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  1. Water & Sewer Rate FAQs
When did the new rate take effect?
The new rates took effect on January 1, 2016, which will be reflected in the April billing cycle.

Which rates are affected?
For all customers, the base rate and the volume rate have been adjusted beginning in 2016.   Beginning July 1, 2017, there will be a new asset renewal charge.

How much is my water bill going up?
The average residential bill will increase by $38, which is based on 12,000 gallons of consumption per quarter.  The actual increase may be higher if your water consumption is greater.  Please call Water & Sewer Accounting at
(410) 638-3311 or 
Email for information concerning your average household consumption.

How much is my commercial water bill going up?
Please contact Water & Sewer Accounting at (410) 638-3311 or Email for more information.

Why are new rates necessary?
The new rates will return the system to financial stability by providing the resources necessary to maintain the service levels our customers expect while continuing to comply with the environmental regulations mandated by the state and federal governments.  By law, the County water & sewer system is an enterprise fund; meaning it is fully funded by the system users and not supported by any other funding, including County or local taxes.  The fund needs to break even. However, for the past decade, the user rates have not covered costs.  The fund balance, which was being used to maintained operations, would have been fully depleted by the end of 2016.

How were the new rates determined?
An independent consultant, Black and Veatch, who are experts in water & sewer systems, developed the new rates, which were approved by the County Council in October 2015.  The rates eliminate the system’s deficit, create a minimum level of reserves, and provide funding for critical infrastructure in a manner that is fair and equitable to the nearly 50,000 customer accounts.  Even after the adjustment, the County's rates will still be among the lowest in the region.  For more information

How do the Harford County rates compare to other water & sewer utilities in the area?
The rates are among the lowest. Below is a comparison of water & sewer rates after the increase.

Water Rate Comparison

When was the last time water rates were increased?
Since 1995, water and sewer rates in Harford County were automatically adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This index has not been a good indicator of utility costs, which are heavily influenced by costs for electrical power, chemicals, more stringent regulations and costs associated with replacing and rehabilitating infrastructure. In fact, in one year the CPI was negative which resulted in a decrease in the water and sewer rates. As a result, the relatively small rate increases over time have resulted in a decrease in the water and sewer fund net value to a critically low point that would, if rates were not adjusted, result in a negative balance.

Where does my money go?
The water & sewer fund is an enterprise fund in the County, meaning that it is meant to operate as a financially independent function within the County government. All of the revenue collected is dedicated for the exclusive use of the utility in order to fund operating expenses such as power, chemicals, workers’ salaries, equipment, vehicles, and supplies and materials.

What is the County doing to keep water rates as low as possible?
Harford County takes a proactive approach to minimizing costs while meeting federal state and local requirements for potable water and sewage service. We monitor water output and consumption to minimize losses from leaks and inaccurate meter, using technologies to monitor and control various facilities throughout the County system to reduce staff and improve efficiency and effectiveness of processes to treat, pump and store water. Furthermore, we purchase chemicals, electrical power, and fuels in bulk and use cooperative purchasing (combining our purchase needs with other agencies to increase our buying power). We also lease space on some of our water towers to cellular phone companies to provide revenue that supports the operations of the utility.

I have a septic system; will the rate increase affect me?
Septic users could be affected if they are on the County water system. Currently, the County has approximately 1,530 customers on the County water system with a private septic system.

I live in the town of … will the rate change affect me?
If you are a direct customer of Harford County, meaning that you get a water and/or sewer bill from Harford County Government, the rate change will affect you. If you receive a water and sewer bill from a private water company, or from one of the publicly owned systems such as the City of Aberdeen, Town of Bel Air, or Havre de Grace, you should not be directly impacted by this rate chang
e.  For more information, please contact your municipality directly.

How can I tell what size meter I have at my home or office?
Almost all single-family residential customers have a 5/8” meter. Residences with fire sprinkler systems typically use a 3/4” meter. You may contact Water & Sewer Accounting at (410) 638-3311 or Email for more information concerning your meter size.

How can I reduce my bill?
The County encourages conservation.  For more information on water conservation.

I cannot pay my bill; who can help?
Please contact United Way @ (410) 547-8000 or visit their website United Way.


William J. Bettin, P.E.
Deputy Director of Water & Sewer
Questions Regarding Billing & Accounts
Water & Sewer Accounting Office
Phone: (410) 638 - 3311

220 South Main Street
Bel Air, Maryland 21014

For all other Concerns
Office of Governmental & Community Relations
Phone: (410) 638 - 3420
220 South Main Street
Bel Air, Maryland 21014