Sewer Rates & Billing Practices

Online Bill Payment

Online Sewer/Water Bill Payment (opens new browser window)If your MSD 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.

Account Review

If you are a GCWW and MSD customer and think your sewer bill is too high because of a leak or other issue where water did not go down the drain or enter the sewer system, please contact GCWW at 591-7700. You may be asked to submit an Account Review Form to see if your bill can be adjusted. Download the MSD Account Review Request form for GCWW customers.

Please note: If you submitted a SEWER ADJUSTMENT request via this website before May 6, 2016, please resubmit your request. Due to technical difficulties, we are unable to retrieve any e-mail requests before that date. THIS APPLIES TO E-MAILED REQUESTS SUBMITTED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE ONLY. We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.

A sewer rate increase for 2017 will not occur. A sewer rate increase also did not occur in 2016.

The Hamilton County Commissioners are currently studying recommendations from the Hamilton County Rate Affordability Task Force. The task force, convened in fall 2015 to study the impact of rising sewer rates on ratepayers in Hamilton County, submitted nine recommendations to the commissioners in May 2016. The recommendations range from monthly sewer bills and assistance for lower-income residents to assessing a new fee for parking lots and other impervious surfaces. View the report...

Sewer rates have previously increased annually to cover the costs of MSD’s federal Consent Decree to reduce sewer overflows, known as Project Groundwork.

Your Sewer Bill

Sewer bills are based on the amount of water used over a monthly or quarterly billing period (known as a commodity charge), plus a service charge (known as a minimum base charge). Residential customers are billed on their usage of water during the winter months – called a "winter period."1 Commercial and industrial customers are billed on their usage of water during the actual billing period. Most MSD customers (residential, commercial and industrial) are billed quarterly (once every three months). Some large water users such as industrial plants and apartment complexes, along with some residential customers in new service areas, are billed monthly.

Sewer charges are typically included on a customer’s water bill sent by their water provider.

Sewer Rates

MSD's sewer rates (see below) have not changed since January 9, 2015.

Sewer rates are the same for all MSD customers. However, industrial customers may be charged additional fees to cover costs associated with their discharges.

Sewer rates for MSD customers consist of a:

  • Minimum base charge
  • Commodity charge

Minimum Base Charge

A minimum base charge is applied to all residential, commercial and industrial customers based on the size of the water meter OR the size of the premises as determined by the number of units, whichever results in the larger minimum charge. See the minimum base charge chart below.

The minimum charge includes an allowance for the first 5 Ccf2 (500 cubic feet) of water for customers who receive a monthly bill (based on 30 days of service; pro-rating is done for less or more than 30 days) and the first 9 Ccf (900 cubic feet) of water for customers who receive a quarterly bill (based on 91 days of service; pro-rating is done for less or more than 91 days).

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 and 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.

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

A commodity charge is applied to all residential, commercial and industrial customers who use more than 5 ccf (500 cubic feet) of water each month (for customers who receive a monthly bill) or who use more than 9ccf (900 cubic feet) of water every three months (for customers who receive a quarterly bill). See the commodity charge charts below.

Commodity Charges for Residential, Commercial and Industrial Customers who are billed on a monthly basis3
Greater than 5, 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
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
$18,987 maximum per monitoring event

Notes & Definitions

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

MSD has determined that many residential customers (single and two-family homes) use greater amounts of water during the warm, summer months, 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. New accounts without a winter period consumption are billed at a maximum default of 25 Ccf for single-family homes and 35 Ccf for two-family homes.

A new winter period maximum water consumption rate is established each year during the winter period. The winter period for new accounts is capped at the maximum default (25 ccfs for single family residences or 35 ccfs for two family residences) until the account bills during the winter period. 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. The District 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.)