For New Customers

Welcome to OWASA! 

We look forward to serving you!  

Below is information that we hope will be helpful to you as a new customer.

What is OWASA?

OWASA is a public, non-profit, governmental agency that provides water, sewer and reclaimed water services to the Carrboro-Chapel Hill community. Please click here for a map of our service area.

The community owns OWASA in the same way that the community owns local schools, roads and parks. Our fees are set to cover the costs of our services. We do not receive property, sales, income or other taxes.

Where our water comes from

The Carrboro-Chapel Hill community's primary water source is the Cane Creek Reservoir, which can hold 3 billion gallons. The Cane Creek Reservoir is on the north side of NC 54 about 8 miles west of Carrboro. We aso receive water from University Lake (pictured at the top of this webpage), which is on the west side of Carrboro and can hold 450 million gallons; and when needed from the Stone Quarry Reservoir about 3 miles west of Carrboro, which can hold 200 million gallons. We have a State-approved allocation of Jordan Lake water which we can use in a severe drought or operational emergency.

The Cane Creek Reservoir

We are committed to excellent water quality and excellent service.

In 2011, OWASA became the ninth utility in the U.S. and the first in North Carolina to receive the Excellence in Drinking Water Treatment Award from the national Partnership for Safe Water.

Each year, we test our drinking water more than 40,000 times to ensure its quality and compliance with Federal and State drinking standards. We publish our test results in an annual report to our customers.

We also work with local governments and State agencies to protect the quality of water in our local water supply watersheds.

Renewing, replacing and improving our water and sewer facilities to maintain the reliability and quality of our services is a top priority. We use about half of our revenue for these “infrastructure” costs.

About our monthly bill

Our bill usually has four types of charges:

  • A fixed monthly water service charge
  • A charge for the volume of water used
  • A fixed monthly sewer service charge
  • A charge for the volume of sewer use

At individually metered residences, the charge for the volume of water use rises as more water is used, and sewer charges are limited to 15,000 gallons per month. Please click here for more information about our residential bills with "increasing block" water conservation rates.

“Seasonal” rates for businesses, offices, apartment complexes and other commercial customers are higher during months of peak demand (May-September) than in non-peak demand periods (October-April). For more information about our bills with seasonal water conservation rates, please click here.

We read our water meters each month and we bill in 1,000 gallon increments. For billing purposes, we round meter readings down to the nearest 1,000 gallons. The gallons used but not billed in one month are billed the next month.

For a typical individually-metered residence receiving 4,000 gallons of water and sewer service per month, our monthly bill is $70.66. For additional examples of monthly residential bills, please click here.

What to do if your billed water use is higher than expected.

A leak is the usual reason for an unexpected increase in water use.

  • You can check the water flow indicator on the OWASA meter serving your home/business. Please click here for more information on how to read a meter.
  • Good places to check for leaks are in toilets, faucets and spigots (indoors and outside), showerheads, washers, pipes, hoses, irrigation systems, water heaters and the private service pipe that carries water from our meter to your home or business. If you find and fix a leak, please contact Customer Service at 919-537-4343 or CustomerService to ask about getting an account credit based on the amount of water that leaked and whether it returned to our sewer system. (Account credits after  leak repairs are subject to some limits and conditions.)
  • To arrange a time when an OWASA employee can visit your home or business to do a basic leak check at no charge, please contact Customer Service  at 919-537-4343 or CustomerService.

We occasionally make mistakes in reading our meters. If you believe we made an error, please contact Customer Service at 919-537-4343 or CustomerServiceAlso, you can find information on how to check for meter-reading errors by clicking here.

Access your account - Pay your monthly billView account history

 

Bill payment options

  • Automatic monthly draft from your bank account
  • On line with a credit or debit card (we accept VISA, MasterCard and Discover)
  • By mail
  • In person at our offices at 400 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro (across from Barnes Street; east of the intersection of Davie and Jones Ferry Roads). Please click here for a map showing the location of our offices.

Paperless bills

Please give us a call (919-537-4343), send an e-mail to customerinquiries@owasa.org  or click here to sign up for paperless OWASA bills.

What are the best ways to save money on monthly bills?

