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1/13/2014 6:00:00 AM
Water use now basis for year's Kingman sewer bill

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The best way residential users of the city's sewer system can mitigate high monthly bills is to use as little freshwater as possible during the winter months, which is the quarter of the year used to establish sewer charges throughout the year.

The formula is not unique to Kingman, said Trina Ware, an administrator in the city's Finance Department.

"Other cities do this all the time," she said.

The city applies users' winter quarter consumption in December, January and February - which are billed in January, February and March.

Essentially, for every gallon of water used, the city bills a gallon of sewer, so a family that consumes 1,000 gallons of water a month would be billed 1,000 gallons in sewer.

The city charges $5.60 per 1,000 gallons of sewer.

"Conserve as much as possible," said Ware. "Don't water at all outside if you can. Do anything and everything you can to conserve water."

The city, said Ware, will bill based on the winter quarter average consumption during the warm months when watering outdoors is heavy. However, in the event the actual monthly use is less than the winter quarter average, the actual consumption is used to compute the bill.

And while Ware said it's important to conserve water during the winter quarter in order to keep high sewer bills as low as possible, she encourages conservation throughout the year.

Little things, such as turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, and big things, such as installing water-saving fixtures and appliances, can pay big dividends in conservation efforts.

A shower uses on average seven gallons per minute with regular fixtures and less than half that amount with upgraded fixtures.

A full tub for a bath takes between 28 and 36 gallons. A running faucet consumes about three gallons per minute and a washing machine can use between 18 and 55 gallons per load, depending on the brand. Dishwashers average about 15 gallons per load. Toilets can use between six gallons and 1.6 gallons per flush, according to the EPA, depending on the brand.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Article comment by: Sassy Lassy

@ barbara burley

Your daughter is living on our dime and we're supposed to feel bad that she no longer has cable and internet? Incredible...

When money had gotten tight for me in the past, I went to the library for internet. And I watched broadcast television. If an increase in her sewer bill sets her that far over the edge, she shouldn't be spending her money on frivolousness, like cable and internet, in the first place.

Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Article comment by: leaks are big bucks

My rental has an underground sprinkler in the backyard. Im homebound disabled. Never heard the leak, had no reason to look in the backyard.

Imagine my surprise when the 1500.00 water bill arrived. I was expecting the usual 70.00.

In short the water company was decent about the incedent. The 900 sewer was dropped, the water cost adjusted in my favor, and a final decision by the commitee. The cost for the leak came to just under 400.00 dollars. They offered a very easy payment plan adding to each month at the time I was able to cover it but appreciated their offer for sure.

The first words I was told were.." The water went into the ground so I dont see a sewer charge being applied"....That was a real relief.

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014
Article comment by: Its a Desert

You can't use water as if you are in the Midwest. Let nature water your plants. If they die they were not meant to live here. Its a Desert or didn't you notice.

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014
Article comment by: Helpful Information

Thanks to the Miner for posting this article. Until now, I hadn't known how sewer rates were determined. Now I know to watch my water use through the rest of the winter. (I only wish I'd known at the beginning of December, but better late than not at all.)

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014
Article comment by: lucky you're not Down Under .....

parts of Australia have been under quite severe water restrictions for several years - watering plants is restricted to 3 days per week, and only during certain hours, car washes are limited to a single bucket of water, etc.

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014
Article comment by: buster brown

recycled urine is the answer. if people would just whiz in their toilet TANK they could flush for free.

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014
Article comment by: You Keep Voting Republicans, You Keep Suffering

Barbara B., instead of saying she does use much water - whatever amount that is, why not help her assess exactly how much water she uses in a month. I suspect you'd be surprised.

Now I do agree that these sewer bills are way too much. However the reason for that is our poor leadership that failed to update the water system over the years. That includes extending sewer lines a few miles each year would have added thousands of sewer customers which would have lowered everyone's bill.

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

"her sewer bill averages about $105.00 a month"

I highly doubt that. Perhaps you mean her combined water, sewage and sanitation bill?

As to charging for water to wash cars and water plants, well, water that runs down the street goes into storm drains which need to be installed and maintained. You can get irrigation water on a second meter...but that's normally not feasible except for new construction. How would you propose the determine the costs?

I use collected water from my A/C and rain in the summer to water plants, and never water in the winter. Did you know your A/C can produce 2-3 gallons a day? Why waste it. Oh...if on a swamp cooler, there's a bunch of water usage right there....but even purge water can be used for plants.

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014
Article comment by: biker randy

I'm not on the Kingman sewer system but being an ex-sailor on a ship that had to make it's own drinking water, we had to take a Navy shower, meaning when you were sudsing up you turned the water off to save water consumption. Showered that way ever since.

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014
Article comment by: barbara burley

this article on the sewer bill is nothing but crap ! the city is ripping sewer customers off at a very high pay for water use if it goes down the sewer or not. if you wash your car, if you water your trees you still pay for the water as if it was going down the daughter does not use much water at all and she is on ssi and now had to turn off her land line phone, her internet and her cable to pay for this totally outrages cost every single month. she has two young boys at home with no internet..her sewer bill averages about $105.00 a month..just crazy ! it is bogus and nothing but legalized thievery by the city. you are paying for the environmental restructure of the sewer plant. I am now a happy person that I do not have sewer but septic..i would never change over to sewer..i feel very sorry for the people that have to pay this outrageous fee monthy !

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