Sewer Rates & Billing Practices

Online Bill Payment

Online Sewer/Water Bill Payment (opens new browser window)If your MSD sewer service is billed through Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW), you can Pay your Bill Online. (A new browser window will open.)

Please note: If you are billed for sewer service by an agency other than GCWW, online bill payment is not available at this time.

MSD Account Review

If you are an MSD and GCWW customer and think your sewer bill is abnormally high, please visit our MSD Account Review page.

What's New in 2018?

  • For the third year in a row, there will be no increase in sewer rates for MSD customers.

  • Starting in January 2018, all MSD customers billed by Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) will be billed monthly instead of quarterly for sewer service. NOTE: You will receive a "catch-up" bill in January to close out your quarterly billing cycle. You will receive your first true monthly bill in February. Your monthly bill should be about 1/3 of your quarterly bill, unless your water usage has increased.

  • Starting in January 2018, the minimum base charge for sewer service will include the first 3 Ccf (300 cubic feet) of water used each month and will be based only on the size of the property's water meter.

  • The changes to billing and the minimum base charge were recommended by the Hamilton County Rate Affordability Task Force, which was created to help improve affordability and equity for MSD customers.

    The Hamilton County Commissioners approved the changes and 0% rate increase for 2018 on November 15, 2017.

    Additional changes could occur in 2018, as the Hamilton County Commissioners are still evaluating additional recommendations from the Task Force, ranging from assistance for lower-income residents to assessing a new fee for impervious surfaces such as parking lots. View the Task Force's report...

    Why is My Sewer Bill So High?

    MSD is under a federal mandate (Consent Decree) from the U.S. EPA to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSO)s into local streams and rivers, eliminate sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), and assist customers who have experienced sewer backups caused by a lack of capacity in the public sewer system.

    There is no federal funding for this ~$3.1 billion program, which is known as Project Groundwork. As a result, it is funded primarily by MSD customers through their sewer bills. Sewer rates have been increasing over the years to cover the costs of this mandated effort. To learn more, visit our Project Groundwork website.

    Your sewer bill also covers the costs of running MSD on a daily basis. To learn more visit our Budget page.

    What is My Sewer Bill Based On?

    Sewer bills are based on the amount of water used by a property. Your sewer bill is typically included as a separate line item on the water bill sent by your water provider.

    How is My Sewer Bill Calculated?

    Your sewer bill consists of two separate charges:

    • Minimum base charge
    • Commodity charge
    NOTE: Industrial customers may be charged additional fees to cover costs associated with their discharges (see Industrial Customer section below).

    Minimum Base Charge

    The minimum base charge is a service fee applied to all residential, commercial, and industrial customers based on the size of their water meter OR the size of the premises as determined by the number of units, whichever results in the larger minimum charge.

    For customers who receive monthly bills, the minimum base charge includes the first 5 Ccf2(500 cubic feet) of water used each month, based on 30 days of service. If there are greater or less than 30 days of service, the amount is prorated.

    For customers who receive quarterly bills, the minimum charge includes the first 9 Ccf (900 cubic feet) of water used each quarter, based on 91 days of service. If there are greater or less than 91 days of service, the amount is prorated.

    NOTE: The minimum charge for a quarterly bill is not three times the minimum charge for a monthly bill because of the difference in the allowance for water usage (5 Ccf for monthly bills vs. 9 Ccf for quarterly bills). Every bill received by a customer (whether it's received monthly or quarterly) includes an additional administrative billing cost. The administrative billing cost covers MSD’s share of the cost of processing the bill and also includes an additional fee related to sewer pipe maintenance to reduce infiltration and inflow of stormwater.

    See the minimum base charge chart below.

    NOTE: The information below is valid for MSD customers through December 31, 2017. It will be updated to reflect MSD's new rate structure on January 1, 2018.

    Minimum Base Charges for Residential, Commercial and Industrial Customers3
    Meter Size (Inches)
    Number of Family Units
    Monthly Bills ($)
    Quarterly Bills ($)
    1 1/2
    Over 250



    Commodity Charge Rates

    The commodity charge is applied to all residential, commercial and industrial customers who use more than 5 Ccf (500 cubic feet) of water each month or more than 9 Ccf (900 cubic feet) of water every quarter.

    The commodity charge for residential customers is based on their average usage of water during the "winter period."1

    Commercial and industrial customers do not have a winter period. They are billed on their usage of water during the actual billing period.

    The commodity charge is calculated by multiplying the cubic feet of water used (beyond the monthly or quarterly amount included in the minimum base charge) by the established sewer rate.

