Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked by CMD/CSD Customers
Why did my bill increase?
What are all those charges on my water bill? Why is it so high?
I might have a leak! What do I do?
Can I turn my water off myself?
Why did you raise rates? They’re already too high!
Other utilities let me change my billing date…why won’t you?
Why is that hydrant running? Am I paying for that water?
Where does my water come from and how is it treated?
When is my bill due? When will it be turned off?
I need to turn on, turn off, or transfer my service. What do I do?
What are those ads I keep seeing in the newspaper?
I got an ad for water line insurance in the mail. What is it?
Why do you charge payment processing fees?
Q: Why did my bill increase?
An unusually high water bill is most often caused by a leak or change in water use. Some common causes of high water bills include:
- A leaking toilet, or a toilet that continues to run after being flushed
- A dripping faucet; a faucet drip can waste 20 gallons of water, or more, a day
- Filling or topping off a swimming pool;
- Watering the lawn, new grass, or trees; also check for a leaking or turned on
- Kids home for summer vacations or school holidays;
- Guests or additional family visiting;
- Water-cooled air conditioners;
- A broken water pipe or obvious leak; check the pipes in the basement or
crawlspace; the water heater could also be leaking;
- Water softener problems – cycles continuously
- Running the water to avoid freezing water pipes during cold weather
Learning how to save water at home is very important because a typical family of four
uses 40‐50 gallons of water per person per day, 160–200 gallons a day, and 4800–6000
gallons per month. The largest water users are the toilets, clothes washer and showers,
which account for about two‐thirds of the water used in an average household. Toilets
use up to 27% of the household water supply, while clothes washers use approximately
20%, and showers use approximately 17%. Faucets account for about 15% and leaks
account for 13% of a family’s water use. Dishwashers, baths, and other uses account for
the remaining water use. Generally, water consumption is higher during the summer due
to watering of lawns, pools, and gardening.
Chester Metropolitan District bills for more than just water service. Most customers see a list of codes on their bills. Here is a breakdown of what they are and why they’re used:
Water Base — This is the minimum water charge for any customer.
Water Consumption — This is the charge for your water usage. CMD Bills in 1,000 gallon increments.
Sewer Base — This is the minimum sewer charge for any customer
Sewer Consumption — This is the charge for your sewer usage. It is based on water usage.
Garbage — This is the amount of money your municipality charges for Garbage Service.
CMD bills for wastewater and garbage through contracts with Chester County Wastewater Recovery, the City of Chester, the Town of Fort Lawn, and the Town of Great Falls. For questions about these services, please contact the appropriate authority below:
CWR Wastewater –(803) 377-3541
Town of Fort Lawn Wastewater –(803) 872-4724
City of Chester Garbage Service –(803) 581-1405
Town of Great Falls Wastewater and Garbage Service –(803) 482-2055
Q: I might have a leak! What do I do?
If you think you have a leak, your first step is to call the CMD/CSD office at (803) 385-5123. You will need to provide your name and the physical address of your property. Our staff will send a worker out to check your water meter. Please make sure all toilets, sinks, bathtubs and outside faucets are off. Once our personnel visit, you will be notified of the findings.
Sometimes customers may have leaks that CMD personnel cannot locate. These leaks may appear in the form of leaking toilets. They don’t always run, but when they do they can be costly.
If you believe your toilet may be leaking, one method of detection is to pour a packet of powdered drink mix into your toilet’s tank. If the toilet is leaking, the colored water will leak into your toilet bowl.
If you do have a leak, you will need to contact a plumber to have the leak repaired. Be sure to get a receipt, because under some circumstances CMD can offer an adjustment after the leak has been repaired.
Sometimes our customers find that a water hose has been left running for an extended period of time. A standard water hose can run approximately 10 gallons per minute which means that in less than two hours, that running hose can spill enough water to raise your bill. It takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to spill 1,000 gallons of water, and every 1,000 gallons of water wasted means another $4.00 – $6.00 added to your bill.
Unfortunately because this is a human error, CMD and CSD cannot offer an adjustment on a high bill due to a running water hose.
Q: Can I turn my water off myself?
Every customer service has a Customer Cutoff Valve installed in the service line. This is a round, green box located between your meter and your house. The lid on this box is not locked. Inside the box is a valve that the customer can turn on and off. If you have trouble locating or turning this valve, please contact the CMD Office so our maintenance staff can check it for you.
