Utility Billing

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Frequently Asked Questions

For more detail, view the full Frequently Asked Questions PDF.

Why does my tap water look cloudy?

Occasionally, tiny air bubbles in tap water cause a cloudy appearance. Air dissolves into water when pressurized which occurs in the groundwater basin and in the water pipes that deliver water to your tap.

Is it OK to drink the water when it looks cloudy?

The bubbles are harmless and pose no health risk. The air bubbles will dissipate if you let the water sit in a glass for a few minutes.

Why are there particles in my water?

The City’s drinking water comes from a vast underground aquifer. The wells that pump the water from the aquifer into the delivery system are designed to filter out naturally occurring sediments. These particles typically settle in large water pipes and tanks, but sometimes make it through the faucet.

Why does the tap water smell funny sometimes?

When your water tastes or smells funny, the problem may be in the water or it may not. Odors might actually be coming from your sink drain where bacteria grow on hair, soap, food, and other things that get trapped. Gases in the drain that smell get stirred up when water pours into the pipe. Odor can also come from bacteria growing in devices such as water heaters.

Why does my tap water leave spots on my glasses and sometimes limit the flow of water from my showerhead and faucets?

Several types of minerals can be found in tap water. Minerals containing calcium and magnesium are common in local groundwater supplies and are responsible for the white spots observed when tap water is allowed to dry on household surfaces. While these spots may be unwelcome, these naturally occurring minerals in your tap water provide a protective internal coating deemed optimum for controlling corrosion of your home’s water pipes and plumbing fixtures. The most common mineral deposits are lime, rust, and calcium. Mineral deposits that are allowed to accumulate over time on household surfaces can become more problematic to remove. Routine household maintenance such as wiping water droplets from surfaces before evaporation occurs can help prevent mineral deposits.

Is my tap water hard, and is it safe to drink?

The level of hardness in tap water is determined by the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water, both of which are common minerals found in the City’s groundwater supply. Most City water customers receive water with moderate hardness. The City of Grand Ledge tests water 16 times each month to ensure the water is safe to drink. (While hard water can require additional cleaning steps, these naturally occurring minerals in your tap water provide protective internal coating deemed optimum for controlling corrosion of your home’s water pipes and plumbing fixtures.)

I've heard there is lead in the City's water, is that true?

Lead has not been detected in the City’s source water. While lead has not been detected in the City’s source water, there have been instances where lead was detected through testing individual customer taps. The City has been testing an average of 20 sites at the highest risk for lead, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), every one to three years since 1992. In all instances, these tests have been found in compliance with water quality standards, including lead levels that have not reached above the Federal Action Level of 15 parts per billion (ppb).

Where does the City test our water?

The City’s water system pulls ground water from four different wells that are 250-feet below ground. The water is tested before it travels into the public water towers and water main. For sampling data and additional information on the City’s water quality view the most recent Water Quality Report or stop by City Hall, open Monday – Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm, for a printed copy.

Does the City of Grand Ledge make money from paid water bills?

As a public water provider, the City of Grand Ledge can only charge customers for the costs associated with providing water service, which means it cannot earn a profit. The City provides water and wastewater collection for more than 3,610 customers across approximately 4 square miles.

Why does the City charge so much for water?

The City of Grand Ledge is dedicated to setting water and wastewater rates that treat customers fairly and reflect the true cost of service while protecting the City’s financial stability. Recent water and wastewater rate increases reflect the necessary adjustments needed to ensure the City provides the operation and maintenance required for the water and wastewater systems. Adequate funding levels are critical to the delivery of a safe and reliable supply of water.

Don't my property taxes pay for water costs?

For every $1.00 paid toward property taxes, the City of Grand Ledge receives approximately $0.25 if the taxpayer lives in the City or approximately $0.18 if the taxpayer owns property in the City. The balance of taxes paid are appropriated to other entities. The tax allocation could not support a user based utility such as the City’s water and wastewater that has operational costs and user fees dependent on use. The vast majority of municipalities charge customers fixed and variable rate water/wastewater fees to cover costs associated with adequately operating water and wastewater utilities.

I think there is something wrong with my water meter. What should I do?

It is important for water customers to understand how their water meter works. The graphics below indicate a few features of typical water meters, both current and new, that are utilized in the City. If you feel your meter is not operating as it should, please contact the Utilities Billing Department at 517-627-2149. Inspections can be scheduled for a $50 charge.

What is the difference between a fixed rate and a variable rate?

Fixed rates are designed to recover unchanging costs associated with the operation and maintenance water and wastewater utilities. Variable rate calculations are based on the amount of water and wastewater used.

How can I learn more about reading my water/sewer bill?

The various charts and infographics below will help you decipher and understand how your bill is calculated.

Should I buy bottled water?

Some people believe that bottled water is safer and more pure than tap water. Water purity is determined by the amount of elements found in the water and by the level of treatment performed. Both bottled and tap water are considered safe when drinking water standards are met. When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets a new standard for tap water, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is required to establish the same new standard for bottled water.

How much money can I save by drinking tap water?

Some brands of bottled water use tap water from other areas and are a much more expensive option than your own tap water. Water that is bottled and sold can cost up to a thousand times more per gallon than tap water. On average, a City water customer receives more than 3,200 glasses of tap water (or 200+gallons) for approximately $1.00.

Do I need to purchase a filtered water treatment device to make my tap water safe?

Drinking water provided by the City meets all federal and state quality standards. Water filters may change the taste of tap water, but they are not necessary to ensure water safety.

Do I need a water softener?

While the drinking water provided by the City meets all federal and state quality standards, it is hard water. For customers who are looking to utilize “softer” water, a home water softener can be a viable option. Water softeners do require regular maintenance and have added installation costs and regular fees associated with their use. It is recommended that property owners check with a local water conditioning expert or the Water Quality Association, www.wqa.org, to find the best product for their needs.