Utility Bill Explainer
Billing and payment of your utility bill is managed by the Madison Water Utility. Please contact the Madison Water Utility Customer Service Center for questions regarding general payment, water usage, or starting/stopping service.
Water rates are set by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. A breakdown of the current water rates are available from the City of Madison Water Utility. The water portion of the bill is broken into two components: the water base charge and water consumption.
The water base charge is based off of the size of the water meter. The water consumption charges are based on the volume of water consumed. These fees cover the costs of providing the water including daily maintenance of the delivery system, the electricity needed to transport and clean the water, and the cost of providing and reading meters and other volume measuring devices.
The sewer portion of the bill is broken into two components: the sewer base charge and sewer based on water use in accordance with MGO 35.02(8).
The sewer base charge is based off of the size of the water meter. Half of this set monthly fee covers the repair, cleaning, and removal of blockages in over 790 miles of sewer main. The other half of this fee is paid directly to the Water Utility to cover the Sewer Utility’s half of the costs of providing and reading meters and other volume measuring devices.
The sewer based on water use portion is directly related to the volume of water consumed. In residential and most commercial scenarios, this cost equates to approximately 4/10th of a penny per gallon of water used. The City of Madison is a customer of the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and this fee directly corresponds to the cost MMSD charges the City to treat the wastewater at the sewage treatment plant.
Some industrial customers have practices that produce wastewater with higher levels of Carbonaceous Biological Oxygen Demand (CBOD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN), and Total Phosphorus (TP). This higher strength wastewater costs more to treat at the wastewater treatment plant. These facilities have samples taken from their waste stream and the higher treatment cost is directly applied to the measured levels of these component for their volume consumed.
Food Establishments (Restaurant Class)
Food establishments have practices that produce wastewater with higher levels of Carbonaceous Biological Oxygen Demand (CBOD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN), and Total Phosphorus (TP). This higher strength wastewater costs more to treat at the wastewater treatment plant. Restaurants also have grease traps, which if not regularly maintained, can create blockage or overflows in the sanitary sewer system.
This fee is charged only on the volume component of the bill and is directly correlated to the amount of water used.
This fee is used to support the ongoing monitoring, operation, and maintenance of the five closed landfills within the City of Madison limits. In accordance with MGO 35.025, these rates are reviewed on an annual basis and subject to approval by the Board of Public Works and the Common Council.
All parcels in the City of Madison are charged a stormwater fee. These payments support the Stormwater Utility and its assets. The fee is comprised of a flat fee per parcel, along with a variable fee based on the size of the lot and the amount of impervious (roof, pavement) area vs pervious (grass, garden) area.
All parcels in the City of Madison are charged an urban forestry special charge. The money generated by this special charge covers urban forestry costs to the City to maintain, protect and grow the City’s urban forest while maintaining existing levels of service associated with the City's urban forestry program. The services provided by the City's urban forestry program ensure a healthy, vibrant and sustainable urban forest, which benefits all residents and properties in the City.
*This is an example of an actual billing to a Madison resident. Personal information has been extracted.
Your monthly Madison Municipal Services Bill
Residential rates (for single-family homes): View all current rates.
Not a residential customer? View water rates for all six customer classes and other charges, fees and operating rules for Madison Water Utility.
Water rates are set by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. Sewer, stormwater, landfill and urban forestry fees are approved by the Madison Common Council.