Frequently asked questions

FAQ

Customer service

How and where can I pay my bill?

  • In person at our office at 12560 Middleton Pike (aka SR 582), Bowling Green.
  • By mail with check/money order and payment stub to Northwestern Water and Sewer District, PO Box 348, Bowling Green, OH 43402.
  • By phone toll-free at 1-877-354-9090, option 8 for our automated phone payment system or option 2 to speak to one of our customer service representatives.
  • Online at www.nwwsd.org.  Online account setup required.
  • By automatic withdrawal from your checking/savings account or credit/debit card.
  • Bank bill pay through your bank.
  • We accept cash, checks, electronic checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Can I get my bill electronically? 
Yes, you can register to receive e-bills through your online account.  If you don’t already have an online account you canvisit our billing website and click on the box that says “pay your bill online."  You will need your account number and zip code to set up an account.

How can I see how much water I use?
Our Aquahawk program lets you view your water consumption, receive timely leak alerts, and customize alert settings.  You’ll need to register and set up a monitoring account by visiting the Aquahawk site.  And, of course, your monthly bill shows your meter readings and usage for the billing period.

How much water is in a cubic foot? 
There are 7.48 gallons of water in 1 cubic foot.

Do you monitor my usage for leaks?
We monitor leaks through our Aquahawk system, which is also available to customers.  This system generates a leak report when usage patterns appear to be abnormal for a particular customer.  Leak alerts are a courtesy, but not all leaks are caught or show up in our alert system.  We encourage customers to register with the Aquahawk system themselves so they can set their own alert levels and receive notifications directly.  If a leak happens outside of our normal business hours or does not show up on our leak report, you may not get a notification or may not get one as quickly as desired.    

Where is my water meter? 
Normally your meter is located in a meter pit outside your home close to where the main water line runs.  This could be close to an alley, in your driveway, or in your front or back yard.  Some meters are also located inside a customer’s home.  These are usually found in a garage, basement, or closet in the home.

How do you read my meter? 
Your meter is read remotely through a wireless device called a Stealth.  This device is installed to pull the reads from your meter and electronically transmit them to us.  

I had no usage last month yet I still got a bill, how come?
Even if you have no usage, as long as your service is on and you have access to water or sewer, you will incur minimum fixed charges.  Those minimum charges vary, depending on where you live.  If you’d like to know the minimum charge for your address, feel free to call our customer service department -- 419.354.9090, option 2.

I’m going to be away from home for an extended period of time.  What should I do? 
If you call our office 24-48 hours before you will be leaving, we can schedule a work order to turn off your service.  There’s no charge for this and you’ll avoid the minimum monthly charges for your service.

What is winter averaging?
It's a billing method that takes the water consumption used in the winter quarter as the basis for billing sewer charges throughout the year.  This means you won’t be paying additional sewer charges for warm weather purposes such as watering lawns, washing cars, landscaping, gardening or filling pools.  Eligible customers are automatically put on winter averaging if they have an entire month’s usage in February, March and April in the current year.Find out more.

What if I don’t pay my bill by the due date?
You will be assessed a penalty charge of 10% of your bill amount or $5.00, whichever is greater. 

I got a shut off notice and can’t pay by the shut off date, what can I do?
If you can’t pay your bill by the shut off date, make sure you call us immediately and talk to a customer service representative.  We can put you in a payment agreement which will allow you a few more days to pay your bill.  We also maintain a list of agencies that may be able to provide help by pledging for you. If your water service is shut off, you will be required to pay your past due charges plus the $56 administrative charge to have service restored.  If payment is received by 3pm, service will be reconnected the same day, otherwise it will be reconnected the next business day.

What if I don’t pay my bill?
If a water/sewer bill is not paid, a penalty charge will be applied to the account and a penalty bill will be sent to you informing you of the date the past due bill must be paid to avoid shut off.  If payment is not made by that date then the water will be shut off and left off until payment is made.  In the case of accounts that are billed only for sewer/debt charges or any other account with a delinquent balance, those will be certified to the Wood County Auditor and placed on the real estate taxes as a lien against the property.

What exactly does it mean that charges will be certified to property taxes?
Each year, in July, we take transfer unpaid account balances from the previous year (July 1st through-June 30th) to the Wood County Auditor.  Once they’ve been transferred to the Auditor, the balances will show up on the property taxes for that address in the following year.  These balances remain with the address, they do not follow with the customer.

