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Water and sewer bills

Paperless billing

Paperless Billing

Ottawa residents can sign up for paperless billing for water and sewer. You can register multiple accounts using a single email address and password. This is a secure website where you can manage, view, print, and pay your bills online. 

Advantages

  • Receive an email notifying you that your bill is ready for viewing with the amount, due date and link to My ServiceOttawa
  • 24/7 access to view account balance and payment history
  • Reduce paper - fewer envelopes, stamps and cheques
  • Pay online by payment card
  • Switch back to paper anytime

It’s easy and free to register for paperless bills

  1.  Sign in to your My ServiceOttawa account.
  2.  If you don’t have an account, create one.
  3. Once you are signed in, click on Water and Sewer billing under the Services Menu – you’ll need your water account number and balance on last City of Ottawa Water and Sewer bill.
  4. Click the “Change Billing Method” button, and then select Paperless. You will no longer receive a paper bill in the mail.                                       

Changing your email for paperless bills

It is your responsibility to update your email address through My ServiceOttawa.  Your participation in the program will be cancelled if your email notification is returned as undeliverable.
If you would like to change the email address that is currently on file with My ServiceOttawa , please use the following link to the instructions:   Change email address 

Visit our YouTube page and click “show more” for the descriptive video text.

Water, wastewater and stormwater rate structure

On October 26, 2016, City Council approved a new Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Rate Structure. The new rate structure was developed after an extensive public consultation process during which over 800 residents provided feedback, and is based on research and municipal best practices.

Learn More

New bill format – Language Preference

The City is making improvements to how we bill for water, wastewater and stormwater.  We are redesigning our bill to improve accessibility, making it easier to read and understand, and to provide more relevant information.

Beginning in 2018, residents will have the option to receive their water, wastewater and stormwater utility bill in their preferred official language.  Please go online to myserviceottawa.ca, or call Revenue Services at 613-580-2444 (TTY 613-580-2401) to choose your preferred language.

If you already have a MyService Ottawa account, your bill will be sent in the official language you have selected for your account under your profile information.  If you would like to receive your bill in the another official language, please go online to myserviceottawa.ca or call Revenue Services.

 

Choose Your Preferred Language – Beginning in December 2017 residents will receive their water, wastewater and stormwater utility bill in their preferred official language. This short video describes how to select your language preference.

 

Read a descriptive transcript of this video

Pay your water and sewer bill

The City of Ottawa offers a variety of payment options to make it convenient for you to pay your water and sewer bill.

Learn More

Understanding your water and sewer bill

Accessible format

To receive an accessible format (e-text, large print or Braille) of your billing documents, please contact the Revenue Services at 613-580-2444, (TTY: 613-580-2401).

A look at your bill

The City's water billing staff manages about 230,000 water accounts. Billing information is obtained from remote sensors or RF transmitters that are located on the exterior of each home, business and facility within municipal boundaries. This information is then downloaded into Ottawa's water billing system and a bill is produced based on these reads. About 27,000 water and sewer bills are generated weekly.

There are three charges on your water and sewer bill that provide the City with the money it needs to transport clean, potable water to your home, and also to carry stormwater and wastewater away from your home for treatment and eventual release into the Ottawa River.

Water use charge

Customers are charged on a 'user pay' basis, meaning you only pay for the water you use - the more you use, the higher your water use charge.

Unlike most municipal services, which residents pay for through property taxes, sewer and water services are self-financing. This means residents are directly billed for the water they use, as well their share of the costs for transporting clean water to their homes and carrying wastewater away from their homes for treatment and release back into the environment. Water use is measured by water meters.

Sewer surcharge

Sewer fees on your water bill pay for the ongoing maintenance and operation of stormwater and sanitary sewer lines, and the treatment and eventual release of wastewater into the Ottawa River. The more water you use, the more wastewater the City has to treat and release. 