    See the commodity charge charts below.
    Commodity Charges for Residential, Commercial and Industrial Customers who are billed on a monthly basis3
    First 5 Ccf
    Included in the minimum base charge
    Greater than 5 Ccf, up to 50 Ccf
    $5.879 per Ccf
    Over 50 Ccf
    $4.701 per Ccf

    Commodity Charges for Residential, Commercial and Industrial Customers who are billed on a quarterly basis3
    First 9 Ccf
    Included in the minimum base charge
    Greater than 9, up to 150 Ccf
    $5.879 per Ccf
    Over 150 Ccf
    $4.701 per Ccf

    Industrial Customer Rates and Charges

    Industrial customers may be charged additional fees to cover costs associated with their discharges, including:

    • Surcharge rates
    • Industrial pretreatment charges
    Surcharge Rates

    For customers having high strength waste discharge, the Surcharge is computed on the following basis:

    Surcharge Rates
    Suspended Solids (SS)
    $0.002756 per Ccf for each mg/l of SS strength above 300 mg/l
    Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
    $0.004707 per Ccf for each mg/l of BOD strength above 240 mg/l
    Nitrogenous Oxygen Demand (NOD)
    $0.004122 per Ccf for each mg/l of Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) strength above 25 mg/l

    Provided, however, that to the extent the strength of a pollutant is less than eighty percent (80%) of the corresponding value for normal strength sewage, a credit shall be allowed as an offset against surcharge otherwise due. The credit shall be calculated by multiplying the herein above specified surcharge rate for the pollutant in question times the difference between actual pollutant concentration in mg/l and eighty percent (80%) of the corresponding value for normal sewage. No credit shall be allowed in excess of surcharge otherwise due.

    Industrial Pretreatment Charges

    All users required to apply for and obtain a wastewater discharge permit or which are subject to federal pretreatment standards, as specified in the MSD Rules and Regulations, shall be subject to the payment of a pretreatment charge(s), as determined by the Director. Said pretreatment charge(s) shall be sufficient to recover, in whole or in part, the costs for the MSD Pretreatment Program including investigations, record keeping, administration, and monitoring of industrial waste charges to the system. Each industrial user shall pay a pretreament charge(s) as follows:

    Industrial Pretreatment Charges
    Annual Fee

    $2,889 per annum

    Monitoring Charge
    $17,912 maximum per monitoring event

    Notes & Definitions

    1Winter Period for Residential Customers (Single and Two-Family Homes)

    Many residential customers (single and two-family homes) use greater amounts of water during the warm, summer months (e.g., watering lawns, gradening), much of which never enters the sewer system. Since sewer bills are based on water usage, MSD uses a customer’s water consumption over the winter months as the maximum water usage for the rest of the year. If the customer uses less than the maximum set during the winter period, the account is charged for the lower usage figure. If a customer uses more water during a billing period than the maximum set during the winter period, the account is only charged for the maximum set during the winter period.

    A new winter period maximum water consumption rate is established each year during the winter period. New accounts without a history of winter period consumption are billed at a maximum default of 25 ccf for single-family homes and 35 ccf for two-family homes. The winter period rate for customers with quarterly bills is based on the billing quarter that ends in February, March or April. The winter period rate for customers with monthly bills is based on the average usage from the January, February and March statements.

    Note: Commercial customers are not subject to a "winter period."
    Commercial customers are charged based on the water used during a billing period that is subject to a sewerage charge. MSD will consider application, fully supported, for adjustment due to non-sewered water use. All well water and water reaching the system from other sources will be considered in the base charge. First billings after January 9 will be billed proportionately at the previous year's rates and the new year's rates.


    1 Ccf = 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons

    3OM&R Portion

    Public Law 95-217 requires notice of the "OM&R Portion" being operation, maintenance and replacement costs that are included in the "Total Rate". By definition, such replacements are those necessary to extend the life of facilities and not the total replacements of the entire system. (For detailed information on OM&R costs, please view the current Rate Schedule Flyer under Downloads; requires free Adobe Reader. A link to the Adobe Reader download may be found at the right side of this page.)


    Contact Us

    Report a Sewer Backup:
    (513) 352-4900 24/7 or online

    Customer Call Center:
    (513) 352-4900 24/7

    Project Customer Service:
    (513) 557-3594

    Development Services:
    (513) 244-1330

    Media Inquiries:
    (513) 557-7095


    MSD Mailing Address:
    1600 Gest St.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45204

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