Customer Service FAQs
You have questions, we have answers. Answers to the Customer Service questions we're asked most frequently are listed below.
You have questions, we have answers. Answers to the Customer Service questions we're asked most frequently are listed below.
We're here to help! Select from the topics below to start your search from our list of frequently asked questions.
The WSSC Water Customer Assistance Program, or CAP, was started to allow qualified WSSC Water customers to receive a credit for the Ready to Serve Charge. Since CAP started in July 2015, more than 14,000 WSSC Water customers have received the CAP credit.
There are two components to the Ready to Serve charge, which are shown on the WSSC Water bill: (1) the Account Maintenance Fee, which covers the cost of bringing water and sewer service to every home and business (costs for meters, meter readers, billing and such); and (2) the Infrastructure Investment Fee, which pays for the replacement and rehabilitation of system infrastructure.
The Ready to Serve Charge varies slightly depending on the size of the meter, but the AMF averages about $16 per quarterly bill and the IIF averages about $12 per quarterly bill, for a combined credit of approximately $26 per quarter.
Once you are approved for energy assistance through Maryland’s OHEP, you receive the WSSC Water CAP credit. If you are approved, you will receive a notification from WSSC Water.
You will receive a letter if you are approved for the CAP.
No. CAP customers receive a credit for the Ready to Serve Charge that appears on the water and sewer bill. In effect, the Ready to Serve Charge is subtracted from your bill.
No. The CAP covers only the Ready to Serve Charge. Individuals who are approved are charged for the water and sewer usage based on their consumption. Customers can further reduce their bills through conservation.
CAP customers automatically are exempted from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund Fee. WSSC Water administers this fee on behalf of the State of Maryland.
The CAP is funded 100 percent by WSSC Water.
WSSC Water's Water Fund provides one-time or emergency assistance to customers in financial need. It is funded by contributions from customers, employees and others. Also, the Water Fund is administered by a third party.
e-Bill is WSSC Water’s initiative to become more environmentally friendly through electronic or paperless billing. The program allows customers to receive their bills electronically. Each quarter, you will receive an email notification when your new bill is available for viewing.
To pay your e-Bill without a convenience fee, you must pay by check, also known as ACH, or an electronic check. If you prefer to pay with a credit card, please use the “Quick Payment Options” link in the Customer Portal. There is a fee associated with credit card payments.
Yes, you can view your current bill as well as up to 3-years of previous bills.
You can choose to pay now, schedule a future payment, or set-up automatic payments. Please ensure that your payment is scheduled prior to the bill due date to avoid a 5% late fee.
Normally, these two amounts (appearing on your bill as “Total Current Charges” and “Total Account Balance”) are the same. However, in some cases, when there is an overpayment (credit) or an outstanding unpaid balance (remaining from a previous bill), they may be DIFFERENT! To avoid overpayments, late fees and/or collection activity, please double check your bill each quarter to ensure that you are paying the correct amount.
No, if you have a current unpaid bill reflected on your account at the time you enroll in e-Bill, please use the “Pay Now” feature. Future bills will automatically be paid using the option you select when setting up Auto Pay.
Yes, your “Pay Now” payment will post to your account within minutes of your completed transaction. If your water service has been disconnected, please call us at 301-206-4001.
Yes, you can set a payment limit, which can be changed (increased/decreased) or cancelled at any time.
Payments through your checking account are not authorized if your WSSC Water account is in a “cash only” status. In that case, customers can pay their bill with a credit card using our Quick Payment Options in the Customer Portal. There is a fee associated with credit card payments.
Yes, you must enroll in the e-Bill program to receive the benefit of free online electronic check payment.
Activation can take up to one billing cycle. After you sign up, an email will be sent when e-Bill is activated.
Yes, you can cancel anytime by going into the Account Management area of the site and deleting the account.
No. Only one user per billing account is allowed to register.
Please call a Customer Service Advisor at 301-206-4001 or 1-800- 828-6439 (toll-free) to discuss this matter. A Release of Liability must be either faxed or posted at the property in plain sight to have service restored.
