Residential
Frequently Asked Questions

Billing

Why does my bill change from month to month?

Bills change according to water usage, which fluctuates as a result of a number of things, including the number of people who live at a property. Everyone has different personal water habits that will affect the amount of water used in a given month, and water consumption may vary from season to season. Many customers increase their water consumption in the summer months by watering gardens, washing cars, filling swimming pools, etc. Bills may also fluctuate based on the number of days in a billing period. Monthly bills can on occasion be over or under 30 days depending upon the day your meter was read.

Why is my bill so high?

Bills change according to water usage, which fluctuates from month to month. Many customers increase their water consumption in the summer months by watering gardens, washing cars, filling swimming pools, etc. Otherwise, a drastic increase in consumption could be an indication of a leak. If you suspect a leak in your home, check toilets and faucets for defects and have them repaired immediately. If you cannot find a leak, contact the Commission for a residential home inspection at 413-310-3501.

How can I lower my bill and conserve water?

Bills change according to water usage, which can fluctuate based on personal water habits. You can lower the water consumption at your property by installing water saving devices or following some simple conservation tips. Check our Water Conservation page for more ideas.

Why is my bill estimated?

Actual readings are obtained using an automated meter reading (AMR) system. If the meter transmission unit (MTU) is not functioning, you will receive an estimated bill based on past usage. If your property is equipped with the AMR system and you receive an estimated bill, please call Customer Service at 413-452-1393.

Why is my sewer charge higher than my water charge?

Sewer charges are higher than water costs for many reasons. There are differences in installing and maintaining water distribution versus sewer collection systems. The cost and complexity of treating wastewater has increased more dramatically over the years, than the cost of producing drinking water.

Can I pay my bill online or over the phone?

Bills can be paid over the phone, online or in person. See How to Pay Your Bill for more info.

Can I pay my bill with a credit card?

We accept MasterCard, VISA, Discover, and debit cards over the phone and checking accounts can be used online via the website. See How to Pay Your Bill for more info.

How do I read my water meter?

Your water meter is read from left to right, just like a car odometer. Your meter reads in cubic feet. 1 cubic foot of water = 7.48 gallon.

How can I obtain a bill history or a duplicate bill for my account?

Contact Customer Service at 413-452-1393.

How can I change my mailing address?

If you are moving, it is necessary to update the mailing address on your account. You may contact Customer Service at 413-452-1393.

Can I bill my residential tenant for water and sewer charges?

The Water Sub-Metering Act was signed into law on December 16, 2004. Tenants in apartments occupied from this date forward are eligible for sub-metering.

I am moving. What should I do?

If you are moving, it is necessary to update the mailing address on your account by contacting the Customer Service at 413-452-1393.

I am buying/selling property. What should I do?

See Buying or Selling Property for more info.

Maintenance and Service

How do I check for leaks?
Faucets – Check all faucets and piping for leaks by monitoring for drips of water under sinks and from exposed pipes. Perform an inspection with the water on and off, as some leaks only occur when the water is on. Toilets – Add a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the food coloring appears in the toilet bowl, this means you have a leak. Some toilet leaks are intermittent, so you don’t always see or hear the water running. Check plumbing in the basement by monitoring for drips of water coming from exposed pipes. Check your meter – turn off all water using appliances, faucets, outside hoses or sprinklers and make sure no one is using water in the home. Read your meter and write the number down. After an hour with no water use, check the meter again. You should have the same number. If not, you may have a leak somewhere in your home. See Household Leak Detection for more info.
I had to have my water service pipe replaced. Who is responsible for the cost?

The water service pipe is the pipe that connects a property to the water main in the street. The Commission owns all public water mains, hydrants, valves, water service connections, and associated appurtenances. The Commission also owns the water meter. The Customer owns the water service pipe from the water service connection in the street to the meter, and all other pipes after the meter. The customer is therefore responsible for the cost of a water service pipe replacement. Click here to read section 3.3.4 – Water Service Pipes, in our Rules and Regulations document.

