Of the Keizertimes

Now that sprinkler season is over, it’s time to start saving money on your sewer bill.

If you’re a City of Keizer utility customer and want to lower your bimonthly statement, your sewer rate is based on water usage during fall and winter months.

If you:

• Get bills on even-numbered months, start reducing water usage now through mid-February.

• Receive your statement on odd-numbered months, reducing water use between November and mid-March can cut your bill.

Because there are not flow meters – a way to actually measure what goes down your drains – in the sewer system, your sewer consumption rate is based on your water usage the previous winter.

“The basis of that is, all the water that’s being used in the house goes down the sewer (during winter),” said Public Works Superintendent Bill Lawyer. “… The theory is most all of that water goes down the sewer, and that’s the water that’s treated.”

During winter, so the theory goes, you likely aren’t irrigating, washing your car, filling a swimming pool or all those other things that causes water use to rise.

It’s based on the fact that officials know how much it costs to treat one unit of water at the sewer treatment facility. The city of Keizer owns its water system, but the city of Salem owns the sewer system. Keizer manages its residents’ sewer billing.

“If you have five units of water used during that period our assumption is, since you’re not irrigating or washing your cars during that period, that that’s how much sewage we’re going to get from you year-round,” said Francis Kessler, operations division manager for public works at the city of Salem. “The only way we know how to determine that … is to look at water consumption.”