Release of Liability (English) | Release of Liability (Espanol)
Emergency Services Center Advisors can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 301-206-4002 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Low-pressure/flow is generally described as not enough water in the system. If the problem is low flow, you should check with a plumber. The problem may be a restriction within the pipes or a problem with just one plumbing fixture. If the low-flow problem is found throughout the property, call WSSC Water and we will check the pressure at the closest fire hydrant and your property. An adult 18 or older must be available for us to access the property. Understandably, our crews will have to address system-wide emergencies and other critical events prior to investigating low-pressure concerns.
High pressure/flow is stronger-than-normal water flow from the spigots. If water pressure is too high, you can experience banging pipes, a tripped hot water relief valve or washers that quickly wear out.
Causes of low pressure or high pressure/flow:
Please contact WSSC Water's Emergency Services Center at 301-206-4002 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provide as much information as possible (e.g., water is streaming or gushing; provide the street address or intersection). An inspector will be sent to investigate.
We perform thousands of maintenance checks on fire hydrants every year so they're ready when needed. We also rent fire hydrants to customers in certain situations.
By law, WSSC Water is obligated to issue bills based on water that passed through the meter if water is used outside, for example for landscaping, filling pools, washing cars or power-washing. Be prepared for those uses to result in a higher Average Daily Consumption, which will mean higher billed water and sewer rates. If you use a lot of water outside your home, installing a sub-meter or leasing a fire hydrant could be what you need. See our Sub-Meter Information page and our Fire Hydrant Meter Information page.
Customer Service Advisors are available to handle routine metering and billing inquiries from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays; call 301-206-4001 or 1-800-828-6439 (toll-free). You can also email customer service at email@example.com.
Public hearings on our proposed budgets are held each year in Montgomery County and Prince George's County before February 15 for the operating budget and September 15 for the Capital Improvements Program budget. If you want more information about the hearing process or the public hearing schedule and locations, contact the Communications and Community Relations Office at 301-206–8100.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, prompted an increased safety awareness of the infrastructure we rely on every day. Our mission has always been to supply safe, clean water to our customers. In doing so, we take security very seriously. We have a strong foundation of ongoing safety measures: security at our facilities; round-the-clock monitoring of our distribution system; state-of-the-art security technology for our computer and operations systems, and extensive water quality testing of our water from source to tap.
Be assured we are taking all appropriate steps to safeguard your water. Our officers are on alert, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also closely coordinate with local and federal authorities.
You can help too. If you see what you believe to be unusual behavior near any of our facilities, note as much information as is safely possible, then call 911 right away to report it. Do not attempt to approach the subject(s).
WSSC Water's website has all available language options at the top of every page. You may access the language translation under Select Language. Please use this feature in Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. It is not supported in Microsoft Internet Explorer.
A grinder pump works like the garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, but on a larger scale. It grinds up wastewater produced in your home (from toilet use, the washing machine, showering, etc.) and pumps it into the public sewer system.
A grinder pump is placed in a tank (or well) that is buried in a convenient outdoor location on a homeowner’s property (grinder pump units also can be purchased for inside installation). The tank provides wastewater holding storage capacity. When water is used in the house, wastewater flows into the tank. When the wastewater in the tank reaches a pre-set level, the grinder pump automatically turns on, grinds the waste, and pumps it out of the tank via the homeowner’s on-site sewer service line and into the public sewer system. A grinder pump will normally run for one or two minutes and automatically turn off when the tank is emptied. The pump is powered by electricity and is connected to a control panel near your electric meter.
In most instances, wastewater flows by gravity from the on-property sewer service line of a home or business to a public sewer main where it travels to wastewater treatment plants. However, because of elevation, gravity may not work in all instances. In situations where a home/business’ sewer service line leaves the building at a lower elevation than the public sewer main, a grinder pump is sometimes used to grind and pump wastewater to the main. The diagram illustrates a typical grinder pump layout.
