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  1. In my water bill (in U.S.), there are two charges, one for water consumption and the other for sewer consumption. I was wondering what the difference between water and sewer is?
  2. This month, our water and sewer have the same amount of consumption. I was wondering if their consumptions are supposed to be the same generally?
  3. Is the water from bathroom sink or bathtub supposed to be drinkable? If further after being boiled, is the water from bathroom sink or bathtub safe for drinking?
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted
  1. Water is the amount of water coming into your house. Sewer is (usually) the portion of it that you use inside the house and that goes out through your drains, toilets, etc. See #2 below. Sewer charges may also include a portion for storm water if your downspouts feed into a municipal sewer system.

  2. During the summer, it's expected that some of the water will be used for watering your yard, so your sewer usage will be less than your water usage. During winter, the two should be very similar.

  3. In general, water in bathroom fixtures should be safe to drink, boiled or not; there's only one water main coming to your house, after all. You may have additional filters on the water lines going to the kitchen faucets, which would make that water taste better (by removing chlorine, say).

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Are there any jurisdictions that actually bill less during the summer? Most sewer bills are based on water consumption, since the sewer lines themselves are not metered. I can't imagine any municipalities actually asking for less money because they assume everyone is watering their lawn by a certain amount.. –  gregmac Mar 28 '11 at 4:55
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however, don't assume that EVERY spigot outside the house provides potable water. i live in florida, and i have 1 spigot (painted red) that provides reclaimed water for lawn watering, car washing, and other non-drinking tasks. –  longneck Mar 28 '11 at 13:38
    
@gregmac-I used to work at a utility and there was no adjustment during the summer for water that doesn't enter the sewer collection system. Customers could pay for an irrigation meter to be installed and that amount would be deducted from the sewer amount. A similar meter is put on rain water cisterns because that water enters the sewer collection system but doesn't doesn't originate from the water dist. system. I'm not sure who paid for those meters...customer or utility (there was only 2 and they belonged to schools). –  Jay Apr 24 '11 at 17:07
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My county has the option to have a deduct meter installed on your irrigation system, so the amount of water used for irrigation is not charged on the sewage.

They used to automatically deduct a portion of the sewage for water used during the summer that exceeds the average of the three winter months. They have discontinued that program.

So to answer question 2, it is possible in some locations to have a different amount of consumption depending on the rules of the water and sewage municipality.

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I believe you mean "so the amount of water used for irrigation is not charged on the sewage". This is the only reason I've seen for the separate bill myself, but I could also imagine pools and other outdoor watering cases. –  BMitch Mar 30 '11 at 17:13
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