Austin Water may review, revise wastewater averages for bill calculations affected by winter freeze

A broken pipe leaks out of a wall. (Barrera Plumbing Services)

A broken pipe leaks out of a wall. (Barrera Plumbing Services)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With frigid weather bursting residential water pipes at an unprecedented rate in Austin, the city’s water utility said it may review and possibly revise wastewater averaging calculations for customers whose bills are being computed during the winter freeze.

“Austin Water will review and potentially revise Wastewater Average calculations for those customers whose bills use meter reads since the start of the freezing weather conditions. In addition, wastewater averages may be revised following requests for water leak bill adjustments,” according to an Austin Water spokesperson.

Wastewater averaging calculations don’t go into effect until April, according to the city. You can find more information on the city’s wastewater averaging process here.

Wastewater averaging, which runs from mid-November to mid-March, is a time to conserve water and save money the following year, according to Austin Water. Since wastewater lines don’t have meters, the utility uses a home’s water meter averages from the fall and winter, when people typically don’t irrigate, to get a measurement that better reflects how much water actually goes into the wastewater line.

But burst pipes could skew the average, and a huge number of residents are reporting damaged water lines, spigots and plumbing.

Local plumbers told KXAN they have received 10 times the normal call volume for broken pipes, since the winter storm first blanketed Austin in snow the night of Feb. 14.

You can find tips on how to protect your plumbing and assess damage here.

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