Frequently Asked Questions
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.
How and where can I pay my bill?
- Our office remains closed due to the pandemic. You can still drop off your payment at our drop box located at our main office 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.
- 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 can visit 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 email or text leak alerts, and customize alert settings. You’ll need to register here.
Your monthly bill shows also 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.
Should I decrease my water meter size?
Nearly all homes can get by with a 5/8” meter. If you have irrigation, depending on the system, a larger meter is advised.
We get asked by builders, architects, and customers to size the meter. We offer guidance as best we can, but the decision lies with the customer. You should contact a certified licensed plumber.
Customers may call request a decrease in water meter size, provided that the customer and his/her plumbing contractor determine that a smaller meter will meet the building or facility water usage needs. All plumbing changes and upgrades related to the new meter size must adhere to our water service rules. https://www.nwwsd.org/what-we-do/water/standards-procedures/.
You and your plumber may also want to view the AWWA Water Meter Equivalences to help you determine what meter size may be appropriate for your home or business. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to determine what meter size is appropriate for your home or business.
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 leave, we can schedule a work order to turn off your service. There’s no charge for this (unless your service is turned off less than 30 days) and you’ll avoid the minimum monthly charges for your service. There is a $56 labor charge if the time your service is shut off is less than 30 days.
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, please 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. The District has partnered with our local Salvation Army to provide assistance with our Pay it Forward Program. If you are in need, please contact them at 419-352-5918 to see if you qualify. 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 transfer unpaid account balances from the previous year (July 1st through-June 30th) to the 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.
Who is responsible for service landlord or tenant?
The District has created the below landlord/tenant fact sheet to assist both landlords and tenants.
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 must 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 the account was 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 County Auditor. Any account changes or updates must be requested by the property owner.
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 ten-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.
What does NWWSD do?
Northwestern Water and Sewer District provides water and wastewater service to five counties in Northwest Ohio and has been in operation since 1994. Our employees work hard 24/7/365 to deliver on our promise of reliable, high-quality water and wastewater service.
The District purchases drinking water from various municipal providers who treat the water and we operate the system that distributes the water to our customers. The District also operates the system that collects and carries the wastewater from your home to various municipal wastewater treatment plants. Our staff maintains and operates more than 800 miles of water distribution and wastewater collection lines. In addition to water for drinking and other domestic uses, we supply water for fire protection and maintain more than 3,800 fire hydrants in The District. We also administer the water and wastewater system by reading meters and managing customer billing.
What does my water and/or wastewater bill pay for?
The District rates you pay on your water and wastewater bill pay for the water you use in your home or business, plus a combination of administrative costs (billing, meter reading, etc.); operations and maintenance costs; and upgrades and replacements to The District system. The bills also include charges to cover the costs from the municipal provider that treats drinking water and wastewater in your area.
We do not make a profit and receive no revenue from tax dollars. We continually reinvest the money we get from your water bill to maintain and upgrade the pipes, pump stations and other infrastructure that allow us to deliver safe, reliable water, remove wastewater and provide essential fire protection services.
What type of maintenance is performed throughout The District?
Our staff works hard every day to maintain and operate more than 800 miles of collection and distribution lines and 3,800 fire hydrants in the water and sewer system. On a given day we could be working on anything from planned maintenance like replacing aging valves, pumps, and pipelines in the distribution system to emergency service repairs like main breaks.
How are rate increases decided?
At The District, we plan for the long term, making investments in our water and wastewater system responsibly and gradually. Every year we develop a budget based on the planned capital and operating needs we have for that year. All our costs, from capital infrastructure projects to daily operations to emergency work, are paid for solely by rates and fees, not taxes. The District Board of Directors typically votes on rate adjustments in December of every year to be implemented on customer bills after the beginning of the following year.
How will the rate changes in 2020 affect me?
2020 Rate Fact Sheet explaining changes in your District and treatment provider rates.
When was the last time NWWSD had a rate adjustment?
For 2020, the board approved a 3% rate increase for water and a 3% increase for sewer, resulting in a $1.72/month increase for customers using an average of 7,500 gallons of water per month.
How can I find out who provides my water?