Most of the 1,500 grinder pumps in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties are on private property and therefore are the responsibility of the property owner. The same is true for the private sewer service line on the home or business owner’s property. WSSC Water’s responsibility for sewer service begins after the property line in the public right-of-way.
A properly maintained grinder pump should be able to handle wastewater from the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc. However, some chemicals and substances can adversely impact a grinder pump and may cause safety hazards. Please check the labels on all chemicals before using or disposing them. Also, never pour the following items down drains or flush down toilets:
These items can damage the grinder pump and its controls, cause blockages and backups and may create unsafe conditions in your lines and tank. Also, never connect a sump pump to sewer lines. Doing so is a violation of the WSSC Water Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code and decreases the sewer mains’ flow capacity while increasing wastewater treatment costs. In the case of a grinder pump, a sump pump connected to the sewer system may raise your electric rates and shorten the life of your grinder pump.
The homeowner is responsible for maintaining the ground around the pump basin within a five-foot radius so that the ground is sloped enough to prevent rainfall from pooling next to the basin and entering the lid or vent. Grinder pump tanks have an air vent located on the side of the tank, just below the cover. This vent must be kept open and free of debris, such as mulch or grass, for the unit to remain operational. Grinder pumping systems are designed to handle wastewater that is normally discharged to the sewer from the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry. However, rain water draining into the grinder pump basin may overload the system and cause slower pumping rates which may potentially create sewage back-ups. Additionally, the WSSC Water Plumbing and Gas Code prohibits the connection of sump pumps to the public sewer system. Inflow from sump pumps, downspouts, and foundation drains are disallowed and may also overload grinder pumping systems.
In addition to following the previous tips, follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines.
If you have misplaced the guidelines, only two types of grinder pumps are currently approved for use in the WSSC Water service area:
F.E. Myers and Environment One. Please contact either company for manufacturing details at (888) 987-8677 for Myers and (518) 346-6161 for Environment One.
Remember that your grinder pump is powered by electricity. In the event of a power outage, your pump will not work unless it is powered by a generator.
If you plan to be gone for several days, replace the wastewater in the tank with clean water to help minimize odors. To do this:
This process will cleanse the pump and keep it filled with a minimum amount of clean water. Remember to always leave the power to the pump on.
Hydrant meters are leased on a temporary basis. Using a fire hydrant allows water to be drawn from the public water system without returning it to the public sewer system. Therefore, there are no sewer charges. Some examples of using fire hydrants include to fill swimming pools, to wash streets or to fill tanker trucks.
WSSC Water fire hydrant meters can be used in most of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. However, areas of Bowie, Rockville, and all of Poolesville have their own water system, so WSSC Water meters cannot be used on their fire hydrants. Also, on-site fire hydrants (usually solid red or yellow) are not WSSC Water’s property, so our hydrant meters cannot be used on these hydrants. All WSSC Water fire hydrants are painted with a green top and a white or light gray body, with the exception of similarly colored and marked fire hydrants in Bowie. Bowie owns and maintains these hydrants.
Fire hydrant meters can be leased from two weeks to a maximum of six months.
A sub-meter is a permanently installed meter that separately records outside water usage - outside water that is not returned to the public sewer system for treatment. A sub-meter is recommended for anyone who uses large amounts of water for a pool, landscaping or gardening.
A fire hydrant meter is a temporary-use meter that draws water from the WSSC Water system. Hydrant meters are recommended for customers who require water at sites where no permanent metered connection is available. Examples for use are washing streets or filling tanker trucks.
No. To install a sub-meter, the following process is recommended:
Generally, this process takes 7 to 14 days; the meter installation takes about 30 minutes.
Important: The homeowner/plumber MUST contact WSSC Water to schedule a sub-meter installation. WSSC Water will not read or credit any water that registers on a NON-WSSC Water sub-meter.
