more information about an outside meter, you can call our office at (920)262-4075 and if you are interested in using one of these meters they can be picked up at the Water Department office at 800 Hoffmann Drive, Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Please note: Since there is an additional $20.00 charge for the meter, it will normally only save you money the first year that you live in your house. For existing customers, qualification for a deduct meter will be determined by the Watertown Water Department based on the previous years’ usage.


I am going to be doing some digging, how do I find out where my water service is?

First, you should always contact Digger’s Hotline before doing any digging. Digger’s Hotline will contact all of the utilities and have them locate their services for you. The Water Department will locate and mark the service from the water main to the shut off valve in the boulevard. Since we do not install, repair or have any record of where the service goes after the shut off valve in the boulevard, we will NOT locate your water service from the boulevard to your house. 


I am having my driveway blacktopped / cemented do I need to contact the Water Department?

Yes. The Water Department shut off valve for your house may be in your driveway and should be raised before the driveway is finished.

There is no charge for this to be done. If the valve is raised too high, we will also come back and lower it to grade for no charge. If we are not contacted and the valve is covered with blacktop or cement, the Water Department will have to dig through your new driveway to find it and raise it. It would then be at the homeowner’s expense to have the driveway repaired.


Why does the Water Department flush hydrants?

Hydrants are flushed twice per year to make sure that they are working in case of a fire. They are also flushed to move any stagnant water out of dead end lines and to clean out the water main. The Water Department tries to do this flushing in April and September each year, this is dependent upon the amount of rain received and how high the river is.

Schedules for hydrant flushing are published under the City Calendar on this website, in the Watertown Daily Times and are also aired on the Watertown Radio Station, WTTN 1580 AM and Beaver Dam Radio Station at WXRO 95.3 FM.

While the hydrant flushing is being done, customers may experience rusty water problems, if at all possible try to avoid using water during the hours while we are flushing in your area, usually from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Why do I have rusty water and how do I clear it out of my house?

Rusty water is normally caused by fire hydrants being opened for hydrant flushing, flow testing, fires or other work being done to the water system such as repair of water mains or new water main being added.

To clear rusty water out of your house, try to wait until the work being done in your neighborhood is finished for the day. Then, if you have a faucet in your basement that is not softened, run the cold water until it runs clear; if it’s warm outside, try running an outside faucet instead of the basement faucet to sprinkle your lawn or garden. After this faucet clears up, go upstairs and run another faucet until it clears up. Keep running each faucet until they clear up. If a faucet has lost pressure after rusty water is run through it, check and clean the faucet screens. REMEMBER to run only cold, non-softened water to avoid getting rust in your water heater or softener and check the water before doing laundry.


What causes cloudy water?

Cloudy water is normally caused by air in the water lines. Millions of very tiny bubbles can appear in the water giving the water a cloudy, white or milky appearance. You can make sure it’s air by filling a clear glass with water from your faucet. If the water clears from the bottom of the glass, upward, it is air.

This air may come from turning the water off at the main shut off valve in the basement (normally done for plumbing work inside your home or turning the water off while you go on vacation). The air may also come from work done outside of your home, when the fire department opens a fire hydrant or when Water Department employees or contractors do repairs to water mains or services air can also enter the lines.

Updated: 1/28/2014                                                                           Back to Top