NEORSD expands cost-saving programs to assist customers
Where does it go? “It” is wastewater—both sanitary sewage and stormwater—that leaves the homes and businesses of more than one million Sewer District customers throughout Northeast Ohio. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) is responsible for treating that wastewater (approximately 93 billion gallons each year) before it is returned to the environment.
Wastewater from Cleveland Heights and University Heights is transported to the Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant, on Lakeshore Boulevard near East 140th Street. This facility treats more than 90 million gallons of wastewater each day before returning it to Lake Erie.
Like 85 percent of all Sewer District customers, residents of University Heights receive quarterly bills from the Cleveland Division of Water. Cleveland Heights, on the other hand, is a "master meter" community, and residents receive bills directly from the City.
The Sewer District has historically billed customers based on the amount of water used each quarter. The current rate is $52.55 per MCF for suburban residents (1 MCF = thousand cubic feet or 7,480 gallons).
In the past, the Sewer District charged customers a minimum charge of 1 MCF, regardless of how much water was actually used. This minimum charge was the Sewer District’s top customer complaint, so it has been eliminated and replaced with a quarterly base charge of $5.85 for 2012.
With the elimination of the minimum charge, many customers—particularly those with low water usage—will see a decrease in their average bill in 2012.
Listed below are several cost-saving programs available to Sewer District customers.
Homestead Rate Program: A reduced rate is available to the elderly or disabled. Customers who may qualify are those 65 and older, or anyone under 65 who is totally disabled. Household income must not exceed $30,500, and applicants must own the property in which they live.
Summer Sprinkling Program: Customers typically use more water in the summer. So from May 1 through September 30, sewer charges are based on average winter water usage or actual summer water usage, whichever is lower. Customers who may qualify are owners who occupy a one-, two-, three- or four-family home.
Wastewater Affordability Program: This program is designed to assist homeowners—regardless of age—who have a limited income (currently 200% of the federal poverty level). These customers will receive a reduced rate, approximately a 40 percent discount on their consumption charge. Customers who may qualify are owners who occupy a one-, two-, three- or four-family home.
Crisis Assistance Program: This program will assist those customers encountering an unexpected crisis, such as a job loss or high medical expenses. The Sewer District will prevent shut-off of water and sewer services, offer a payment plan and pay up to $300 toward past sewer charges. Customers who may qualify are owners who occupy a one-, two-, three- or four-family home.
To learn more about the Homestead Rate or Summer Sprinkling programs, contact: Cleveland Heights Division of Water at 216-291-5995, email@example.com; or University Heights Sewer District’s Customer Service Department at 216-881-8247 or www.neorsd.org/save.
For information about the Crisis Assistance and Wastewater Affordability programs, contact the Cleveland Housing Network at 888-901-1222.
Jennifer Elting is a public information specialist with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD).