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FAQs: Financial assistance for your sewer, stormwater, and water bill

Frequently asked questions about our financial assistance program, including information on the bill discount, crisis vouchers, utility safety net program, assistance for renters at multifamily properties, water leak repair assistance, and other ways to lower your bill.

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How does the bill discount work?

The bill discount is a discount on every sewer, stormwater, and water bill you receive. You can qualify for the program if you meet income guidelines and have a single-family residential account. See the online application for income eligibility amounts for households of different sizes.

Households earning up to 60 percent of median family income are eligible for the bill discount program. We base the discount amount on your income. The usual discount is about $180 off a quarterly (90-day) bill and about $100 off a bimonthly (60-day) bill.

Use this link to apply. A Customer Service representative will contact you after you've applied.

Click here to apply online for the bill discount and other financial assistance. 

What is a crisis voucher?

A voucher (credit) may be available for people who are experiencing a temporary crisis. You must be enrolled in the bill discount program to qualify. The voucher will provide a credit of up to $500 depending on your balance. It is not available more than once every 12 months. You must pay some of your bill to receive assistance.

Click here to apply online for a crisis voucher and other financial assistance. 

I'm having a financial emergency. Could the Utility Safety Net program help?

The Utility Safety Net is a program for people with employment, medical, and other personal emergencies that have caused a significant temporary change in household income. This program provides emergency payments. You do not have to be enrolled in the bill discount program to qualify.

We will encourage you to try other payment options before the Safety Net. The Safety Net is a last-resort solution to help people avoid water shutoffs.

With the Safety Net, you may be eligible for:

  • not having your water shut off, or delaying shutoff;
  • a waiver of delinquency charges;
  • interest-free payment plans; and
  • financial assistance.

The Safety Net gives you time and means to manage your way through a temporary crisis. To stay in the program, you must make regular, agreed-upon installment payments toward past-due account balances.

Here's how the Safety Net works:

  1. You contact our Bill Help Line by email or by calling 503-865-4357.
  2. If you qualify, you'll need to sign an agreement.
  3. We'll apply an initial credit to your account. We'll work with you to determine how long your payments will be deferred, and the way your payments will work.
  4. At the end of your agreement period, we'll apply another credit to help make your account current. Your billing cycle then returns to normal. If that doesn't work for you, you can establish a new payment arrangement with us.

If at any point you don't meet the terms of the signed agreement, we may cancel your participation in the Safety Net and any other financial assistance you have on your sewer, stormwater, and water account.

I live in an apartment and don't pay a water bill directly. Is there any way you can help?

Yes. If you pay for sewer, stormwater, and water through your landlord and are at risk of being evicted, we may be able to help.

In partnership with Home Forward, we offer a voucher for up to $500 every 12 months. To qualify, you must meet income requirements: you must be at 60 percent of median family income or below.

To find out if you qualify, call 211.

I have a leak and can't afford to fix it. Can you help?

We do offer financial help for fixing leaks. If you own and live in your home, you may be able to get free repair of a leaky toilet, faucet, or pipe. You must be enrolled in the bill discount program to qualify.

To learn more, contact our leak repair team by email or call 503-823-4527.

Click here to apply online for free water leak repair assistance.

Are there any other ways I can lower my bill?

One way to save money on your bill is to use less water. We offer information and technical resources about how to use water efficiently. Visit our Water Efficiency page, email our water efficiency team, or call 503-823-4527 for help.

We also offer the Clean River Rewards program. If you manage stormwater on your property, you can receive up to a 100 percent discount on your on-site stormwater management charges because your actions help protect rivers, streams, and groundwater from the damaging effects of stormwater runoff. With Clean River Rewards, you can save money and work for clean rivers and healthy watersheds at the same time.