Why can’t my tenant have the bill in their name?  Why does it have to be in the owner’s name?  
In some of our service areas, water/sewer accounts are must be billed remain in the name of the property owner.  These areas are the accounts that were previously billed by Toledo.  When we add a new area we keep the same rules and procedures that these account were under previously for continuity purposes.  We can still send the bill in C/O the tenant at the request of the owner, but the account must remain with the property's owner per the Wood County Auditor.

Why are you double charging me for water and sewer?
Your bill may consist of several different charges depending on your location. For example, you may receive an operation and maintenance charge shown on your bill as ‘District Water’ or ‘District Sewer’.  These funds are used to operate and maintain the Northwestern Water & Sewer District infrastructure that serves your home. You may also receive a separate treatment charge on your bill from another provider such as the Cities of Toledo, Perrysburg, Oregon, etc.  These funds are charged by that city for the treatment of your water or wastewater and may be shown on your bill as ‘Toledo Water’ or ‘Oregon Sewer’, for example.

Why are my rates so high?  And why do they go up every year?
While nearly all aspects of the cost of living continue to rise, we pride ourselves on avoiding dramatic price adjustments. When they do occur, it is to maintain the quality, reliability, and stability of the services we provide, per our company mission. The following are reasons why rates may increase:

  • Expenses are rising
  • Consumption & revenue remain flat
  • Facility repair and replacement
  • Wholesale water/sewer increases
  • Wholesale water/sewer supplier upgrades
  • Safety/health regulations

Who makes the decisions on rates and fees at NWWSD?  How can I   voice my input?  
A nine-member Board of Trustees oversees the District.  The board of trustees holds regular meetings prior to adopting any rates.  Board meetings are generally held every two weeks, from 7:30 - 9:30 a.m.  These meetings are open to the public.  Click here for the current schedule. 

Operations

What is the difference between a storm sewer and a sanitary sewer?
Storm water is water from a rain or snow event.  Sanitary sewage is water discharged from in-home plumbing such as sinks, toilets, bath tubs and showers. 

Where is my responsibility for my water service line? 
The customer is responsible for water service from the sidewalk or road right-of-way into the building or house.  The District is responsible from the water main to the sidewalk or road right-of-way.

Where is my responsibility for the sewer lateral?
The customer is responsible for the sewer lateral from the sidewalk or road right-of-way into the building or house.  The District is responsible from sewer main to sidewalk or road right-of-way.

Who do I call if the storm or sanitary sewer is backed up? 
Call the District first.  We can help determine if problem is public utility or private issue.  The District is responsible for sanitary sewer and water only.

What can and can’t I flush in the sewer? 
Personally used water for cleaning, cooking, bathing can be flushed.

Why are there blue flags in my yard? 
Blue & green flags are used to locate water and sewer utilities.  By law, prior to any excavation, the Ohio Utilities Protection Service ("OUPS") is called for utility locations to be marked.  Calls may be placed by customers, utility departments, engineering firms, or contractors.

Why is my septic tank full? 
Septic tanks are always full.  Liquid is draining during every use of sanitary sewer.  Septic tanks are used to separate liquid and solids.

How often should my septic tank be pumped? 
Periodically every 3-7 years solids are required to be removed by private hauler. 

Who do I call if my grinder pump (E-1) is in alarm? 
Call our Operations department at 419-354-9090, option 3.  If after hours, call 419-354-9001 for the Wood County Sheriff's office; they will relay the information to our after-hours duty person. 

Can I use water or flush the toilet when the grinder pump is in alarm?
Yes conservatively-No dishwasher or washing machine until replaced.

Is there any charge for repairing or replacing the grinder pump? 
No charge unless we find abuse or abnormal use.

What is not allowed in grinder pumps? 
Kitty litter, aquarium stone, grease, ground up chicken bones, abrasives, paint.

What is usual response time for grinder pump problems? 
Generally 2 hours depending on time of day and other circumstances.

Will my grinder pump restart ok after power outage? 
Yes, but it may be in high water alarm.  If it does not clear in 20 minutes, call it in.  To silence an audible alarm, push the rubber button on bottom of alarm box.  DO NOT TURN OFF POWER.

Maps and data

Who can I contact about requesting GIS data?
Contact GIS Coordinator Erik Blake at (419) 354-9090, extension 176.

Can I get a copy of engineering record drawings?  
Contact District Engineer Tom Stalter at (419) 354-9090, extension 174.

Where does my water come from?
Click here for our "Who Provides My Water?" online map.

What construction projects does the District have planned or under way?
Click here for our Construction Projects online map.