Effective immediately, all appointments to obtain Meter Wire and Tag must be scheduled in advance. Our Materials Management Division (Warehouses) will transfer meter wire and/or associated tags to a Master Plumber who provides a valid driver’s license and a copy of the Certificate of Registration (WSSD Card). Alternatively, a Master Plumber can designate up to six representatives to act on his/her behalf by emailing a formal letter on company letterhead to firstname.lastname@example.org. The designated representatives are permitted to pick up meter wire/tags with a valid driver’s license, copy of the Certificate of Registration, and a copy of the formal letter. The following allowances remain in effect:
Anacostia Warehouse (Hyattsville, MD):
Gaithersburg, Lyttonsville, and Temple Hills Depots:
Registered plumbers will need to provide the following information: name, address, phone number, their registration or license number, permit number, meter address, lot and block or parcel number, meter size and location. Please use this New Meter Ordering Sheet when ordering meters.
Note to plumbers or persons scheduling new meter installations via NewMeterOrders@wsscwater.com: always check “Delivery and Read” receipt. You should receive a confirmation email that your Request has been processed and forwarded to the appropriate depot. The confirmation email will contain a primary and secondary point of contact that should be utilized after five days.
|Masks are required to be worn at all WSSC Water Depots|
|Hyattsville (Customer Care Bldg.)
7:30 am - 3:30 pm
|4102 Lloyd St.
Hyattsville, MD 20781
|Temple Hills (Depot Warehouse)
8:30am - 11:00 am
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
|8444 Temple Hills Rd.
Temple Hills, MD 20748
|Silver Spring (Lyttonsville Depot Warehouse)
8:30am - 11:00 am
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
|2501 Lyttonsville Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
|Gaithersburg (Depot Warehouse)
8:30am - 11:00 am
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
|111 W. Diamond Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
After processing your meter order, the depot for your area has up to five days to install the meter. To set up an appointment you will need to contact the individual depot to schedule a date.
Contact our Permit Services at 301-206-4003.
That is the date your plumber completed the work and WSSC Water inspected and accepted your plumber’s work.
For residential accounts, contact Jeff Andrews at 301-206-4232. For contract jobs and sub-division work, contact our Development Services Division at 301-206-8650.
A remote reading device is a small device, about the size of a deck of playing cards, that lets WSSC Water obtain your meter reading without entering the property. The remote is not a meter; it is attached to your inside meter by a wire. The wire transmits the inside main meter reading to the remote on the outside wall. Visual remotes are read like your car odometer. Electronic remotes cannot be read. We recommend a remote reader for all inside meters to avoid the need for estimated billing.
Yes. There are no fees to install the remote unless the property’s unique plumbing configuration is not compatible with the remote. If an unfinished area prevents WSSC Water from installing the remote, a homeowner can, at their expense, contact a registered plumber to install the remote. The remote is usually installed on the property’s outside wall as close to the inside meter as possible.
WSSC Water will replace a meter due to mechanical issues or simple aging. However, an inside water meter must be consistently heated to no less than 55° Fahrenheit to prevent it from freezing. If the water inside the meter freezes and causes a frost bottom leak, we will charge a Damaged Meter Fee that will vary with the meter's size.
A standard meter replacement takes about 30 minutes. If an inside meter is being replaced with a remote reading device, the installation generally requires 45 to 60 minutes.
All customers are provided with their area’s already established four-hour time frame. You must agree to the four-hour time frame and have an adult 18 or older at the property during the appointment. Once you are given this information, if for any reason an adult is not at the property when we arrive, a “missed appointment fee” will be billed to the account. Fees vary.
To schedule or cancel an appointment, or if you have questions, please call us at 301-206-4001 or 1-800-634-8400 (toll-free), or contact us online. An appointment must be canceled the day before an appointment, or sooner, to avoid a missed appointment fee.
The restoration process usually begins with notification by WSSC Water Customer Care or its Engineering Team that water line or sewer main repair work has impacted a road or landscaping. The WSSC Water Restoration Section may also be notified by each county’s Department of Public Works, or a private citizen, that a road or residential landscape impacted by WSSC Water work needs repair. After receiving notification, the Restoration Section researches any work done at the given address to confirm WSSC Water responsibility. If WSSC Water is responsible for the repair, the Restoration Section creates a work order to initiate the repair.