The only money the CMD and CSD receive comes from customer payments. The Districts do not receive tax money to help offset daily operations costs. We raise our rates for a number of reasons—increases in chemical costs used to treat the water, increases in the cost of repair materials, and the rising cost of general operation to name a few. Both CMD and CSD spend great effort securing grant funds for system upgrades and replacement, which helps improve service for customers as well as keeping the rates as low as possible. The less money we have to spend, the less cost we have to pass on to our customers.
The average customer in Chester uses roughly 4,000 gallons of water per month. If you divide the associated water charge of $34.10, the charge per gallon is only a penny.
Q: Other utilities let me change my billing date…why won’t you?
CMD bills in six cycles, which are determined by our meter reading routes. This is the simplest and most cost-effective method of reading the 6,000+ meters in our system. We are not capable of changing billing and payment dates because it would require our meter readers to duplicate efforts by reading single meters from different routes separately. CMD would have to hire additional workers, which would add to labor costs, which would result in higher rates in order to balance our budget.
Q: Why is that hydrant running? Am I paying for that water?
CMD personnel flow hydrants for many reasons. Typically when a hydrant is running while unattended, it is to flush the line that feeds the hydrant. This can be due to a low disinfectant reading, a water quality issue, or a line break. Water flushed from public hydrants is NEVER included on a customer’s bill.
Q: Where does my water come from and how is it treated?
CMD gets its water from the Catawba River as it comes through Fort Lawn. It goes through an extensive disinfection and treatment process. The water is disinfected by using a compound called “Chloramines”, which are made of chlorine and ammonia. This compound provides better, longer-lasting disinfection with less chlorine taste and smell.
Q: When is my bill due? When will it be turned off?
Our billing runs in six cycles throughout the month. Each cycle is billed at approximately the same time each month. No matter which cycle your bill falls in, it is always due fifteen days after the date on the bill. If your bill is not paid within that first fifteen days, a late fee is added to it.
If the bill is still not paid ten days after your due date, your account is assessed a non-payment fee and scheduled for disconnection. If your service is disconnected, you must pay the entire outstanding balance on your account for service to be restored. Should you decide to have your service reconnected after hours, there will be an additional fee added to your total due.
Q: I need to turn on, turn off, or transfer my service. What do I do?
Your first step is to call the CMD office. When you speak with the collections staff, they will tell you what information we require. Most often we need a photo ID (driver’s license or state-issued ID card) and proof of residence (rent receipt, rental agreement, landlord’s letter, or copy of the deed). You will have to come into the office for any of these services, because a signature is required. We ask for your signature as a safety precaution for you—we don’t want to turn your service off because someone else tells us you said it’s okay.
If you live out of town and need to have service started, stopped, or transferred, please call the CMD office to make arrangements.
New CMD customers can apply for service by CLICKING HERE.
Q: What are those ads I keep seeing in the newspaper?
CMD and CSD occasionally run advertisements in the newspaper. The most common are for the Chlorine/Ammonia Burnout and Hydrant Flow Testing.
The Chlorine Burnout procedure is a method for disinfecting our water system. Instead of running chloramines, CMD turns off the Ammonia feed and uses chlorine alone to disinfect the lines. Once the system has been flushed, chloramines are reintroduced to the system. Aside from a stronger chlorine-smell, it typically has no impact on customers.
The Flow Testing procedure still requires CMD staff to flow hydrants, but instead of disinfecting the system, we test each hydrant in the district for flow and pressure readings. This helps ensure that the fire system is in proper working order, and helps flush the lines for disinfection purposes at the same time.
Q: I got an advertisement for water line insurance in the mail. What is it?
Advertisements of that nature are normally considered to be a scam. Companies send out these notices hoping to convince customers that their water lines are in danger. It might come to you with CMD’s name on it, but we didn’t send it. Correspondence from CMD will come in two forms—your water bill, or as a letter on district letterhead.
As for the repairs, if a water line breaks on CMD’s side of the meter, we will repair it. If it breaks on your side, you will have to have a plumber repair it. Hold onto your receipt! Your repairs may qualify you for a one-time adjustment to your bill.
A “processing fee” is a per-transaction cost of using a specific service. In our case, the service provided is debit/credit transactions.
While CMD is able to process cash, check, and money-order payments in the lobby free of charge, we are subject to various fees when accepting credit, debit, and e-check payments. These fees are not unique to CMD; they are charged to any business whose payments are processed by third-party companies.
Generally, retail and for-profit businesses are able to absorb these fees in the cost of the products they sell. Being a utility, CMD is not able to absorb these fees as a “cost of business”. Rather than raise rates to cover the processing fee, CMD has chosen to charge the fee only to those who use the service.
Is there something else you’d like to know?
Please call us at (803) 385-5123 and ask!