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This blog combines articles from ADEC ESG Solutions, as well as FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS), an ADEC Innovation.

It’s Not too Early to Think About Your Summer Water & Sewer Charges

Posted by Steven Corliss on Feb 5, 2014 10:14:00 AM

iStock_000000113359SmallIt may still be freezing cold outside with snow on the ground for most of the US, but it’s not too early to start thinking about ways to reduce your sewer cost this upcoming summer from using water for landscaping, cooling towers, or filling up backyard pools.

Reducing your water and sewer cost by using controls and moisture sensors to prevent over watering are good sustainability practices to observe. This simple and easy step will reduce your use of water. Not only are you helping the environment by reducing your water usage, but you are also reducing your cost for both water and sewer in most cases as well.

There is another method to reduce cost for commercial and industrial properties that is often ignored or possibly not known, but is available to utility managers. This is done by installing what is called an “irrigation” meter, or sometimes referred to as the “sewer deduct” meter.

How Am I Billed?

Understanding how you are billed for water and sewer usage is very important. Typically, there is only one meter installed for your location by the water utility. The usage running through this meter will be the basis for billing usage for both the water company and the sewer company, sometimes being the same company. So, for every gallon or CCF (100 cubic feet) of water going through this meter, you will be billed based on the same usage for your sewer charges, with the assumption that the sewer company is treating 100% of the water flow going through the meter.a-calculator-and-papers-for-adding-up-the-monthly-bills_LOW

However, if you have seasonal use of water for landscaping or cooling tower purposes, the water used here never makes it to the sewer system. The water used eventually evaporates into the environment, never making it to the sewer companies waste treatment facility, unlike the water drained from pools.

How Do You Save?

The “irrigation” meter does exactly what the name implies - it measures the water used for landscaping purposes. Remember, the water company will bill you for the total amount of water that passed through their meters, whether it is for domestic purposes or your landscaping needs.

The savings you realize is on the sewer charges portion of your bill. Any water usage that is metered through the “irrigation” meter is not billed sewer charges. Depending on the location, in some cases up to 80% of the total water used in a year is for water used for irrigating landscaping.

For some facilities this might be upwards to a $100,000.00 savings annually depending on the volume of water used for irrigation purposes with an “irrigation” meter installed. In some areas the fees charged for sewer is much higher than the fees for water use.

Now, the savings for using an “irrigation” meter is not available in all locations. Some sewer companies do not offer discounts for water that never makes it to their system.

How Do I Find Out If This Is An Option For My Company?

You need to do a water/sewer audit like the one that FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) provides to their clients. The audit includes looking at past water and sewer bills to identify seasonal water usage, calculating what your seasonal sewer costs are, contacting the sewer company serving your location to see if they allow for “irrigation” metering, and finally identifying the payback for installing the meter if installation charges are involved.

So even if you have snow on the ground now, you may want to do this audit ASAP. The process to install a meter includes contacting the utility to identify where the meter needs to be installed and scheduling when they can do it. You want to have this completed before the summer irrigating season begins so you can immediately realize the full benefits on day one.

For this and other sustainability audits, contact FCS to help you maximize your benefits all year round.

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