The sewer surcharge portion of your water bill covers all the costs associated with the water you discharge, right from the time it leaves your house in a sanitary or stormwater sewer line, to its treatment and eventual release into the Ottawa River. The infrastructure needed to transport and treat wastewater is massive - and costly. Ottawa has more than 2,600 km of sanitary sewers alone. In addition to the pipes, there are two water treatment centres, 14 pumping stations, storage facilities and communal well systems. Since much of this infrastructure was installed shortly after World War II, it requires ongoing rehabilitation or replacement to maintain current standards.

What is a sewer surcharge rate?

Exactly how much residents and businesses pay for sewers is based on the amount of water they consume. That's because the more water used, the more wastewater the City must transport and ultimately treat before it can be released back into the environment. Therefore the amount of water residents consume is multiplied by a pre-determined sewer surcharge rate to determine the sewer fee that appears on their water bill. The sewer surcharge rate is a percentage of your water charge that will be needed to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the sewer infrastructure.

YOUR SEWER SURCHARGE ($) = YOUR WATER CHARGE ($) X SEWER SURCHARGE RATE (%)

Example of annual residential water bill

Annual residential water/sewer costs
Based on consumption of .586 cubic metre (m3) of water per day 
One cubic metre (m3) equals 220 gallons or 1,000 litres of water.

Water rate : $1.891 per cubic metre (m3)

Water charge

 

$1.891 x .586 m3 per day X 365 days

=

$404.47

 

Sewer surcharge: (117% of water charge)

 

$404.47 X 117%

=

$473.22

 

Fire Supply

=

$   44.50

 
 

Total annual water and sewer bill

 

$922.19

Other Charges

Fire supply charges

This charge is used to pay for the fire hydrant system in order to ensure that in the event of a fire there is adequate water flow to fire hydrants. This charge applies if your property is within an area equipped with fire hydrants (most urban properties).

The flat fee is calculated by first determining the City's full cost required to support adequate water flow to hydrants. Then, each residential and commercial property is given a weighting factor according to their meter size. Finally, each individual property is billed a flat fee that represents their relative portion of the overall cost.

The rates are:

Water Meter Size (mm)

Annual Fire Supply Charge

15 (average home)

$44.50

20

$79.12

25

$123.63

40

$316.48

50

$494.51

75

$1,112.64

100

$1,978.02

150

$4,450.55

200

$7,912.09

250

$12,362.64

Find more detailed information on changes to your water and sewer bill.

Questions about Water and Sewer Billing

Who should I call if there is a water emergency?

  • Please contact the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1 and give the details of the emergency. City staff will direct your call to the appropriate department.

How often will I receive my residential water and sewer bill?

  • Residential water and sewer bills are sent every two months. Every effort is made to read your meter for each billing, but you may not always receive bills based on an actual read. Bills based on estimates are calculated on the previous year's consumption for the same period and do not take into account changes in occupancy or weather. The City may correct billing errors at any time.

I am moving. What do I do?

When it's a property you own

  • For a $69 fee the vendors' or purchasers' lawyer can apply for a Water and Sewer Surcharge Certificate, which is a statement of outstanding charges at the time of closing. The City will obtain a final reading on the closing date. A final bill is then sent to the vendor at the service address unless the vendor requests that the final bill be sent elsewhere. Alternatively, please contact the City to arrange a final meter reading, or to provide the final reading yourself.

When it's a property you rent

  • Please contact the City to arrange a final meter reading.

Ownership/Tenant changes

If you are moving into or out of a property, it is important for you to contact Revenue Services a minimum of 21 days in advance. This notice is required in order to ensure that your property and contact information is up-to-date with us. If you move without notifying Revenue Services, you will be liable for the account until notice of your move is received.

