Water & Sewer Billing FAQs

Water & Sewer Billing FAQs

Below are the water and sewer billing frequently asked questions (FAQs).  If you have additional questions contact the Water and Sewer Billing Team at 248-858-1110 or by email at wrcbilling@oakgov.com.

What are the Water and Sewer Billing hours of operation?
The office hours (both walk-in and phone) are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

To whom do I make my checks payable?

Make your Checks Payable to the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner or OCWRC.

What is the mailing address?
Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner
One Public Works Drive, Building 95 West
Waterford, MI  48328-1907

Where do I make payments in person?

Billing Services
2636 Dixie Highway
Waterford, MI 48328

What is the Water and Sewer Billing fax number?
Our fax number is 248-858-8162

What types of payments do you accept?
We accept checks and money orders in person or through the mail, cash in person only. Discover, Mastercard and Visa payments can be made online with no fee at www.oakgov.com/water/pay_bills. An application for automatic payments from a checking or savings account is also available there. 

Why is my bill so high?
Once your minimum bill is exceeded, your bill is calculated based upon actual water usage.  Quite simply, the more water that goes through your meter, the higher your bill will be. Most people use more water in the summer than they do in the winter due to watering of grass and gardens, and filling of swimming pools.

If you have a boiler type furnace or humidifier, more water will be used in an unusually cold winter due to the furnace running more.

How can I lower my water usage?
There are many simple things you can do to reduce your water usage. Don't let the water run when you brush your teeth.
Run only full loads of clothes and dishes. Hand washing dishes can take up to 6 times as much water as running the dishwasher.

If you are in the market for a new clothes washer, consider purchasing a front loading high efficiency washer.
Check all the toilets in your house for leaks by putting a few drops of food color in the tank. If the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak which should be repaired.

Older toilets generally use more water than necessary to flush. You can displace some of the water in your toilet tank by filling a half gallon jug with water and placing it in the tank. This will save you a half gallon per flush. The average family can save 225 gallons or more a month this way. (Make sure at least 2.5 gallons remain in the tank in order for the toilet to flush properly)

How do I check for a water leak?
There are several ways to check your plumbing for a leak. The most common leak we see is a silent toilet leak.  To check for one, put a few drops of food color into the toilet tank and wait several minutes.  If the color seeps into the bowl, you have a leak.

A good way to check if you have a leak somewhere in your system is to do an overnight meter read.  Write down the reading on your meter before you go to bed for the night (make sure no water gets used overnight).  Read the meter again in the morning before you use any water.  If the numbers change, you have a leak somewhere.  You can also do this when you are going to be out of the house for the day.

Most of the meters in use today have a flow detector on them.  On dial meters, there is a small red triangle inside a bubble located under the numbers on the meter.  When you are using water, the triangle spins.  If you are not running anything that uses water and the triangle is spinning, you probably have a leak.  On digital meters, leak indicators show the picture of a faucet.  Please refer to meter brochures that further describe the indicator.

Where is my meter located?
If you have a basement, your meter will be located there, near where your water service line comes into the house.

If the building is on a slab foundation, the meter will most likely be in a utility closet or under a kitchen sink. Check near the water heater.

Homes on a crawl space may have the meter located inside the crawl space if it is well insulated, or it may be inside the home itself.

Some homes in Pontiac also have outdoor meters in pits.

What is the minimum amount I can be billed each quarter?
Any amount of water used from zero units up to the minimum will result in the same bill amount.  As long as the water is on at the street, there is always a bill.

Minimums for each municipality we service are as follows:

Bingham Farms - 20 Units
Bloomfield Hills - 20 Units
Commerce Twp. - 20 Units
Farmington Hills - 16 Units
Highland Twp. - 15 Units
Keego Harbor - 13 Units
Oakland Twp. - 15 Units
Orchard Lake - 10 Units
Oxford Twp. - 15 Units
Pontiac – no minimum
Royal Oak Twp. - 7 Units (monthly)

Why are my water and sewer rates different?

Water and sewer rates are different because the water system and the sewage collection system are separate and distinct.  Rates vary for each community depending on the size and age of the infrastructure.  Generally, water and sewer rates are made up of three components – operating expenses, capital improvement expenses, and reserve contributions (in addition to the charges for water used).

Operating expenses typically include such things as electricity consumption, chemicals used for treatment, inspections of pipes and manholes, and administrative fees.

Capital expenses include costs for replacement of pipes and mechanical equipment. 

Reserve contributions are funds collected and set aside for future expenses, emergency repairs and for cash flow.

Why didn't my bill get forwarded to me? - Why was my bill returned?

If the name on your bill reads “Current Resident”, the post office will not forward it to you.  If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time, we recommend that you contact our office to have your name and a forwarding address added to your account.  You will need to call us again once you return home, in order to change the mailing address back to the service address.

Bills for buildings that are vacant are often returned to us by the post office.  In these cases, every effort is made to determine who the owner of record is and send the bills to them.

What happens if my bill is delinquent?
If your bill becomes 90 days or more past due, you may be subject to shut off.

Before we shut water off, we will send a notice with the amount that needs to be paid to avoid a shut off. Customers need to either pay the amount in full, or contact us before the due date to set up a payment arrangement.

Can I get a separate meter for my outside water use?
If you live in Farmington Hills, Pontiac, Commerce Township, Wolverine Lake, or Oxford (non-residential only), you can get a separate meter for outdoor water usage. Contact your municipality to get a permit before coming in to see us to purchase your meter.

What is the Industrial Waste Control charge on my bill?
Industrial waste control and industrial surcharges are fees imposed to cover the cost of compliance with National Pretreatment Standards and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permit that the Great Lakes Water Authority and other wastewater treatment plants have.  The charges cover the cost of compliance for this federally mandated program.  Charges are based on the size of your meter.