Water & Sewer Bill Information
Water and sewer bills are issued on a quarterly basis. Water usage charges are a property lien. The property owner is responsible for payment of the water/sewer charges. The County does not pro-rate between buyers and sellers or landlords and tenants.
Charges are based on metered water usage. The usage of consumption is multiplied by the current water and sewer rates. There is a water account user charge based on meter size and a sewer account charge set at a flat rate. The water account charges and the sewer account charge are billed each quarter even if there is no water usage.
Below is a list of all the ways you can pay your water & sewer bill. You can make payments online, direct deposit, over the phone, through the mail, and in person. There are no convenience fees for payment of Water & Sewer bills by credit card or e-check.
1. Online Payment Portal
You can pay your water & sewer bill through our online portal. Payments can be made with credit / debit cards. Visit Howard County Utilli to register.
2. Direct Debit Automatic Payment
You can set up an automatic electronic transfer from your checking account to pay the bill when it is due.
- Complete the application form that pertains to your type of checking account (personal or business)
- Enclose a copy of a voided check
- Send your application in a separate envelope to:
Director of Finance, Direct Debit
PO Box 3367
Ellicott City, MD 21041-3367
- Keep one copy of the authorization for your records
You can pay over the telephone by using our toll free number 1-800-263-1923.
Payment by credit card does not give Howard County Government access to your credit card number. That information is retained strictly by Govolution. Govolution takes full advantage of internet security in the handling of your credit card information.
You can mail in a check or money order with the envelope enclosed in your printed bill. Payments must be received by the Department of Finance on or before the net due date to avoid late fees.
5. Pay In Person
You can pay in at our Cashier's Office located at 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043.
You can also pay at our drop box located to the left of the main entrance at 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. Payments deposited after 8:30 A.M. will not be collected until the next business day.
Bills are issued to the property unless the County receives notification to mail the bill elsewhere.
The account number stays with the property address. A secondary billing address is available that allows the past due notice to be issued to the address recorded for mailing and to the secondary address.
Water bills are mailed allowing a thirty-day payment period. Payments must be received in the Department of Finance on or before the net due date to avoid late fees. A 10% late fee is assessed to the unpaid balance if payment is not received in the Department of Finance by the net due date. If payment has not reached the Department of Finance on or before the due date a past due notice will be issued. Failure to pay the past due charges will result in the discontinuance of service. Turn–off and turn-on charges will then be assessed. All charges must be paid before water service can be restored. Charges that remain unpaid can be placed in the annual tax sale and are assessed an administrative fee.
“Howard County Utilli” provides users secure access to their water and sewer account information as well as the option to pay bills online without incurring a convenience fee.
The “Howard County Utilli” app can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store, Google Play and the Windows Phone Store. There is an online version of the customer portal available.
Creating an account takes only a few minutes and provides county water and sewer customers the ability to view their consumption, billing and payment history, as well as meter reading history. Customers can also enroll in the county’s Direct Debit program, as well as sign up for or donate to the new “H2O Help to Others” program (read more about the program below).
H2O Help to Others is a program to connect Howard County residents who need assistance in paying water and sewer bills with residents who want to help. Water and sewer customers are able to make donations to a fund used to assist customers with delinquent accounts who are facing disconnection of service. Howard County has selected a non-profit, Family and Children Services, to administer the program and verify the need of those seeking assistance.
Residents have the option of rounding up their payment to the nearest dollar and donating the excess, or making one-time donations to the program. You can check the box on your bill to opt into the Round-Up program, sign up on the Utilli portal, or email to sign up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should I call with questions about my water and sewer bill?
The Water and Sewer Billing Division handles billing questions. They can be reached at 410-313-2058.
What are water user and sewer user charges?
The water user charge is a set fee for reading and maintaining the water meter. The sewer user charge is a set fee for maintaining and cleaning the sewer lines.
What is the State Bay Restoration Fee?
On May 26, 2004, Governor Robert Ehrlich signed Senate Bill 320 (Bay Restoration Fund) into law. By signing this bill, Governor Ehrlich initiated Maryland’s efforts to reduce nitrogen loading in the bay by over 7.5 million pounds per year and phosphorus loading by over 260 thousand pounds per year, which represents over one-third of Maryland’s commitment under the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement.
