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How to Save Money on Sewer Bill

Ever since I was a kid I was brought up to be frugal and to save and budget money. * Disclaimer: I am not a financial planner.

The average San Diego resident spends $60-$70 per month on their sewer bill; that's anywhere between $720-$840 per year. That number can be reduced by as much a

fix leaks

A leak is when your water meter measures more water than you use. There are many different potential sources of leaks, located throughout the home and outside.

  • Toilets: The toilet is the most common source of residential water waste. A broken flapper or worn out seal can cause a toilet to continually run, wasting gallons of water every day. If left unrepaired, this can add up to more than $20 per month in wasted water alone!
  • Sinks and showerheads: Leaks from sinks or showerheads are often overlooked but can be just as costly as a leaking toilet if undetected for long periods of time (about $1 per week).

If it’s time for an inspection or you suspect a leak somewhere in your home, start by checking these common places first:

  • Water heater - Look behind it to see if there’s any moisture on its backside or around its legs – if so that could mean that condensation has built up inside which means there's likely a crack somewhere inside where air is getting into the tank itself causing excessive heat loss through evaporation/condensation cycles which will require immediate attention before they become too big a problem later down the road!

install a water saving toilet

Installing a Water Saving Toilet

If you’re looking to save money on your sewer bill and reduce your water consumption, installing a water saving toilet is one of the best ways to do it. A standard toilet uses 3.6 gallons per flush (GPF), but some models have been designed to use as little as 1.28 GPF or less. Keep in mind that most older homes didn’t have this option at all, so upgrading an existing toilet can be incredibly cost-effective!

If you choose not to get anything fancy and just stick with what you have, there are still plenty of things you can do:

  • Take shorter showers instead of baths (bathtubs use much more water than showers)
  • Use shorter shower heads if possible (these usually use around 2 gallons per minute compared with 3 gallons per minute)


  • Turn off the water when you’re not using it.
  • Use a bucket to flush instead of flushing with toilet water.
  • Use water saving devices in the shower, kitchen sink, laundry and garden.

close to their sewer bill

  • Toilets with a higher GPF (gallons per flush) can help reduce your water usage and sewer bill. The average toilet has a 1.6 GPF, but newer models have increased this to as much as 2.1 or 2.2. You can also install an aerator on your faucet that will help lower the amount of water you use while washing dishes or taking showers/baths.*


We hope that we’ve been able to give you some helpful information on how to save money on your sewer bill. We want everyone in our community to be able to afford the things they need, so it’s important to us that everyone knows how they can save money at home too!


How is sewer bill calculated


The sewer bill is an important aspect when it comes to your home. The sewer bill is based on the amount of water that you use and the base rate for water service.

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Base rate

A base rate is the minimum amount of money you pay for sewer service. It's calculated by the size of your property and is the same for all customers. The city or county will calculate your base rate based on this formula:

  • Base Rate = Sq Ft x Base Charge ($0.001146/sq ft)

For example, if you have a house that is 2,000 square feet in total, then we would multiply 2 times $0.001146 to get 0.0228612 or about 22 cents for every 1 square foot of your home's total floor space (this does not include any other charges such as taxes).

Usage rate

The next factor in calculating your sewer bill is the usage rate. This is also called a volumetric rate, and it refers to the amount of water that you use. In other words, if your water meter measures 200 cubic feet (CF) per month and your usage rate is $2 per cubic foot, then your monthly bill would be $400 ($2 x 200 CF).

Usage rates are calculated in gallons per month (GPM), which means that they are based on how much water passes through your meter each month. For example, if you have a 100-gallon meter and use 90 gallons that month, then you will pay 10 gallons of service charge ($1/gallon).


Consumption is the amount of water you use over a set period of time. The amount you pay for your sewer bill depends on how much sewage you release into the sewer system. When it comes to calculating how much sewage you release, the city measures consumption by multiplying the number of gallons you used by their rate per 1,000 gallons (or "CCF").

The city uses CCFs because they are able to track how much sewage enters a treatment facility with more precision than they can measure household water usage directly. This is because wastewater treatment facilities have meters that measure flow rates in cubic feet per second (cfs), which are units that indicate volume or mass flow rate through an opening in fluid mechanics. It's easier for them to convert this measurement into CCFs than it would be for them to read gallons of water going into homes each month from individual meters located on private properties!

Usage history

You can use a water meter to calculate your own water usage.

The first step is to read the dials on your meter. Your meter will have two sets of numbers, one in red and one in black. The red set shows how much water is being used while the black set indicates how much has been used since last month's reading (or since you last reset it).

Next, take this information and multiply it by 100 to convert it into cubic feet per minute (CFM). So if you see that there have been 60 gallons pumped up over 24 hours but only 50 gallons were consumed, your CFM would be 6 CFM rather than 7 CFM because 6 x 100 = 600 CFM for 24 hours of pumping vs 7 x 100 = 700 CFM for 30 days of pumping.

A sewer bill is calculated based on a base rate and the water that you use with an usage charge.

A sewer bill is calculated based on a base rate and the water that you use with an usage charge. The base rate is how much it costs to provide sewer service in your area, as determined by your local municipality. The usage charge is based on how much water you use each month, plus any additional charges for items such as wastewater treatment fees or water line repairs.

The consumption rate is how much water you use per month (e.g., 100 gallons). The consumption history shows how much water you used in previous months (e.g., 35 gallons).


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Shanon Sandquist

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