Little-known savings for your water bill

TAMPA - The Fords of New Tampa use their fair share of water. There are four in the family and the home has both a pool and sprinkler system. "The bill is $160 and the waste water charges were $96, roughly," says Ford.

Ninety Six dollars just for the waste water charges. That's the amount you pay for the water that goes back into the sewer system. "When you are running your sprinklers, you are putting some water in your pool, doing anything outside, the water does not go back into the sewer system," says Ford.

This customer says it was not until she closely examined the back side of her monthly bill did she realize her family could save hundreds of dollars a year by signing up for 'sewer max.'

"The whole purpose of it is to not charge customers sewer charges for water that truly is not going back into the sewer system," according to Tampa Water Department's Eli Franco. He says new customers that qualify are automatically placed on sewer max but sometimes they do miss an account.

Homeowners like the Fords who find that their bill has not been set up with sewer max should contact the water department, according to Franco. "So if you have a home, you have outside use for your garden or your lawn and you have been paying sewer charges for outside use, we should not be doing that."

Carol Ford only wishes she would have learned about sewer max sooner.  Still, her calls to the water department resulted in a credit to their bill, the addition of sewer max to their account and money in their pocket.

"I feel like it is worth your time to look at the water bill make a call to the water department and find out if it is in place on your account," said Ford.

Now if you are a Hillsborough County water customer, your bill is capped at 8,000 gallons for waste water costs.  That means you will pay a maximum of $47 for that portion of service. In Pinellas County, there is also a cap on waste water charges of about $30 dollars a month.

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