What do I need to know about water and sewer service pipe (line) insurance?

The Commission does not provide water and sewer service pipe insurance and is not affiliated with any companies that do.

The customer is responsible for the water and sewer services pipes that connect their property to the water and sewer mains in the street, and is therefore responsible for the cost to repair or replace water and sewer service pipes.

The Commission maintains a list of approved contractors. Only approved contractors are able to perform work on the Commission’s water and sewer systems. Click here to access the approved contractor list.

I will temporarily be away. What should I do?

If you will be away for an extended period of time, you may request to shut off the water service at your property. Please contact our service department at 413-310-3501. Please note that there is a $75 Turn-off fee and $75 Turn-on fee for this service.

How do I prevent my pipes from freezing?

It is the responsibility of the property owner to protect the service pipe and water meter from freezing. If your meter does freeze, the Commission will replace the meter and your account will be assessed a meter replacement fee. If the service pipe freezes, the Commission will attempt to thaw the frozen service at the customer’s expense. To prevent your pipes from freezing:

  • Insulate water meter and pipes in unheated spaces like garages, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Additionally, insulating hot water pipes will decrease your wait time for warm water.
  • Repair broken and cracked windows, doors, and walls. Close all doors and windows near pipes, and make sure there is no draft.
  • During cold weather (prolonged temperatures below 32 degrees), allow a slow trickle of water to flow through faucets connected to water pipes that run through unheated spaces.
  • Disconnect garden hoses, and install covers on all outside faucets. Shut off water to outside faucets, and drain those water lines.

See Preventing Frozen Water Pipes for more info.

How can I obtain a bill history or a duplicate bill for my account?

Contact Customer Service at 413-452-1393.

Water Quality

What should I know about lead and drinking water?
What is chlorine and why is it added to drinking water?
What is the pH of Springfield’s drinking water?

The pH target of SWSC finished water in the distribution system is 7.5 standard units (SU). In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of the water. The pH scale ranges from 0-14. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. Pure water has a pH very close to 7.0.

What is the hardness of Springfield’s drinking water?

SWSC’s water hardness is 10-14 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Water hardness is a measure of the amount of calcium and magnesium salts in water.  Calcium and magnesium enter water mainly through the weathering of rocks.  The more calcium and magnesium in water, the harder the water.  A concentration between 0 and 60 is considered “soft.” A concentration between 61 and 120 is considered “moderately hard.”  A concentration between 121 and 180 is considered “hard.” A concentration greater than 180 is considered “very hard.” The term “hardness” comes from the fact that it is hard to get soap suds from soap or detergents in hard water.  As a result, hard water can reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

Does the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission add fluoride to the drinking water?

No.

Why is my drinking water cloudy?

Cloudiness in water is caused by tiny air bubbles. After a short time, the bubbles rise to the top and the cloudiness disappears.

Why is my drinking water discolored?

Discolored water is usually caused by flow changes in the water mains. Sediment, which is usually caused by pipe corrosion, can build up on the inside of water main pipes. This sediment can be disturbed when the pressure or direction of the water flow changes, causing it to become suspended in the drinking water and come out of the tap. The water in the main is still disinfected, so it is still safe to drink when discolored.

What do I do if my water is discolored?

If you experience discolored water, run all cold-water faucets for two to three minutes, shut the water off, allow the water to settle for about 15 minutes, and run the water again for two to three minutes. If the water does not run clear, repeat this process. Do not run the hot water faucets until the cold water runs clear. If the water does not become clear after repeating this process multiple times, contact us at 413-310-3501.

Where can I get more information on the quality of Springfield’s drinking water?

The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission publishes an annual water quality report which explains the source of Springfield’s drinking water, shows water quality test results, and confirms that our water meets the requirements for safe drinking water established by state and federal standards. You may read our Water Quality Report in English or Spanish. If you’d like a copy mailed to you, please call 413-452-1393.