  • Periodically check for leaks in toilets, faucets, spigots, showerheads, pipes, hoses and water-using appliances. Toilet flappers which leak or are stuck in the open position are common causes of water waste and high bills.
  • Pay close attention to your water bills. If you notice an unexplained increase in water use, you may have a leak.
  • Learn how to read your water meter so you can monitor your use and check for leaks. (Please click here for more information.)
  • If you fix a leak, please contact us. In certain cases, we may be able to adjust your account for some of the charges caused by the leak. Please click here for more information.
  • Replace toilets installed before 1994. They use 2 to 3 times as much water as new models. A new high efficiency toilet may pay for itself in a few years.
  • If you cannot replace an old toilet, put a bottle of water in the tank to reduce the amount of water used in flushing. Be careful to avoid affecting the normal operation of the flapper and fill valve.
  • Consider flushing toilets less often.
  • Take short showers (5 minutes or less) and replace old showerheads with new, more efficient ones that use as little as 1.5 gallons per minute.
  • Use clothes- and dishwashers only when they are full. Consider installing a washer that is Energy Star-rated to save water, energy, and money.
  • For landscaping, consider planting drought-resistant, non-invasive trees, shrubs, and groundcovers or a drought-tolerant warm season grass such as Bermuda.

Our Care to Share program – helping local families in need

Through our Care to Share Customer Assistance Program, customers can get financial assistance when they are temporarily unable to pay an OWASA bill due to financial hardship.

The program is funded with donations by OWASA customers. You can choose the amount to give with your bill payments. We are prohibited from using normal revenues to provide financial assistance.

Emergency notices by phone, text and/or e-mail through Orange County's OC Alerts system

Year-round conservation requirements for use of OWASA drinking water

In normal conditions, spray irrigation is limited to three days a week, and a total of one inch per week. Spray irrigation is allowed between 6 P.M. and 10 A.M. People at even-numbered addresses  may water on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. People at odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. There is no limit on hand watering or drip irrigation. For more information, please click here.

If you use OWASA water in an aquarium or pond

The disinfectants in our water (chlorine or a compound of chlorine and ammonia called "chloramines") are toxic to fish and amphibians. Pet supply stores offer chemicals to neutralize the chloramines or chlorine in our water.

Proper disposal of grease helps protect the environment

Fat, oil and grease should not go down the drain because they accumulate, harden and block the flow of wastewater. When this happens, wastewater will back up in a home or business, or overflow from a manhole in our sewer system. Fat, oil and grease can also causes blockages and back-ups in private plumbing drains.

Residents should dispose of normal amounts of fat and grease with refuse taken to a landfill. Please recycle used cooking oil at Orange County's Household Hazardous Waste facility at 1514 Eubanks Road on the north side of Chapel Hill.

Restaurants should have grease traps that are cleaned regularly by a company that recycles waste grease.

Plans for new meter reading system

We are planning a new meter-reading system called Agua Vista which will enable on-line monitoring of water use and faster detection of apparent water leaks. For more information, please click here or contact us at 919-537-4343 or info@owasa.org.

Who owns which pipes?

OWASA owns and maintains the public water and sewer systems including meters and pipes in street right-of-way and OWASA easements. Customers are responsible for plumbing systems in houses and other buildings, plus:

  • the private service pipe which carries water from OWASA’s meter to the building and the nut or other fitting that connects the service pipe to OWASA's meter, and
  • the private service pipe which carries wastewater from a building to an OWASA sewer. In some cases, OWASA may repair the part of a sewer service line in a street right-of-way.

OWASA does not evaluate or endorse private companies or services such as “insurance” plans that provide repairs in return for monthly fees.

Lake recreation

We offer boating and other recreation at University Lake and the Cane Creek Reservoir from late March to early November. Please contact us at 919-968-4421 or info@owasa.org or click here for information on recreation days, hours and fees.

Information for apartment residents who receive water service from OWASA but receive water bills from a private company

For more information

Please contact us at 919-968-4421 or info@owasa.org or visit other areas of our website. In case of a water or sewer emergency such as a leak in an OWASA pipe, the need to shut off service during repair of your plumbing system,  an overflow from a sewer or a  back-up, please call us at 919-968-4421 at any time of day.