You can call the Restoration Section at 301-206-8043 or 301-206-8987.
The work order is given to a WSSC Water inspector for field review. The inspector visits the repair location and marks the area of needed repair on the street or landscape with street marking paint. The dimensions of the repair and all other necessary information needed by the paving or landscaping contractor is noted on the work order.
Work orders are normally reviewed within seven to 10 business days from the time of creation. However, inclement weather, such as snow or rain, can delay the completion.
Once the review is complete, the repair information is entered into the work order tracking system and the work order is updated and issued to the paving contractor.
The paving contractor receives the work order and schedules the repair, which is dependent on the weather; in winter, asphalt plants often are closed during very cold weather, which can extend the time needed to complete repairs. The paving contractor will typically complete work orders based on where in each county repairs are needed. WSSC Water has divided the two counties into six sections: East and West Montgomery County, and North, Central, Southeast and Southwest Prince Georges County.
The paving contractor has 35 calendar days to complete a normal repair on county roads. On a State of Maryland road (roads with numbers, e.g. MD 214, MD 97, etc.) the contractor has 14 days to complete a repair. In an emergency, the contractor will respond immediately to the repair location. Again, weather can delay the start of repair efforts.
The main difference is that landscaping depends on planting conditions. Normally planting is done in the early-to-mid spring and early-to-late fall. If the weather is too cold or too hot, our landscaping contractors will wait until planting conditions improve. In general, the landscaping repair should be completed with 35 calendar days. Homeowners are asked to water the new seed/sod for 15 consecutive days until the planting takes root.
After repairs are complete, the contractor signs off on the work order and returns it to the WSSC Water Restoration Section. The information is updated in the tracking system and the work is scheduled for final inspection. If the inspector determines that the work is not satisfactory, the work order is returned to the contractor for correction. If the repairs are satisfactory, the work order is closed in the tracking system.
The sewage, or wastewater, goes through the portion of sewer line on your property to WSSC Water's lines, then into a WSSC Water sewer main. It's up to all of us - businesses, homes and other customers - to make sure that debris does not enter the system and clog the sewer lines, either on your property or on public property. Sewer clogs and overflows, anywhere, are a mess and may harm the environment.
Trash removed early in the process is sent to landfills; in subsequent water treatment steps, sludge and scum are removed, micro-organisms are used to consume organic material, and nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen are removed from the water. When the water meets or exceeds U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, it's returned to nearby waterways.
There are several causes. In our area, one of the main causes is tree roots that may enter at the joints of pipes or cracks in older pipes. (Roots seek water and often force their way through a cracked pipe.) Also, broken pipe may allow soil to enter and cause a problem. Grease is also a main cause of clogged sewers. Grease that gets into sewer lines can harden or collect, causing stoppages and backups.
Call WSSC Water's Emergency Services Center at 301-206-4002. An Emergency Services Center Advisor will review the property’s history and instruct you based on our records.
There are several:
Be careful what you put down the drain. Several items that should NOT be put into your sewer system are paper towels, wipes, diapers, grease, paints/solvents, chemicals, antifreeze, non-food oils, and any non-dissolvable item. Please deposit grease and food scraps into a can or the trash for disposal.
An obstruction in the sewer main (in the street) or service line can cause sewer odor where gasses are trapped but a backup is not occurring. The gasses can escape through manholes or drains in customers' homes or buildings. Unless the odor is isolated to one fixture or in an upper bathroom only, WSSC Water will investigate. Contact WSSC Water's Emergency Services Center at 301-206-4002.
If the floor drain is dry - that is, if there's no water in the bend of the pipe to stop gasses from entering your home - sewer gas from the sewer main or service pipe can get into your home and cause an odor problem. Pour a few cups of water down the floor drain and remember to run water every so often in any sink, tub or shower that is used infrequently.
Contact WSSC Water's Emergency Services Center at 301-206-4002.
