AUSTIN (KXAN) — Amid the boil water notice, one concern KXAN viewers have voiced is the impact the notice might have on their wastewater rate.
You actually pay two different water bills. One bill is for the water before it leaves your sink, while the other is for the water that goes down your drain. This is wastewater, and you pay for its treatment every month.
Wastewater includes food scraps, detergent and basically anything you flush. This water isn’t gone forever, instead it is sent to one of two treatment plants, Walnut Creek or the South Austin Regional Treatment Plant, where it is cleaned.
This water is then released into the Colorado River or is reused as part of the city’s reclamation program.
Determining your wastewater rate
Your rate is determined not by how much water goes down your drain, but by the water that actually comes out of your faucet.
For instance, if you pour a bottle of water down the sink, you won’t be charged for its treatment, nor will it effect the rate you pay for the rest of the year.
Austin Water determines your wastewater rate by averaging your clean water usage at the meter over a three-month period. These three months differ from home to home, but they all occur between November and March, when people typically use less water.
For instance, if your home’s wastewater averaging period is from December through February, Austin Water will look at your meter those three months.
They will then average the amount of water you used, while also adjusting for the length of the month.
That average will determine your wastewater rate for the year.
Will the boil water notice impact your rate?
Because the rate is determined by how much clean water you use, not by how much is going down the sink, you likely won’t see an increase in your rate this year.
Also, because we’ve been told we should conserve water this month, you might actually see a slight decrease in your rate. Unless you dripped your faucets last week during the freeze, then it might all just even out.