Waterworks Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What are some general facts about water?

    • An average person can go nearly two months without eating. Less than a week without water could kill you.
    • 80 percent of the world is covered by water or ice. Only about 20 percent is dry land. 
    • 97 percent of the water on earth is salty ocean, and 2 percent is frozen. The remaining 1 percent is available to meet human needs. 
    • If you are an adult, your body contains about 40 quarts, or 10 gallons of water. A man's body is 60 to 65 percent water. A woman's body is 50 to 60 percent water. The human brain is about 75 percent water. 
    • A human loses 2.5 to 3 quarts of water per day through normal elimination, sweating and breathing. If you exercise or live in a humid climate, you may lose another quart. 
    • Water has zero calories and zero sugar, but a good drink of water can reduce hunger. Water also helps your body metabolize stored fats, helps maintain proper muscle tone and helps rid the body of waste.
    • Typically, less than 1 percent of the treated drinking water produced by utilities is actually consumed by people. Most goes for lawns, showers and tubs, toilets, etc. 
    • Each person uses about 100 gallons of water a day at home.
  • What are some tips for conserving water, saving energy and lowering my water bill?

    Check for Leaks
    • A small hole only 1/8-inch in diameter can leak almost 100,000 gallons of water in a month.
    • Any leak, regardless of how small, should be repaired promptly. 
    • Check faucets for leaks. Just a slow drip can waste 15 to 20 gallons per day. 
    • Check toilets for leaks. Put a bit of food coloring in each toilet tank. Without flushing, watch for a few minutes to see if the color shows up in the bowl. It's not uncommon to lose up to 100 gallons a day from one of these otherwise invisible toilet leaks. Leak detection kits are also available at the waterworks office for pickup.
    • Investigate any running or standing water outside your residence. 
    • Monitor water consumption by reading the water meter.
    Conserve Water
    • Minimize use of hot water to save on electricity or natural gas.
    • Avoid using a toilet as a wastebasket or ashtray. Toilets use the most water inside with an average of 27 gallons per person per day. 
    • Water should not be allowed to run continuously while brushing teeth, shaving, washing dishes or washing a car. 
    • Use a broom to clean driveways and sidewalks rather than hosing to clean them. 
    • Take a shallow tub bath or short term shower. Five minutes for showering and about five inches in the tub is plenty. Showers use an average of 25 to 50 gallons per person per day. 
    • Use water conservation features on dishwashers and washing machines and use only when there is a full load. 
    • Install water saving devices such as flush savers, faucet aerators and low flow shower heads. 
    • Water your lawn and garden early or late, not in midday heat. Avoid windy days. See that water goes where it should, not on sidewalks or driveways. Lawn sprinkling uses the most water outdoors. A single lawn sprinkler spraying five gallons per minute uses 50 percent more water in one hour than a combination of ten toilet flushes, two five-minute showers, two dishwasher loads and a full load of clothes.
    • Know where the master shutoff valve is located in your home. If your water pipes burst, you could experience flooding and property damage, not to mention immense water waste. 
    • If you have a swimming pool, get a cover for it. Evaporation can make hundreds, even thousands of gallons of water disappear. A pool cover cuts the loss by 90 percent. 
    • Reducing water consumption reduces the sewer bill.
    Water Saving Tips For Kids
    • Fill your glasses halfway when you get a drink of water. That way you won't throw away water you don't drink.
    • Collect rainwater in a bucket. You can use the water to play with instead of getting water from the hose.
    • Turn down the hot water. If you want the hot water to become cooler, try turning the hot water down instead of turning the cold water up. 
    • Use a cup when you drink from a fountain. Fill up a cup instead of leaning down and trying to gulp down all that water at once. Use the paper cup over and over again, and then recycle. 
    • Wash your bike with a bucket and sponge instead of letting the hose run. Hoses can waste five gallons a minute while a bucket uses only one gallon of water. 
    • Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. You'll save two to three gallons of water per day.
  • What is the safe drinking water fee on my bill?

    Each community water system is responsible for collecting $12.00 per active account for the Department of Health’s Safe Drinking Water Program. This fee is mandated by the State Legislature.

    The Department of Health, Office of Public Health, was first authorized to assess Safe Drinking Water Fees by Act 125 of the First Extraordinary Session of the 2000 Louisiana Legislature and St. Charles Parish Waterworks began billing this fee in July 2000.

    The new Safe Drinking Water (SD) Fee enacted by Act 605 of the 2016 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature became effective January 1, 2017. Act 605 increased the SD Fee to its current amount of $12.00 and changed the billing frequency. Citizens can expect to see this fee assessed on their monthly bills.


  • Why is fluoride added to drinking water in St. Charles Parish?

    State law requires the Louisiana Office of Public Health Department of Health and Hospitals to promulgate rules and regulations relative to the fluoridation of public water systems, including but not limited to, maintaining levels of fluoride in public water systems within the optimal range for the purpose of protecting the oral health of the citizens of this state.

    In addition, in July 1981 the parish council enacted an ordinance requiring all water systems of the parish to be fluoridated. The guidance issued by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is to maintain fluoride concentration in the range of 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million. We set our target at 0.85 ppm and sample every day to confirm.

    Fluoride-containing compounds are used in topical and systemic fluoride therapy for preventing tooth decay. They are used for water fluoridation and in many products associated with oral hygiene. Originally, sodium fluoride was used to fluoridate water; however, hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) and its salt sodium hexafluorosilicate (Na2SiF6) are more commonly used additives, especially in the United States.

    The St. Charles Parish Department of Waterworks utilizes hydrofluosilicic acid for fluoride addition and optimization. The fluoridation of water is known to prevent tooth decay and is considered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as "one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century."

    Find more information on the CDC's community water fluoridation page at www.cdc.gov/fluoridation.
  • How do you read a water meter?

    Each revolution of the red sweep hand indicates 10 gallons. The numbers around the face are gallons, and the marks are one tenth of a gallon. All readings taken by Waterworks are in hundreds of gallons, meaning we read from left to right all but the last two numbers, including the fixed zero. Any consumption shown on the bill are also in hundreds of gallons. To convert to gallons, add two zeros to the end.
  • What should I do regarding my parish utilities if I will be out of town for an extended period?

    The minimum monthly bill for a residential water service with no water usage is $24.79.  We collect the current per-month cost for residential garbage service, as well as $3 as a minimum sewerage charge for the Wastewater Department and $4 for the Waterworks Department. The $4 covers the expense to read the meter, process and mail the bill and collect and process payments for water, sewer and garbage.

    If you will be out of town for extended periods of time, the Contract Monitor's Office, which oversees the garbage contractor for the parish, can issue credits for garbage with proper documentation. They can be reached at (985) 331-8604.
  • I need information about water leaks.

    Waterworks attempts to give prompt repair to all leaks. Sometimes a customer may want a minor leak repaired immediately when other leaks in the distribution system must be given priority. A judgment must be made by  Waterworks on minor leaks after hours concerning the cost of repair and support services required versus the loss of water.

    Customers should have their own shut off valve. Waterworks will charge $30 during office hours (8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.) and $100 after hours and on holidays to turn water off and/or back on.

  • My water has been shut off. Why?

    Possible causes include:

    • Locked off for nonpayment of bill or NSF.
    • Outside shut off valve turned off.

    PLEASE NOTE: Every attempt is made to notify customers of a planned water turn off, but Waterworks is not responsible for unplanned water outages.

  • My water pressure is low. What are the possible causes?

    Possible causes include:

    • Waterworks flushing the distribution system.
    • Broken water line or main.
    • Home water treatment device.
    • Customer piping clogged.
    • Fire Department using water for a fire in the area.
  • My water has a strange taste or odor. What could be the problem?

    • To eliminate chlorine taste and odor, allow water to stand before use.
    • Ice cubes usually contain off taste or odor from the refrigerator or freezer.
    • Home water purifiers often cause off taste or odor.
    • Sink or lavatory drains can expel odors when water flows into them.
    • Garden hoses can back up water with an off taste or odor into a customer's system.
    • Electric hot water heater anodes (dip tubes) can deteriorate and cause off taste or odor.
    • Algae from the water supply can produce off taste or odor during clear river water season.
    • In the case of rusty water, either the Waterworks' or customer's piping is rusty. Flush the system.
    • In the case of milky water, this is dissolved air in water. Allow the water to stand, and it will become clear.
  • I think my water meter must be wrong.

    Meters are very accurate and are designed to under register with wear.
  • Is it against the law to charge $30 NSF fees, $30 connect fees or a $30 reconnect fee?

    No. All fees charged to customers are approved by the Parish Council and are included in parish ordinances, which are law.
  • Why do I have to pay sewer fees for water used on my lawn or for washing cars?

    The sewer rate billed is 80 percent of the actual rate to allow for non-sewer usage.
  • My neighbor's bill is less than mine.

    Here are some reasons your neighbor's bill may be less:

    • Each family has different usage habits.
    • Comment posting may indicate that a leak was detected.
  • My water bill seems too high.

    Here are some reasons why your bill could be higher:

    • Other utilities are on the bill.
    • Consumption periods may vary.
    • Comment posting may indicate that a leak was detected.
  • Waterworks did not read my meter, because I put something on the lid and it's still there.

    All meters are read each and every month. Meter readers are not provided previous readings, so they cannot guess at the readings. Meter readers are instructed to place all items found on top of the meters back in the same place after the meter is read.
  • Waterworks did not read my meter.

    All meters are read unless estimated. Consumption is estimated only if the meter cannot be read after several attempts, or problems are detected with the meter. Meter readers are not provided previous readings, so they cannot guess at the readings.