Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Water Bill Woes (and Sod advice)

We got our first water bill today.  And all I can say is YIKES!!!  We are less than .2 acre.  We have had 3 sprinklers running every day over our Sod.  (We weren't going to worry about the seeded backyard and hay yet.  Thank GOD we did that).

When we first moved in, the sprinklers were set to water every few hours.  After about a week or 2, we mentioned something to our PM in passing that it was still starting to die on us.  He said that you don't want to over water your Sod.  It can grow fungus under it, and as you can guess, kill it.  So we moved our timers to go off once every 12 hours and that's where it's stayed.  (Remember, I'm in the's HAWT!!!  lol  So we need to keep it from frying). 

When the bill came today I about fell out of my chair.

We still live in the same city.  So we still use the company and there is no price change.  Our reg. water bill is around the average of $55-$60.    I knew we'd have a higher bill.  I was thinking in the $100-$125 range.  Nope.  I was way off.  Our bill was for $200 and some change!!  WHAT!!!  Approx. $87 of it was in Sewer charges.

Do we have a leak?

So we called.  Nope.  No leak.  Sewer price is gauged on water use.  She told us that when we use the water, it has to go back to the plant and get "fixed".  This water went into the ground.  We just built a new house and are trying to get the lawn going.  It wasn't going back to the plant to get filtered or what have you. Was there anything they could do?

Unfortunately, that doesn't make any difference.  We were told pretty much "tough luck".  =/  Some other counties in my area do give discounts, but not ours.  So that's something for ya'll to check on where you are building

So watch the water bills guys!  Especially if you're watering the lawn.  I'm glad our lawn isn't bigger!  For anyone building this time of year though. you may not have it as rough.  The weather is getting cooler so your yards won't scorch as easily.

I wanted to pass along the info.  Hope it helps some of ya'll out!


  1. Hey Noey!

    Yup, that's pretty typical. Sewer bills are normally just based on your water usage, though some municipalities are starting to actually meter the water that goes in the sewer pipes.

    In a lot of locations around the country, even water that runs into the street and into storm drains also goes to the treatment plant, which is probably where that rule originated. Many people overwater, or water the concrete - all that run-off fills the pipes up with fairly clean water that gets treated like it was poo-water. Of course, in new developments, storm water is treated separately, but I guess the sewer charges haven't kept up.

    Sewer fees are a complicated business.

    But, at any rate, I hope that your bill is never that high again. With the rain we have all gotten on the east coast, you shouldn't have to water for at least a couple weeks, and then we'll be in the cold weather!

  2. We had the option to put in a second meter that just measures the lawn water for our sprinkler system...and that way we do not have to pay sewer on that portion. I'm not sure if that would be an option for exterior hose bibs or not. Our bill was still $180 this month, but we have a big lot and 40% of our water usage was for the lawn so we still saved quite a bit on the sewer..otherwise our bill would have probably been almost double that.

  3. Hi Noey, thanks for ALL of the advice in your various blogs, I am a soon to be new Ryan homeowner in Maryland, never tried blogging but these posts are addictive, I read them every day. Here is a blog I am trying to start

  4. Our water bill has been outrageous too. Our sod was laid mid-July; the worse time of the year and we've had a handful of rain storms since. We have a .5 acre. We contacte the water company to adjust the sewer charges. It helped, but still very expensive. We've now stopped watering the sod and only water when it desparately needs it. (This is Megan)

  5. Megan: Hey girl! Yeah, our sod was put in 2 weeks before settled, and we settled July 22. So I feel ya!

  6. Yep...not a surprise at all...but your PM is also can do more damage by overwatering and no matter how hot it is our landscape guy told us you should really only water in the early morning before 6am...give it a good soaking, but then you want the moisture on top to evaporate off...he said to never water in the evening when you get home from work because the grass will stay wet all night which can lead to fungus as well...I did not know that.

    With sod your goal is to get the roots real wet and get them established...not keep the grass blades wet. If you have spots that have gotten brown and aren't coming back now that it is cooler, get a high quality seed and over seed those areas and spray some Miracle Grow on it. With the cooler weather now you should see it come in nicely.

  7. Also, forgot to should demand an adjustment since the majority of your water was not going into the Sewer. Our county actually takes your 2 lowest water usage quarters and multiplies the sum by 2 to get the annual usage...that way things like watering lawns and filling swimming pools do not get counted towards sewer bill.

  8. WOW! That is a high water bill. Luckily in our development, water is free and included in the HOA fee we pay.

  9. I am dreading our first water bill! We have a (temporary) sprinkler system that goes on 3 times a day. Good luck getting it adjusted if you try again!

  10. Our first quarterly water bill for our new Ryan home with about .2 of an acre was $2550. I have called and they are arguing with me. I lived alone in the home 50% of the time. I had sprinklers go off every other day. Our sod is yellow in most spots. I don't understand how this could happen.

  11. Mike and Erin:
    You get it quarterly? So that's an average of what... $850 a month?

    Mine was approx. $200 for just the front yard for a month. So, if I had done the back too, it would have easily doubled! But that still puts your bill way high. I wonder if your rates are higher are than ours?

    After the first few weeks, you only needed to water every other day to every 2 days. Too much water will turn it yellow and cause fungus to grow under it.

    How many times a day were you watering it? We did it 10 min, 2x daily (every 12 hours). So I was essentially paying for just my front yard for 20 minutes a day.

    If you were doing front and back, and were doing it for longer amounts of time, that would also increase your bill.

    Some places will wave the sewer charge or lower it, if you explain that you are establishing a yard in a new home. It may be worth a shot.

    I hope you get them to cut you break!