FAQs

FAQs

Check here for answers to some of the most common questions we receive from customers.


Service Questions

Answers

What are your business hours?

The Customer Service lobby and call center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Please note - Please remember to bring your entire bill when paying in person. Customers can call (216) 664-3130 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to speak with a customer service representative. Emergency teams are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (216) 664-3060.

How can I identify a Cleveland Water employee who comes to my home?

All Cleveland Water employees wear a photo identification badge with a Cleveland Water logo. For your safety, always ask to see this identification before allowing the person into your home. Should someone posing as an employee refuse to show identification, please call (216) 664-2444 ext.5333 immediately to report the impostor.

What should I do about my water service and bill if I sell my property or purchase new property?

Contact Customer Service at (216) 664-3130 after the title has been transferred. You will need to provide Customer Service with the title transfer date and the new owner's name.

If I move to a new property, am I responsible for the previous owner's balance?

No. The new owner's responsibility begins the day the title is transferred.

If I need to make repairs, whom should I call to have my water turned off or on?

Call Distribution and Maintenance at (216) 664-3060.

I'm a senior citizen and I want to know if I am eligible for discounted water service.

Cleveland Water's Homestead Exemption program is for senior citizens and permanently disabled customers who meet income guidelines. Contact Customer Services at (216) 664-3130 for more information, or click here.

Billing Questions

Answers

I rent, but I want to pay my own water bill. What should I do?

Come to our Customer Service center at 1201 Lakeside Avenue and pay a deposit. You will need a copy of your lease agreement and photo identification. Your water and sewer bill will carry the property owner's name, but will come to your address.

I lost my water bill. What should I do?

Call Customer Service at (216) 664-3130 to request a duplicate bill or click here to ask a question.

I received a water bill even though I was out of town for four months and didn't use any water. Why?

Customers who have not used water must still pay a minimum charge if water service is available to the property.

Who should I call to correct a misspelled name or incorrect address on my water bill?

Call Customer Service at (216) 664-3130 to correct a misspelled name or an incorrect address on your water bill or click here.

Several water bills have piled up on me. What should I do to take care of them?

Call the Customer Service at (216) 664-3130. A representative will help you make payment arrangements to avoid any interruption in service.

Do I have to pay for sewer charges if I fill my swimming pool?

Yes. Pool water eventually drains through the sewers and must be treated before returning to Lake Erie.

Can I pay my water and sewer bills with one check?

No, they should be paid on separate checks accompanied by respective payment stubs sent to two separate remittances as mentioned on the bill.

Home Care Questions

Answers

How can I schedule an inspection to make sure my plumbing repairs are up to code?

Call Permits and Sales at (216) 664-2444, ext. 5203 to send inspectors to check plumbing after repairs have been made.

Last winter my water pipes froze and burst. How can I keep that from happening?

If you live in a home with an unheated basement or in a slab home with a crawl space underneath, extremely cold weather may cause your water lines to freeze or your internal plumbing lines to burst.

You can take several steps to minimize the risk:

  • Keep areas with exposed pipes warm.
  • Wrap water pipes in unheated areas with pipe insulation or blankets.
  • Open a tap and let the water run in a continuous stream about the thickness of a pencil.

The amount of money you spend taking these precaution will be relatively small compared to the cost of repairing damaged lines.

I’m putting in a new dishwasher and the directions say I need to know the hardness of the water in grains/gallon. What is it?

The hardness of our water is 7 grains/gallon or 120 mg/L as calcium carbonate.

Water Quality Questions

Answers

My water looks cloudy. Who should I call for help?

During regular business hours (8:00 am-4:00 pm), call our Engineering Hydraulics Service Office at (216) 664-3160. After hours, please call our 24-hour trouble center at (216) 664-3060. These locations handle questions and complaints regarding the odor, taste, and color of water. The cloudiness is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to what you see in soft drinks.  After a while, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone.  This occurs more often in the winter when the water is cold. Sometimes, this can be caused by a plumbing problem. Our Engineering Hydraulics Service group can instruct you how to eliminate the problem.

What should I do if my water is discolored?

If you experience discolored water, contact Cleveland Water at (216) 664-3160 during normal business hours or (216) 664-3060 outside of normal business hours. Provide us with as much information as possible, including time and date the problem started, location, and your best description of the problem.

The Cleveland Water system has been in operation for more than 150 years, and some of our water mains are made of cast iron.  Whenever the water velocity or flow direction changes from normal, iron sediment from these old mains is picked up by the water and shows up as discoloration.  Incidents that can cause this include:

  • Fire hydrant testing – causes a temporary increase in water velocity as fire crews check hydrant operability.
  • Water main breaks – cause a temporary increase in flow velocity and in some cases also cause a reversal in the normal flow direction of the water.

In these situations, the water is safe to drink.  However, use care as the iron can stain laundry and plumbing fixtures.

Do I need to filter the water coming into my house?

No. If you choose to install a filter, there are some issues to keep in mind.  A water filter is like any other piece of equipment – it must be maintained.  If a filter is not properly maintained, it can break down and degrade your water quality.  You should also be aware that if you put a filter in place, it will accumulate iron particles.  There are many iron mains in our water system and the water does pick up iron sediment from these mains.  Most of the time, the particles cannot be seen because they are very small and are not harmful.  If you put in a filter, the iron will accumulate on your filter and will become visible.

Do the zebra mussels in Lake Erie pose any danger to water quality?

No. These mollusks multiply very quickly, but pose no threat at all to public health. Click here for more information.

Is lead a problem in Cleveland drinking water?