  • Revenue Services will obtain a final meter reading within 10 days of your closing date.
  • There is a charge for setting up a new water/sewer account, please refer to Fees for more details.
  • Please call us with the following information:
    • Service Address for old and new account
    • New Owner/ Tenants refer to Billing options for tenants
    • Date of closing
    • Phone number, cell, home, work
    • Your new mailing address (necessary for any refunds due to the Final reading)

I am going away for an extended period of time. What can I do about my water bill?

Here is a checklist to follow:

  • Check all plumbing fixtures, such as inside and outside taps, and ensure they are completely turned off.
  • In the winter, it is essential you maintain some household heat while you are away to prevent your meter from freezing. The City charges to replace a frozen meter. If you are lowering or turning off the heat, you should drain your water system to prevent any damages resulting from freezing. Please contact a plumber for more information.
  • You will continue to receive a regular bill every 2 months for any consumption recorded and flat fees. See payment options to ensure your bill is paid on time.

How do I get a billing based on an actual read instead of an estimate?

The City of Ottawa obtains reading information through an automated meter reading wireless network. If you are being billed on an estimate your equipment  may not be functioning correctly. Please contact our meter operations unit at 613-580-2424 x:22300.

How do I take my meter reading?

Taking a meter reading is as easy as reading your car odometer. Taking a meter reading is as easy as reading your car odometer. Water meters are generally located in the basement of your house, usually on the front wall. Your meter will display a six to nine digit number depending on the model of the meter installed in your home. If your meter is digital you will need to shine a light on the meter for the number to display. Water consumption is recorded in cubic metres (m³). If you are unable to find your meter, call us as we may have location information on file.

Can I have my water meter tested for accuracy?

Water meters either record consumption accurately or start under-registering with age, however if you think the water meter consumption is the cause of a high water bill, you can request the water meter be tested for accuracy.  Should the testing prove that the meter is not over-registering, it is your responsibility to pay for the test.

Why is my water bill suddenly very high?

There are a number of possible explanations:

  • It could be due to higher water consumption as a result of:
  • A change in the household (such as new tenants, new owners, more people, visitors);
  • New appliances (such as a water-cooled air conditioner, dishwasher, hot water tank, heating system, lawn sprinkler system)
  • You may have some plumbing problems or leaks. To check for leaks, locate the 'trickle indicator' - a small red or black triangle - on your water meter. Make sure no water is running, and then check to see if the indicator is turning, moving or shaking. If it is, water is flowing through the meter indicating a leak somewhere. The homeowner is responsible for all plumbing repairs and maintenance. The City is not responsible for internal plumbing leaks.
  • Toilets seep.  Lift the lid off of the water tank, drop in some food colouring or brewed tea or coffee, and come back in 20 minutes.  If colour appears in the toilet bowl the rod-and-ball assembly or flapper need adjustment or replacement (Don’t flush the toilet while you are waiting). The homeowner is responsible for all plumbing repairs and maintenance. The City is not responsible for internal plumbing leaks.
  • It could be a catch-up bill, which can occur when an actual meter reading is missed, an outside remote is not working, or after a change in occupancy.
  • It could be a result of higher seasonal demands.

Changes to your water and sewer bill

Effective May 1, 2017, the rate will change on your water and sewer bill. City Council has approved the 2017 water and wastewater budget. This budget supports the City’s commitment to provide residents of Ottawa with high-quality drinking water, protect the environment, reduce the risk of flooding and renew existing infrastructure.

How much will the rate increase?

The average Ottawa household will see an increase of 83 cents per week. 

Water bill fees are based on how much water you use. The table below illustrates the rate changes for 2017.

Service

2016 Rate

2017 Rate

Water

$1.801 (per cubic metre)

$1.891 (per cubic metre)

Sewer surcharge

117% of Water Charges

117% of Water Charges

Fire Supply

$42.38 (residential annual rate)

$44.50 (residential annual rate)

Why is the City implementing a water rate increase?