Where does the District operate?
Click here for our Services online map.  Scroll left or right to see additional services.

Administration

Who owns the District?
The District's rate payers.
 
Who’s in charge?
An appointed nine-member Board of Trustees.  They hire a President, who hires staff and is responsible for all district operations.
 
Is this a governmental organization?
Yes, it operates under Chapter 6119 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).
 
Who sets the users' rates?
The District’s board, usually in the 4th quarter of each calendar year.
 
Does PUCO have any authority here?
No.

Who are the current board members?
Click here for their names and a short biography.

What are their terms?
Board members are appointed to three-year terms; each year, three appointments expire on 12/31.

Who appoints them? 
Three of the trustees are appointed by the Wood County Commissioners, three others are selected by the township members of the District, and the final three are chosen by the municipal members of the District.Click here for a map of the District's municipal and township members (click once on the right arrow).
 
How are nominees named for possible board seats? 
They are nominated by member townships or municipalities or the county commissioners and voted upon by the political subdivisions.  Interested persons should contact an appointing organization (the Wood County Board of Trustees, or one of the District's township or municipal members).

 

Service extensions & assessments

If I am interested in water and sewer services, what should I do?
If an existing water or sewer line is available, please contact the District's customer service department for fees and charges.  The number is 419.354.9090, Option 2. You can get a rough idea of the location of existing water or sewer services through ourServices web mapping application here -- swipe left or right to get to the water and sewer service maps.  
    If an existing line is not available, please contact the District's engineering department at 419.354.9090, Option 4 to discuss options.  Extensions of existing water or sewer lines can sometimes be originated through petitions submitted by benefiting property owners.Petition forms are available here.

How does the District decide whether to extend a water or sewer line?
Extensions of existing water or sewer lines are often initiated either by EPA or Health Department orders for sewage treatment. Extensions of water or sewer lines can also originate through petitions submitted by benefiting property owners. 

How does the District decide to proceed with a petitioned water or sewer line extension?
While the Ohio Revised Code does not specify necessary percentages of support to proceed with a petition project, our Board does seek specific support through public meetings before choosing to proceed with spending money on preliminary engineering and design.  The current extension policy requires at least 60% of the benefiting property owners to sign the petition in order for the Board to consider it. If this percentage is reached, the Board may choose to proceed and assess all property owners along the route who benefit. If this percentage is not reached, the project could proceed, but without assessing all owners. In this case, only those residents who petitioned for the project would be charged.

Do I have to tap into the water or sewer if a line is extended past my property?
You are generally not required to tap into a newly extended water line, though some municipalities may require you to do so.  You might, however, still be assessed for the new water line since you now have improved fire protection capability.  On the other hand, Wood County Health Department rules do generally require owners to tap into a local sewer line if your “plumbed building’s” foundation is within 400 feet of a public sewer line.

If I choose to tap into a water line, will I have the option of retaining my well?
Yes, you are allowed to continue using your well for outddor, non-domestic water use. However, these sources cannot be cross-connected or used for indoor, domestic use. So, in essence, you must have two separate piping systems: one for inside use, the second for outside.  You must also have a backflow device installed to prevent cross-contamination of the public water sytem.

How much can I expect to pay for a water or sewer assessment?
Water and sewer project assessments costs vary due to the density of homes or geography of the area to be served.  For instance, excavation through rock is much more expensive than excavation through soil.  Water assessments on a single-family dwelling with approximately 100 feet of frontage have averaged between $6,000 and $23,000 over the last few projects that we have done. Sewer projects are generally more expensive due to more complex construction requirements.  Assessments on both types of project vary greatly due to an area's geography, the complexity of the project, the availability of grants, and the number of affected dwelling units.

Can farm ground be assessed?
Yes, but if the farm ground meets the "agricultural use" definition of the Wood County Auditor, the assessment can be deferred from collection until the property no longer meets this definition.

What side of the road will be chosen for construction of a service line extension?
Engineers determine the most cost effective and sensible means to build a project. Considerations can include the location of other utilities, road right-of-way options, and a variety of natural or other physical barriers.

 

Who do I call about storm or rain water problems?

Northwestern Water & Sewer District does not operate storm sewers.  Storm water drainage issues are handled by the local municipality or, outside of incorporated areas, by the county engineeer.  Please call your local city or village, or the county engineer's office.

 We hope you find this information useful. These are general answers to the most common questions. There may be exceptions to the answers provided.  If you have a question that is not addressed above, please contact our customer service department.