No. The water produced by Cleveland Water is well within the very strict government standards for water purity and absence of lead. Any problems with lead in drinking water stem primarily from lead service lines that connect homes to water mains, and from lead pipes and solder used in home plumbing systems installed before Congress banned such use in 1986. We add orthophosphate to the drinking water to inhibit lead corrosion.  Cleveland Water routinely eliminates lead service connections during construction and maintenance programs. For additional information, call our Lead Inquiry Line (216) 664-2882, or click here for more information.

Should I be concerned about chlorine and fluoride in my water?

No.  You should be concerned if chlorine and fluoride are not in your water. These two chemicals have made a powerful contribution to public health. Chlorine kills bacteria and fluoride contributes to dental health. The use of chlorine has virtually eliminated the outbreak of such deadly diseases as typhoid fever in the United States, while the use of fluoride has reduced the incidence of dental cavities among children age 5-17 by 50%. Virtually every public and private health agency, including the U.S. Public Health Service and World Health Organization, endorses the use of fluoride in water.  Additionally, fluoridation by public water systems in Ohio is required by state law.

I would like to have my water tested by an independent laboratory. How can I find a laboratory to do that?

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency maintains a list of laboratories certified to test drinking water on their website at  http://epa.ohio.gov/ddagw/labcert.aspx

Where does the lead in water come from?

Lead does not come from the treatment plant or water mains in the Cleveland Water System. Instead, if there is lead in drinking water, it comes from various places between the water main and your faucet, including lead service connections (cityside and private property) and copper plumbing with high lead solder and brass fittings and fixtures within your home.

Is there lead in the Cleveland Water System?

Like many older water systems across the country, the Cleveland Water System does contain some lead cityside connections. Lead was commonly used in the Cleveland area prior to the 1960s to establish water service connections for new homes.

What is Cleveland Water doing to prevent lead in water?

  • Cleveland Water’s state-of-the-art treatment process utilizes orthophosphate, an anti-corrosive that creates a thin layer of film which acts as a barrier on metal pipes and fixtures to prevent lead from leaching into the water. This protection works not only throughout the Cleveland Water System’s cityside lead connections, but also on customer owned plumbing.
  • Cleveland Water replaces lead cityside connections every time they are uncovered, including during all capital projects and repairs following water main breaks.
  • We have also added the potential for reducing lead into our criteria for scoring all construction projects.

What are ways I can prevent lead from getting into my water?

  • Conduct a simple scratch test to determine if your home has a lead service connection for which you are responsible. You can find guidance on conducting this test at www.clevelandwater.com/lead-treatment.
  • Before using water for drinking or cooking, turn on the cold tap and let it run for one to two minutes, particularly if the water has been off and sitting in the pipes in your home for more than six hours.
  • Avoid drinking or cooking with water from the hot water tap. Always use cold water for cooking, drinking and making baby formula.
  • Periodically clean the aerator on faucets you use for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, or other potable uses.
  • If you are still concerned, you may wish to purchase a point-of-use treatment device certified to remove lead and make sure that it is properly maintained.
  • If you wish to have your water tested, contact a laboratory certified by the Ohio EPA.

Meter Reading Questions

Answers

If I sell my home, can I provide a final meter reading?

Yes.  Call Customer Service at (216) 664-3130 with a final reading or click here.

How do I read my meter?

All customers within the Cleveland Water service territory have their water use measured by a meter.

Cleveland Water meters measure water in thousand cubic feet (one cubic foot equals approximately 7.5 gallons), or MCF. Charges for the amount of water consumed are based on the number of MCF units used during a billing period. One MCF unit equals 1,000 cubic feet or approximately 7,480.05 gallons.

The majority of the City's meters are the straight-reading meter, which resembles an odometer in a car. In the meter shown, the dials read 81,710.03, which is the total number of cubic feet of water recorded since the meter was installed.  Cleveland Water bills in units of 1,000 cubic feet (or 1 MCF). The meter would read 81,710.03 MCF. 

Help Us Read Your Meter

Your water meter is an accurate and dependable water-measuring device used to register all the water consumed in your home or building.  The water meter is usually located in the basement of your residence. The Clear Reads AMR Program is in the process of upgrading all meters and remote registers with a new Endpoint.  The Endpoint will securely transmit your water usage back to Cleveland Water to ensure timely and accurate billing.

From time to time, Cleveland Water may need access to your meter for maintenance.  To ensure access, it is important that you maintain the area around your metering device.  Some customers have a meter installed in a vault, typically in the front of the property, which is also the utility easement.  When landscaping or fencing your yard, you need to maintain enough distance from the meter to allow us to read, service, and repair your meter.   It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure the meter is visible and accessible at all times.

Please keep these things in mind when landscaping:

  • Permanent structures such as walls, fences, and gates cannot be installed in a utility easement area without an encroachment permit from the City
  • Your meter area should be kept clear of shrubbery, trees, and low growing bushes
  • When planting trees, keep in mind that tree roots can become entangled around the underground pipes increasing the possibility of broken pipes and water leaks
  • Shrubbery can become bushy and hinder our ability to read your meter
  • Customers who already have established landscaping are required to trim their plants to allow access to the meter box

If landscaping does cause access difficulty, we ask that you clear it.  However, if we need immediate access we may clear the vegetation without prior notice.  Please note, Cleveland Water has the right to remove obstructions placed in a utility easement area and is not responsible for any damage caused by removing the obstruction.

If you have any questions about maintaining your meter or need help in locating your water meter, please call Customer Service at (216) 664-3130.

Emergency Questions

Answers

Who should I call if a water main breaks?

Call the emergency phone line at (216) 664-3060 to report emergencies such as broken mains, missing manhole covers, and poor water pressure.

Miscellaneous Questions

Answers

I'm writing a term paper on Cleveland's water system. Where can I get detailed information?

Contact Public Affairs at (216) 664-2444, ext. 5676.