Generally, the contractor installing the sewer main installs the sewer service from the main to the property line. WSSC Water is responsible for maintaining the individual sewer service (lateral) from the main to the property line. The service line from the property line to the house and sewer pipes within the house is the homeowner’s responsibility.
Call WSSC Water's Emergency Services Center at 301-206-4002, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A Customer Service Advisor will review the property’s history and instruct you based on our records.
Several questions you might consider when trying to determine the possible cause of a sewer problem/stoppage are:
When a service is backing up only when the occupants are using their facilities, or the problem is not in the lowest level plumbing fixtures, we suggest contacting a registered plumber or a sewer drain cleaner for assistance. If you are unsure, please contact WSSC Water for assistance.
There are several causes of clogged sewers and in our area. One of the main reasons is tree roots that may enter the joints or cracks of older pipes. (Roots seek water and they often force their way through the cracked pipe.) Also, broken pipes may allow soil to enter and cause a problem. Grease also is a main cause of clogged sewers, as grease can harden or collect, causing stoppages and back-ups.
Be careful what you put down the drain. Several items that should not be put into your sewer system are paper towels, diapers, grease, paints/solvents, chemicals, antifreeze, non-food oils, and any non-dissolvable items. Deposit grease and food scraps into a can or the garbage for disposal. Our Can the Grease FAQs contain more grease disposal information.
We routinely test the water at the Potomac and Patuxent Water Filtration Plants and throughout the distribution system. We are happy to send you a copy of the tap water analysis reports, or you also may view them online. Additional testing may be performed by WSSC Water or private laboratories certified by the Maryland Department of the Environment. A list of approved laboratories for drinking water analysis can be found at MDE's website.
During the winter months, it might not be possible to get accurate meter readings for a number of reasons: snow and ice can make it difficult for WSSC Water crews to safely travel, walk or read meters; outside meter housings may be covered with plowed ice or snow long after roads have been cleared; inside water meters and remote readers located on outside walls of buildings may also present reading problems due to ice- or snow-covered walkways and yards. In such situations, you will receive an estimated bill.
When WSSC Water cannot obtain an actual reading, the consumption for that billing period usually is estimated based on the prior year's comparable usage. Estimated readings are also necessary because route assignments and staffing limitations prohibit WSSC Water from reading these meters until the next regularly scheduled reading date.
The charges following an estimated bill are recalculated based on usage from the last actual bill (prior to the estimated bill) to the current actual bill based on the amount of water that passed through the meter during this period.
Please pay your estimated bill. Payment received for the estimated bill is credited to the account and subtracted from the total amount due. Once the actual reading is obtained, the customer is charged only for the water that was actually used during this extended billing period.
Water meters, whether inside or outside homes and buildings, can freeze when temperatures drop below freezing.
When a meter is inside a basement, cellar or building, the property owner is responsible for protecting the meter from physical damage or damage due to freezing. Repair and/or replacement of damaged or frozen meters is the responsibility of the property owner. Replacement charges depend on the meter size and type, and the fee is billed on the regular water bill.
An outside water meter that freezes is WSSC Water's responsibility. The customer is not charged for repairs or replacement.
Remember these two phrases: "Only the Three Ps" and "No Wipes in the Pipes!" Your toilet is not a trash can. Use a trash can for trash; the toilet is only for the three Ps: pee, poop and paper. Flushing other items can cause problems for WSSC Water and you! Non-flushable items such as baby wipes or feminine hygiene products don’t break apart like toilet paper. These items can get stuck in pipes - yours or ours. If that happens, sewage can back up in your basement or overflow from one of our manholes, impacting the environment.
These items should never be flushed:
Many wipes that are labeled "flushable" will go down the toilet, but they do not break apart in the system. The true test to determine if something is flushable: does it dissolve like toilet paper or organic waste? If the answer is no, then it is NOT flushable.
Literally tons of still-intact wipes clog pumps at wastewater pumping stations across the country or end up at water resource recovery facilities and then have to be hauled away. WSSC has spent more than $1 million to install grinders at a number of our wastewater pumping stations to deal with the growing problem of wipes in the pipes.