Check here for answers to some of the most common questions we receive from customers.
© 2023 City of Cleveland, Division of Water
What are your business hours?
Both our Customer Care Center (1201 Lakeside Ave.) and Call Center (216-664-3130) operate from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Payments can be made 24 hours a day by calling 216-446-6834 or at my.clevelandwater.com. If you see a water main break or experience a sudden and unexpected disruption in service, you can call our 24-Hour Emergency Line at 216-664-3060.
How can I identify a Cleveland Water employee who comes to my home?
If there is work being done near your home, an employee may knock on your door to notify you of the work and any disruptions to service. Otherwise, employees will only come to your home if an appointment has been scheduled (investigations, meter installations, etc.). All employees are issued Cleveland Water identification badges which must be worn and visible at all times while they are on duty. For your safety, always ask to see this identification before allowing the person into your home. Should someone posing as an employee refuse to show identification, do not let them in. Contact your local police or confirm their purpose and identity by calling 216-664-3060.
I sold my home/bought a new one. What do I need to do about my water service and bill?
Contact Customer Service at 216-664-3130 after the title has been transferred and the deed has been recorded. Service for the previous address will be stopped and a final bill issued as of the date of transfer. A new account will be created for the purchase property and service started with a regular billing cycle.
I just moved to a new property. Am I responsible for the previous owner's balance?
No. A new property owner's responsibility begins on the day the title is transferred.
If I need to make repairs, whom should I call to have my water turned off or on?
To have your water shut off at the cityside connection, call our Distribution and Maintenance team at 216-664-3060.
I'm a senior citizen and I want to know if I am eligible for discounted water service.
Our Homestead discount program offers a lower fixed charge and consumption rate. For an average customer, this amounts to a 50% discount. To qualify, customers must meet the following criteria:
- Be 65 years or older, or totally and permanently disabled;
- Own and live at the service address; and
- Have a total household income at or below current income guidelines.
For more information, contact Customer Service at 216-664-3130 or click here.
I'm a renter but I want to pay my own water bill. What should I do?
To set up a Tenant Deposit Account, visit our Customer Service Center at 1201 Lakeside Ave. Bring a copy of your lease agreement and a photo ID. A deposit based on the location of the property is required. Your water and sewer bill will carry the property owner's name but will come to your address.
I lost my water bill. What should I do?
Call Customer Service at 216-664-3130 to request a duplicate bill. Or create a My Cleveland Water account to view all your account information and download an electronic copy of your bill.
I received a water bill even though I was out of town for four months and didn't use any water. Why?
Customers must still pay a monthly fixed charge, even if no water is used at a property, as long as water service is available. This monthly fixed charge is based on the size of the water meter at your home or business. View the full schedule of fixed charges here. The only way to avoid the fixed charge is if the service connection is plugged. You can find a schedule of rates for plugging and other Permits & Sales charges here. For more information, call Customer Service at 216-664-3130.
Who should I call to correct a misspelled name or incorrect address on my water bill?
Call Customer Service at 216-664-3130 to correct a misspelled name or an incorrect address on your water bill.
Several water bills have piled up on me. What should I do to take care of them?
If you’ve fallen behind on your bill, contact our Customer Service Call Center at 216-664-3130 to set up a manageable payment schedule and see if you're eligible for a discount bill program.
Can I pay my water and sewer bills with one check?
No, they should be paid on separate checks accompanied by respective payment stubs sent to two separate remittances as mentioned on the bill.
Home Care Questions
How can I schedule an inspection to make sure my plumbing repairs are up to code?
Call Permits and Sales at 216-664-2444 ext. 75200 to schedule a plumbing inspection after repairs have been made.
Last winter my water pipes froze and burst. How can I keep that from happening?
There are simple actions you can take to minimize the risk of water pipes freezing during winter:
- Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses.
- Keep areas with exposed pipes warm.
- Wrap water pipes in unheated areas with foam pipe insulation or heat tape.
- Tightly close or seal doors and windows near exposed pipes.
- During the worst of a cold spell, allow a small flow of water to run from a faucet.
- Leave your cabinet doors open to allow the heat of your house to circulate around plumbing under sinks.
- If you'll be away from home for several days, leave your thermostat at 55 degrees or higher.
I’m putting in a new dishwasher and the directions say I need to know the hardness of the water in grains/gallon. What is it?
The hardness of our water is 7 grains/gallon or 120 mg/L as calcium carbonate.
Water Quality Questions
My water looks cloudy. Who should I call for help?
Milky or cloudy is usually the result of tiny air bubbles in the water and occurs more often during cold weather. Cold water holds more oxygen than warm water. When cold water enters your home from the pipe outside and warms up, the extra oxygen escapes in the form of tiny bubbles when you turn on the tap. If you fill a glass with water, and the cloudiness disappears from bottom to top in a few minutes, it is air bubbles. If it doesn't, call our Water Quality Line at 216-664-2639 during regular business hours or our 24-hour Emergency Line at 216-664-3060 after hours.
What should I do if my water is discolored?
If you experience a water quality issue, such as an unpleasant taste or odor or discoloration, call our Water Quality Line at 216-664-2639 during normal business hours or 216-664-3060 during non-business hours. Be prepared to provide as much information as possible, including time and date the problem started, location, and your best description of the problem. If
Discolored water is common whenever the water velocity or flow direction changes, like during hydrant flushing or repair work on water mains. Iron sediment from older cast iron mains is picked up by the water and shows up as orange or brown discoloration. In these situations, the water is safe to drink. However, use care as the iron sediment can stain laundry and plumbing fixtures. Once any work or flushing is complete, run your cold water faucet until the water is clear again.
Do I need to filter the water coming into my house?
No. We take great pride in consistently delivering safe, high-quality water to our customers. However, if you choose to install a filter, please keep in mind that it must be properly maintained in order to be effective. If a filter is not properly maintained, it can actually cause your water quality to become worse. It should also be independently certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association (WQA).
Is lead a problem in Cleveland drinking water?
No. The water produced by Cleveland Water meets and exceeds the very strict government standards for drinking water safety and quality. Since 1997, when we began adding orthophosphate and controlling pH to help reduce potential exposure to lead from water, our Lead Compliance Monitoring results have been well below the U.S. EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). In our most recent Lead Compliance Monitoring test results, all results were below 3.3 ppb, with 90% below 1.8 ppb.
Any problems with lead in drinking water stem primarily from lead service lines that connect homes to water mains, copper pipes with lead solder, and brass fittings and fixtures. We take the risks associated with lead pipes very seriously and take multiple actions to make sure your drinking water is the highest quality. For additional information, call our Lead Inquiry Line 216-664-2882, or click here for more information.
Should I be concerned about chlorine and fluoride in my water?
No. You should be concerned if chlorine and fluoride are not in your water. These two chemicals have made a powerful contribution to public health. Chlorine kills bacteria and fluoride contributes to dental health. The use of chlorine has virtually eliminated the outbreak of such deadly diseases as typhoid fever in the United States, while the use of fluoride has reduced the incidence of dental cavities among children age 5-17 by 50%. Virtually every public and private health agency, including the U.S. Public Health Service and World Health Organization, endorses the use of fluoride in water. Additionally, fluoridation by public water systems in Ohio is required by state law.
I would like to have my water tested by an independent laboratory. How can I find a laboratory to do that?
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency maintains a list of laboratories certified to test drinking water on their website at http://epa.ohio.gov/ddagw/labcert.aspx.
Where does the lead in water come from?
Lead does not come from our treatment plants or water mains. Instead, if there is lead in drinking water, it comes from various places between the water main and your faucet, including lead service connections, copper plumbing with high lead solder, and brass fittings and fixtures within your home.
Is there lead in the Cleveland Water system?
Cleveland Water is lead-free when it leaves our water treatment plants and travels through our water mains. However, like many older water systems across the country, the Cleveland Water system does contain some lead cityside connections. In general, if your home was built after 1953 or your connection is larger than one inch in diameter, it is unlikely that you have a lead city-owned service line.
What is Cleveland Water doing to prevent lead in water?
The health and safety of our customers is our top priority. You can rest assured knowing the water we deliver to your home is safe from lead and other contaminants. We take multiple actions to make sure your drinking water is the highest quality.
- Our state-of-the-art treatment process utilizes orthophosphate, an anti-corrosive that creates a protective coating inside pipes and fixtures to prevent lead from dissolving into the water.
- We keep water's pH above 7 to help control corrosion. Water that has a pH below 7 is more acidic and therefore more likely to corrode metal.
- We regularly test the water in customers’ homes to make sure our efforts to reduce lead are effective. The levels of lead detected in our drinking water have been below the federal requirement of 15 parts per billion (ppb) since 1997 and were 1.8 ppb in our most recent testing.
- We replace lead city-owned service lines during water main replacements and repair projects.
What are ways I can prevent lead from getting into my water?
- Conduct a simple scratch test to determine if your home has a lead service connection for which you are responsible. You can find guidance on conducting this test at http://www.clevelandwater.com/lead-treatment.
- Before using water for drinking or cooking, turn on the cold tap and let it run for several minutes, particularly if the water has been off and sitting in the pipes in your home for more than six hours.
- Avoid drinking or cooking with water from the hot water tap. Always use cold water for cooking, drinking and making baby formula.
- Periodically clean the aerator on faucets you use for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, or other potable uses.
- If you are still concerned, you may wish to purchase a point-of-use treatment device certified to remove lead and make sure that it is properly maintained.
- If you wish to have your water tested, contact a laboratory certified by the Ohio EPA.
What is a boil advisory?
A boil advisory is a public notice advising customers to boil tap water before consuming it. Cleveland Water is required by the Ohio EPA to issue a boil advisory under certain circumstances.
Meter Reading Questions
How do I read my meter?
All customers within the Cleveland Water service area have their water use measured by a water meter. Meters measure water in thousand cubic feet or MCF. One MCF unit equals 1,000 cubic feet or approximately 7,480 gallons. Both water and sewer consumption charges are based on the number of MCF units used during a billing period. The average residential household uses about 0.5 MCF, or 3,740 gallons, of water per month. Your usage is displayed on the face of your meter by the numbered dials.
Your water meter is connected to a small electronic device called an endpoint located on the outside of your home that transmits meter readings on an hourly basis. You can view your meter readings online by creating a Cleveland Water Portal account.
Who should I call about a water main break?
If you see a water main break or experience a sudden and unexpected disruption in service, call our 24-Hour Emergency Line at 216-664-3060.
I'm writing a term paper on Cleveland's water system. Where can I get detailed information?
Contact our Public Education and Outreach office at 216-664-3173.