The District purchases water treatment services from a variety of local municipal providers. To find out who provides the water and wastewater treatment services in your area please visit our interactive map.
The map provides information on the treatment provider (Toledo, Oregon, etc.), where the water comes from (Lake Erie, the Maumee River, etc.), and a short description of the treatment facilities and treatment process.
How does my cost of water and sewer services compare to others?
The District works hard every day to provide the high-quality water and wastewater services at the lowest cost good service will allow. Even with our most recent rate adjustment, our rates are average for water and wastewater utilities in northwest Ohio. For more information, please visit the rate comparison website provided by the Ohio EPA.
What input can I have on rate adjustments in the future?
Board and committee meetings are open to the public. The board of trustees accepts public comment at all regularly scheduled meetings. Board meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Agendas, schedule and meeting minutes can be found here.
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 I flush?
Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down your toilet. However, our wastewater treatment professionals find a wide variety of items in our sewers and collection facilities, including cell phones, toys, cueballs and marbles.
The following is a short list of materials that should never be disposed of in kitchen and bathroom sinks, or down your toilet.
Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)
Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) come from meats, butters and margarine, lard, food scraps, sauces, salad dressings, dairy products and cooking oil. When FOG goes down the drain, it hardens and causes sewer pipes to clog. This can lead to a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) where raw sewage actually backs up into your home, lawn, neighborhood and streets.
Please do not pour oil and grease down drains or toilets. Grease is the number one cause of sewer blockages in homes. It cools as it travels through pipes and, over time, the accumulation of FOG can block pipes, contribute to clogs and, eventually, cause raw sewage to surcharge out of nearby manholes.
The solution: allow fat, oils and grease to harden in a can or carton and then dispose of it in your garbage.
Did you know that 70 percent of us take at least one prescription medication, with one in five Americans taking as many as five different medicines on a consistent basis? Nearly 40 percent of those prescriptions end up going unused. That amounts to 200 million pounds of stockpiled, unused and expired pills, syrups and liquids.
In Wood County, the Wood County Sheriff’s Office has an RX Drug Drop Box Program available to deposit unused unwanted, or expired prescription drugs.
Never flush prescription or over the counter (OTC) medicines down a toilet or sink. Proper disposal of these substances means you are doing your part to protect our water resources. Please follow FDA guidelines by clicking here.
Personal Care, Cleaning and Miscellaneous Items:
Unlike toilet paper, which breaks down quickly in water, personal, baby and cleaning/disinfecting wipes remain intact and tangle into massive clogs that jam pumps and block pipes. Even those labeled “flushable” should not be flushed.
Here’s a list of a few other items that cannot be recycled and should always be disposed of in a trash receptacle:
- Toys, or anything made of plastic, including plastic coffee stirrers
- Paper towels
- Cat litter or animal waste
- Diapers and baby wipes
- Cigarette butts
- Disposable toilet brushes and cleaning/disinfecting wipes
- Tampons and sanitary pads, personal care wipes
Why are there blue flags in my yard?
Blue & green flags are used to indicate where water and sewer utilities are underground. 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?
Can I use water or flush the toilet when the grinder pump is in alarm?
You can use your toilet, but no dishwasher or washing machine until one of our maintenance techs can resolve the issue.
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.
Who can I contact about requesting GIS data?
Contact GIS Manager 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?
What construction projects does the District have planned or under way?
Where does the District operate?
Click here for our Services online map. Scroll left or right to see additional services.
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?
Who are the current board members?
What are their terms?
Board members are appointed to three-year terms; each year, appointments expire on 12/31.
Who appoints them?
Three of the trustees are appointed by the Wood County Commissioners, one appointed by the Henry 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 or Henry County Board of Trustees, or one of The District’s township or municipal members).
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 our Services 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 outdoor, 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 system.
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 engineer. Please call your local city or village, or the county engineer’s office.
Why is The District billing me for the City of Rossford's Storm Sewer Utility Fee?
In 2017, Rossford City Council Passed an ordinance to create a storm water utility to allow for the collection of fees to maintain and improve the storm water system in Rossford.
While the charge appears on The District’s bill, THE STORM WATER UTILITY FEE IS A CITY OF ROSSFORD FEE. The District was contracted by Rossford to be a billing agent.