The County is required to levy the Bay Restoration Charge for properties connected to the public water/sewer system on all bills issued after February 1, 2005. As of July 1, 2012, Residential properties will be charged $15.00 per quarter. Commercial properties are charged based on water consumption.
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has set up a website giving detailed information about the Bay Restoration Fees. Questions regarding the Bay Restoration Fee should be directed to MDE at 410-537-3567.
Bay Fee Hardship Exemption
Howard County has a Hardship Exemption for low income users of County Water & Sewer Service. If you are a homeowner living in your property, you can apply for both the Bay Fee Hardship Exemption and the Trash Fee Credit with one form as the requirements for qualification are the same.
Renter Bay Fee Hardship Exemption
If you are a renter paying a Water & Sewer bill for the property you are leasing, you can still qualify for the Bay Fee Hardship Exemption.
How does the County assure water meter readings and water bills are accurate?
Most water meters in Howard County are read electronically via radio interface, thereby minimizing human error.
Water meter data is transferred electronically to the County’s billing system, again minimizing human error.
These readings are automatically compared to the previous readings and/or the reading from the same time period in the prior year. If a substantial difference is found the bill is reviewed individually by a staff member.
If the staff member determines that the difference is significant and there is no mitigating reason for the discrepancy, a field investigation will ensue to identify and resolve the problem.
While it is extremely rare that the actual water meters over-register, the general cause is a malfunctioning transmitter.
We do our best to ensure all billed water meter readings are correct. If you feel your water bill is inaccurate give us a call at 410-313-2058 during the hours of 8 and 5pm.
I received an estimated water and sewer bill. Who do I contact?
Estimated usage is normally the result of a stopped meter. Contact the Water and Sewer Billing Division at 410-313-2058 to schedule an appointment to have the meter repaired.
I'm moving to another home. Where do I report the change of address?
Billing information should be directed to the Water and Sewer Billing Department at 410-313-2058. Water bills are not forwarded. All forwarding addresses must be submitted to the Department of Finance. The forwarding address with the postal service does not allow the water bills to be forwarded.
Why is my water bill so high?
Water and sewer charges are based on the metered volume of water consumed from the public water system. The consumption is multiplied by the water usage rate and the sewer usage rate. Sewer charges are higher because of the cost of wastewater treatment.
I have a leak at my property. Will my bill be adjusted?
The County may adjust sewer charges if a leak occurs underground. In this situation, the leak must be repaired first and then a letter requesting an adjustment needs to be sent to the Department of Finance. Attach a copy of the plumbing bill to the letter and include a name and day time phone number for the person to be contacted.
A utility worker from the Bureau of Utilities Meter Division will inspect the property location to verify that the leak has been repaired and that no other leaks exist. He/she will also read the meter and then generate a field report for submission to the meter supervisor who will determine if a sewer charge adjustment is warranted.
I’m using a hose to fill my pool, how much will my bill be?
The calculation to estimate your water bill is as follows:
Divide the number of gallons used to fill the pool by 748*
Multiply the result times the current water and sewer rates
*This is the number of gallons in one unit of consumption
I’m moving from the property. What is my final bill?
The County does not provide final billing. Water and sewer charges are billed on a quarterly basis and constitute a lien on the property. Howard County does not pro-rate between buyer/seller or landlord/tenant. If you’re selling the property, monies will be pro-rated at settlement. If you are a tenant, please contact the landlord/management company.
How do I apply for or cancel Direct Debit?
To apply for direct debit or to cancel direct debit, call our office at (410) 313-2058 or fill out the application form. Complete the form and send it to Director of Finance, PO Box 3367, Ellicott City, MD 21041-3367 along with a copy of a voided check. To cancel direct debit, check "Cancellation" on the application form.
Can I pay in person anywhere else other than the Howard County Finance Cashier's Office?
No. Payments made in person must be brought to the George Howard Building in Ellicott City.
Why is my bill addressed to Owner / Occupant?
We have no way of knowing who is living on the property unless we are notified. Water billing is a lien against the property and bills are addressed "Owner / Occupant" for delivery to the property location.