How to Read Your Water Bill

When you receive your quarterly WSSC water and sewer bill, it's easy to spot the amount due. But what about all the other numbers that appear on your bill? Here's a quick primer on how to make sense of the readings, charges, and fees using a typical bill for a home with four residents.

Water bill example

1) Average Daily Consumption (ADC) 

The ADC is an average of your water consumption over the indicated time period. The average ADC per person consumption is 70 gallons - or 280 gallons for a family of four, which is a good baseline to compare your own household's ADC against.  Pay attention to the ADC on each bill, incremental increases could be signs of leakage, especially in toilet tanks. Learn more about water usage.

2) Meter Readings

Meter readings tell you how much water is being used in the indicated time period. If your bill indicates the reading is an "estimate," contact the Call Center (301-206-4001) to have WSSC obtain an actual meter reading. Estimated billing only occurs when your meter cannot be read due to severe weather, an inoperable remote reader, or an inaccessible meter. Maryland State law requires WSSC to obtain an actual meter reading at least once every six months. When charges are estimated, unnoticed plumbing leaks could remain undetected, resulting in wasted water and increased charges once a reading is eventually done.

3) Water and Sewer Use Charges

Water/sewer charges are all measured per 1,000 gallons of use. At the beginning of each fiscal year in July, if rate changes occur, the old and new rate charges will be reflected on the bill.

4) Bay Restoration Fee

Effective July 1, 2012, the Bay Restoration Fund Fee will be calculated based on the number of days in the billing period. The "flush" tax fee generates revenue to fund improvements to wastewater treatment plants throughout the state. State law requires WSSC to collect the fee on behalf of the state of Maryland. WSSC offers a Bay Restoration Fee Financial Hardship Exemption Program for customers who can demonstrate that paying the monthly "flush tax" fee creates a financial hardship. To learn more about the program visit the Bay Restoration Fund page where you can access an online exemption application, or you may call 301-206-4001 to have a form mailed to you.

5) Ready-To-Serve-Charge

There are two components to this charge: (1) the existing Account Maintenance Fee which covers the cost to bring water and sewer service to every home and business; including meters, meter readers and billing; and (2) the new Infrastructure Investment Fee which is allocated to the replacement/rehabilitation of system infrastructure.

6) Customer Assistance Program (CAP)

WSSC provides a partial credit for low income residential customers. Eligibility is based upon participation in the Office of Home Energy Program. CAP provides relief for the Ready-To-Serve Charge and is shown as one credit. Learn more or check your status at www.wsscwater.com/CAP. *All customers will not qualify for this program.


Problems with your bill

We are here to help resolve your billing issues. If you disagree with your water and/or sewer bill, please contact us at 301-206-4001, toll free 1-800-634-8400, or contact us online. A supervisor will review your billing and if you do not agree with the outcome, there are two methods to further appeal your bill.

  • A Dispute Resolving Board review is a courtesy process allowing customers to dispute their unpaid charges (Dispute Resolution)
  • A Refund Hearing, by law, is exclusively for disputing paid charges (Requesting a Refund Hearing).

If you have a billing dispute and we are unable to resolve it, please carefully review these sections to determine the appropriate forum. 

Last Modified: