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Frequently Asked Questions

Click on question to learn the answer.

How are sewer charges calculated?

What are the criteria for determining a dwelling unit?

What is a multiple-unit property?

What constitutes a food preparation area or kitchen?

How can I reduce or stop sewer charges?

I received a bill for an unusually long period (more than 60 days).  Am I expected to pay the entire amount of the bill by the PAYMENT MUST REACH US BY date?

Where or how do I make payment? 

How can I make arrangements for payment?

Whom do I call to start or terminate water/sewer service?

Whom do I call when I have trouble with my sewer system?

Whom do I call when I have trouble with my water service?

Whom do I contact if I need to have my cesspool pumped?

How do I find out the location of my sewer connection? How do I verify if I am connected to the city sewer system?

I am having my swimming pool worked on, and the water will be drained and then refilled. Can I get an adjustment on my sewer charges for that work?

I am putting in a new lawn. How do I request an adjustment for it?

Only my wife and I live at home. We have a large yard with a small vegetable garden. A large portion of the water we use does not go down the sewer. Does the City have a program that will help to reduce my sewer bill?

For any other inquiries, please call our Customer Service Section at (808) 768-3300.

How are sewer charges calculated?

Residential properties are billed in two parts:  a sewer base charge and a sewer usage charge. Commercial or non-residential properties are billed at water consumption multiplied by a rate per thousand gallons.  See a detailed explanation of sewer charges at our Sewer Service Charges Information web page .

Base charge represents the fixed cost associated with operating and maintaining the municipal sewer system. 

Volume charge represents the variable cost of transporting and treating the wastewater. Volume charge is based on water consumption.  Water consumption is reduced by a twenty percent (20%) irrigation factor. 

Irrigation Factor - The City has determined that about 20% of the water used by a household goes to watering yards or plants, washing cars and other water use that does not go into the sewer. 

The total sewer service charge reflects the cost to collect and treat an average return of 80% (of the water used) back to the sewer system in the form of wastewater flow.  These charges are computed to make them as fair as possible with a "pay-for-what-you-use" philosophy.

If you have any questions or need further information, please write us at envsewerinfo@honolulu.gov, Department of Environmental Services, Office of Administrative Support, 1000 Uluohia Street, Suite 308, Kapolei, Hawaii 96707, or call 768-3330.

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What are the criteria for determining a dwelling unit?

A dwelling unit has its own entrance or access.  It has its own kitchen or food preparation area.  It has its own sleeping area separate from another unit.  And, it may have its own mailbox or separate address at the same structure.  It should be able to stand alone and not depend on any other part of the structure to reside at this location.

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What is a multiple-unit property?

In general, a multiple-unit property is best defined as a single structure having three (3) or more dwelling units.

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What constitutes a food preparation area or kitchen?

A "food preparation area" means an area containing fixtures, appliances, or devices for:  (1) heating, preparing or cooking food; (2) refrigerating food; and (3) washing utensils used for dining and food preparation and/or for washing and preparing food.  The permanent removal of both elements 1 and 2 above, or element 3 above, are/is required to eliminate a food preparation area for sewer service charge assessment purpose.

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How can I reduce or stop sewer charges?

There are three (3) ways you can reduce the number of units billed or stop sewer charges.

1. If a unit is vacant, unlivable or under renovation, removing the items mentioned above from the food preparation area is the easiest way.

2. If a unit is being demolished, you or your contractor must contact our office at the time the work is being done so our investigators can verify the demolition has been done and that the sewer line to the property has been capped.  As long as there are no sewerable facilities on your property, your sewer charges will be stopped.  This will suspend sewer charges until you rebuild.

3. If you do not require water service, contact the Board of Water Supply, (808) 748-5030, to stop service.  This will suspend water and sewer charges.

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I received a bill for a period that was unusually long (exceeded more than 60 service days).  Am I expected to pay the entire amount of the bill by the PAYMENT MUST REACH US BY date?

As the BWS & ENV transition to a new Customer Care & Billing System and monthly billing, some water and wastewater customers may have received unusually long bills that are well in excess of 60 days.

We regret that you received a long bill.  Should you need to make payment arrangements, please e-mail contactus@hbws.org or call 748-5030.

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Where or how do I make a payment?

You have the following options to pay your bills:

In Person:

At the BWS office or via the night deposit box at the BWS Public Service Building at 630 South Beretania Street.  The regular business hours are 7:45 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday - Friday except holidays; or

At any Satellite City Hall (click on the link for locations and hours of operation).

By mail:  Please allow sufficient time for your payment to reach BWS by the "PAYMENT MUST REACH US BY" date as indicated on your bill.

Via Automatic Bill Payment:  You may sign up to have your bill automatically paid from your checking or savings account by visiting the BWS website at www.boardofwatersupply.com then click on the "Customer Service" tab, "Your Water Bill" then "Payment Options."

Payment using Online Banking Services.

Payment at First Hawaiian Bank Branches.  You will need to present your payment coupon along with your payment.

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How can I make arrangements for payment?

The billing process is handled through the Board of Water Supply (BWS).  Please e-mail contactus@hbws.org or call 748-5030.

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Whom do I call to start or terminate water/sewer service?

BWS is responsible for the billing and payment process for the City's water and sewer system.  Please contact the the Board of Water Supply Customer Service office at (808) 748-5030.

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Whom do I call when I have trouble with my sewer system?

For problems with the sewer system, please call ENV's Collection System Maintenance (CSM) Division at (808) 768-7272.

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Whom do I call when I have trouble with my water service?

For problems with water service, please contact the Board of Water Supply at (808) 748-5010.

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Whom do I contact if I need to have my cesspool pumped?

For Cesspool pumping, please contact one of the private companies listed in the yellow pages or on the cesspool page on this site.  ENV's Collection System Maintenance Division does accommodate cesspool pumping, but it may take much longer than a private company.  To schedule an appointment with ENV's cesspool pumping, call (808) 768-7232.  This service is handled on a per-call basis, and you will be billed for each service you receive.  Presently, the rate for cesspool service is $132.90 per truckload or fraction thereof.

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How do I find out the location of my sewer connection? How do I verify if I am connected to the city sewer system?

The Wastewater Branch of the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) maintains the maps and records of the City's sewer system.  If you are seeking information as to the location of your lateral, location of a sewer easement through your property, verification of your connection to the City sewer system, etc., please contact them at (808) 768-8210.

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I am having my swimming pool worked on, and the water will be drained and then refilled. Can I get an adjustment on my sewer charges for that work?

You will be given a credit based on the volume (in gallons) of your pool.  The adjustment will be credited to your Board of Water Supply account.  To receive this credit, please submit the information requested on our Pool Adjustment web page.

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I am putting in a new lawn. How do I request an adjustment for it?

You may request an adjustment for a new lawn by writing to our department. Please refer to our Lawn Adjustment web page for the mailing address and information required.

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Only my wife and I live at home. We have a large yard with a small vegetable garden. A large portion of the water we use does not go down the sewer. Does the City have a program that will help to reduce my sewer bill?

The City and County gives all residential users an 20% credit for water that does not go down the sewer.  This is reflected in the water usage fee portion of your sewer bill.

Residential customers have the option to install a submeter.  If your discharge into the municipal sewer system is not proportionate to the amount of water used, you may elect to install a private submeter.  Due to irrigation and/or other factors, your sewer discharge may be substantially less than 80% of your total water usage.

All costs to install the submeter are the responsibility of the customer.  It is important that you weigh the cost of installation of the submeter against the amount you will save on your sewer bill.  This will give you an idea of how long it will take for you to recoup the investment of the installation of a submeter.

Submeter Program Information

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Last Reviewed: Thursday, November 14, 2013