The Ankeny City Council recently updated the ordinance for how the city charges for sewer. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, sewer use charges default to actual billing for residential customers. Actual billing allows customers to pay for sewer use charges based on actual water used. This provides a fairer system for customers that have little to no non-sewer usage, or customers with fluctuating water usage (i.e. vacant properties, snow birds, etc.). An additional change to the ordinance allows residential customers to add a second meter for non-sewer use, at their expense, and be on actual billing for domestic use.
What you should know about the new ordinance:
- All existing residential accounts, without a known irrigation/backflow system, default to actual usage for sewer charges. Accounts will no longer be averaged for sewer usage.
- We encourage customers to use actual billing. If you find that actual does not work for your personal situation, you can choose to change your billing option by making a request online no later than Dec. 31, 2020. To help make this decision, you can review your usage history through the billing website.
- Customers with a known irrigation/backflow system remain on sewer averaging. If you prefer to be billed for actual usage, you will need to request the change online no later than Dec. 31, 2020. You are allowed to add a second meter to your home and use actual billing for domestic use. If you plan to add a second meter, you or your plumber will need to notify us when the plumbing is ready for the meter and we will schedule an appointment for the meter installation. You will be billed for the meter once it is installed and then billing will be switched to actual. Once a second meter is added at a residence average sewer billing is no longer an option.
- All new residential homes permitted after Jan. 1, 2020, are required to be plumbed to have the option of a second meter, which deducts non-sewer use, and residents will default and remain on actual sewer. If this line will be used to water or establish turf or landscaping, we highly recommend the secondary meter be installed. Customers moving into these new homes will not have the option of sewer averaging.
Ankeny City Council unanimously approved the final reading of the updated ordinance on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. View the updated ordinance here.
How do I decide?
- We encourage customers to remain on the default billing the City places them on unless they see that it does not work for their personal situation. They can then choose to change their billing option and their account can be adjusted for that.
- Review your billing history through the website.
Do I have to install a second meter to get a break on sewer?No, you may remain on sewer averaging if you so choose. However, installing a second meter could benefit you in the long run, depending upon your usage during the averaging period and how your usage is during non-watering months.
How do other cities in Iowa charge for sewer?
- Ankeny was one of only a few cities in the state not billing based on actual usage.
I am a snowbird and have no usage during the months that an average is determined. How is my average figured?
- If you have no usage during our averaging months of January, February and March, your average will be determined by your previous year’s history or by the number of people in the household.
I am having a new home built; what are my options?
- You will default to actual use billing; sewer averaging is not an option because the homes plumbing must have a place for a second water meter to be installed that would deduct non-sewer use.
- If you plan to have outside water usage you have the option to install a second meter at your own expense and remain on actual billing. If this line will be used to water or establish turf or plantings, the City of Ankeny highly recommends that the secondary meter be installed. Your builder should be aware of this and if turf or plantings will be watered they should opt to install the second meter with the price of the home.
I have an irrigation system but want to be charged sewer for only what I use each month when not using my system.
- You may install a separate meter for outside water usage. Property owners would be responsible for the expense of plumbing work and the cost of the second meter.
I live in an apartment and have no outside water use. What do I need to do?
- Nothing! You will default to actual use billing since you do not have outside water use.
My association provides the irrigation for my area. Do I need to do anything?
- No, you will default to actual use billing.
What if I do not have an irrigation system but I do water using hoses/sprinklers?
- You may install a separate meter for the outside watering
- You may remain on sewer averaging by either contacting customer service or filling out the online form stating your preference.
What if I have a septic system?If you are using a septic system you will not be charged for any sewer usage as you would not have any.
What if I have an irrigation system and I begin to get billed actual sewer?
- Please contact customer service at 515-963-3565. We likely are not aware of your system and your account is not coded correctly, this can be easily fixed.
What if I’m a commercial utility customer?
- No change, commercial accounts are already on actual use billing.
What is a “known” irrigation/backflow system?
- An irrigation system is an integrated sprinkler system used to supply water to your lawn and home landscaping. A backflow prevention device is required for irrigation systems. Learn more.
- If you have your backflow tested each spring by a certified technician as required by State Law and City Code they report the results, making us aware of the system so it is “known”. If this is the case, you will remain on average sewer based on your usage from your January, February and March bills.
What is the cost for a second meter?The cost of the second meter is $328. There is no charge for the city to install the second meter; we will just need an appointment to install the meter after the plumbing is ready. There will not be any additional monthly flat fee (availability charge) on the second meter.
When can I expect to see this change reflected on my bill?Customers will see the change reflected after April 1. Although the change was effective beginning Jan. 1, the months of January, February and March have always been based on actual water charges to calculate the sewer charges, what we call the sewer averaging period.