The City of Ottawa has developed a long-term plan to help ensure residents continue to enjoy clean, safe and healthy drinking water. To address aging infrastructure, a growing population, environmental concerns, increasing government regulations and rising costs, City Council has approved a water rate increase for 2017.

What impacts the cost of water services?

Extensive resources are needed to provide water, stormwater and wastewater services to Ottawa residents. The City delivers water and sewer services that consider:

  • Public health protection
  • Environmental protection
  • Provincial legislation, regulations and standards
  • Economic development
  • Infrastructure renewal and rehabilitation

How can I reduce my water consumption?

The City of Ottawa continues to encourage residents to use water wisely as a means to conserve water and reduce your water and sewer bill. For useful tips on water conservation, please visit our conservation section.

Water meters

To track water usage and ensure customers are billed only for the water they use, every household, business and facility located within municipal boundaries is equipped with a water meter.

Fees

Online payment service

The secure third-party payment service provider, Paymentus Corporation, charges a service fee for online payments using a credit card, Visa Debit or Interac Online banking card. A water and sewer billing payment under $25.00 is subject to a service fee of $0.50 and any water and sewer payment over $25.00 is subject to a service fee of 1.99% of the total payment. 

Payment distribution fee: $43

If you have moved or you have more than one water and sewer account, you must ensure all your water and sewer accounts have been individually set up for internet/telephone banking or when making a payment at your financial institution. If a payment has to be transferred from one account to another, a $43 fee will be incurred.

Account history / Bill reprint: $37

Should you require an account history /bill reprint, please send us your request in writing with a $37 payment for every year/bill requested. Please mail your request and payment to Revenue Branch, 100 Constellation Drive, 4th Floor East, Ottawa, ON  K2G 6J8.

Alternatively, forms are located at all City of Ottawa Client Service Centres where payment for service can be made in person and staff will forward your request(s) to our office.

Requests for refunds

Refund: $27
A fee applies when producing a refund to cover the cost of refunding credits to clients when credits are not the result of an error by the City.

New account fee

The City established two fees that will affect residents who are opening new water accounts.

  • Meter Verification/Installation Fee: $94 
    This fee is charged when a new meter is installed to cover the cost of verifying that the water meter has been installed correctly. This is a one-time fee.
  • New Account Fee: $69 
  • This fee is charged when:
    • setting up a new water account

Change of ownership/occupancy fee: $43

Each time the name on the account changes, it is considered to be a change of ownership/occupancy, and the change of ownership/occupancy fee applies.

Reminder notice fee: $7.50 per notice

All water accounts issued a Reminder Notice will be charged $7.50 to cover the production, mailing and administrative costs. 

Receipts fee: $37

Only ONE water bill is issued. Should you require a receipt, return the entire bill with your payment. If a duplicate bill is required, a $37 charge will apply.

Transfer to tax fee: $42

Accounts left unpaid after the second consecutive billing will be transferred to the corresponding tax account and will incur a $42 administrative fee.

Water and sewer arrears certificate fee: $69

Anyone can apply for a Water and Sewer Arrears Certificate, which is a statement of outstanding charges on a water and sewer account.

Water shut off and turn on fee: $90

The water shut off and turn on fee is $90 (2017 rate) each and will be charged to the property's water bill.

Returned payment fee: $44

If your payment cannot be processed or is not otherwise honoured by the bank you will be charged a Returned Payment Fee for each account the payment was originally applied to.

Late payment penalty

A penalty for late payment of 1.25% is added the day following the due date and every month thereafter until the account is paid.

For more information, please contact Revenue Branch by e-mail or by phone at 613-580-2444 (TTY: 613-580-2401) Please note: Calls to Revenue Branch may be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes as well as confirming client requests and directions.

*Note: All Fees are subject to annual review by Council.

Last updated: April 25, 2017

NEW - Changes to water billing options for landlords and tenants

Effective January 1, 2017, the City will no longer accept Tenant Leases on behalf of landlords and tenants.  We will continue to bill the tenant based on existing tenant leases received and effective no later than December 31, 2016 until such time as the tenant vacates.

The City of Ottawa will provide 2 options to landlords to have your tenant responsible for water and sewer costs;

  1. Bills remain in the landlord’s name. Bills are sent to the landlord either at the rental property or his/her mailing address, in his/her name. The landlord makes arrangements with the tenant for payment of the account and remains solely responsible for any unpaid amounts.
  2. Landlords can make arrangements with the City to have the tenant billed directly by submitting an Authorization Agreement to Bill Tenant[ PDF- 24 KB ] form.  Note: this form must be signed by the owner/owner’s or authorized agent and the tenant. Under the terms of this agreement, if the tenant fails to pay, the landlord remains responsible for any unpaid amounts.

Either the landlord or the tenant can arrange to have the tenant billed directly by providing the completed Authorization Agreement to Bill Tenant Form.  Your assistance by providing all data required on the form will facilitate prompt updating of our records thereby reducing unnecessary costs to you and/or your tenants. 

Incomplete Authorization Agreement to Bill Tenant forms will be returned to you for completion. The tenant account will not be established until the form is properly completed.

A change of ownership/occupancy fee is charged to update the change of ownership/occupancy and billed to the new tenant.  When notice is received indicating the tenant is vacating, the account is reverted back into the landlord’s name until documentation is received to support a new tenancy.  If the vacancy period is greater than 14 days and documentation is not received, the landlord will be subject to the change of ownership/occupancy fee.  

Request a water and sewer surcharge certificate

If a homeowner or lawyer wishes to obtain a Water and Sewer Surcharge Certificate to determine if there are any charges remaining at the time of closing a real estate transaction, they must complete and submit the Water and Sewer Surcharge Certificate Request Form [ PDF – 41 KB ]. The form is fillable on screen and can be printed. There is currently a $69 fee (effective January 1, 2017) for each Request. Mail your completed form to:

City of Ottawa, Revenue Services
100 Constellation Drive, 4th Floor East
Ottawa, Ontario K2G 6J8

Please include a cheque or money order payable to the “City of Ottawa”. We will make every attempt to provide current status certificates within 3 business days of the receipt of the request. Certificates will only be issued if the request form is filled out correctly and sufficient payment is provided. Certificates requested based upon a final reading will only be provided after the final reading has been taken.

For more information, please contact the Revenue Services by e-mail at or by phone at 613-580-2444 (TTY: 613-580-2401). Please note: Calls may be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes as well as confirming client requests and directions.

Water billing options for condo developers

Notice to Home Builder’s Community

Interim Ownerships Water and Sewer Accounts

The Revenue Services is responsible for the maintenance of client water and sewer accounts for the City of Ottawa.

To accommodate the water and sewer billing for purchasers who have taken possession of a condominium unit during the “Interim Occupancy Period”, the City will update the water and sewer account to the purchaser’s name(s) and will bill accordingly.

However, since the transfer of title will not occur until the Condominium Corporation is registered; the developer may become liable for any outstanding water and sewer charges if the “interim owner” defaults on payment. To collect outstanding balances the City of Ottawa would transfer defaulted water and sewer balances to the tax roll (developer) and collect in the same manner as property taxes.

Once added to taxes, additional fees will apply and the account is subject to a penalty charge of 1.25 per cent per month. Penalty is added after the due date and every month thereafter until the account is paid.

Contact Revenue Services

Please quote your account number and service address on all correspondence, or have it handy when you call.
  • Tel: 613-580-2444 (TTY 613-580-2401)
    Please note: Calls to Revenue Services may be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes as well as confirming client requests and directions.
  • Fax: 613-580-2457

Weekdays:

  • 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (June to August)
  • 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (September to May)

Mailing address

City of Ottawa
Revenue Services
100 Constellation Drive, 4th Floor East
Ottawa, ON
K2G 6J8