Frequently Asked Questions

How do you determine how much water I have used and how much to charge me?

Your water bill is based on the amount of water that passes through your meter since the last billing period. Residential sewer bills are not based upon water consumption – sewer charges are a flat fee. Commercial sewer bills are based upon water consumption.

I water my garden and lawn in the summer and wash my car. How will this affect my water bill?

If you water outside during the summer and wash your car, be prepared for a higher than normal water bill. You will be charged for all water that passes through the domestic water service meter. Your residential sewer bill will not be affected by increased water usage. Residential sewer bills are a flat fee and are not based upon water usage.

What if my bill is high, but I haven’t watered outside or washed my car?

A bill that is higher than expected, but not due to outside watering or car washing, may indicate leaking toilets or pipes. A leaking toilet can lose as many as three to five gallons of water each minute, often silently. The three most common toilet leaks are: flapper, siphon tube, and overflow leaks. It is easy to test your toilets for leaks. Place some colored liquid such as dark food coloring into the top of your toilet tank, wait at least 20 minutes, and then check the toilet bowl. If the color has seeped into the toilet bowl, you have a toilet leak.

If you strongly suspect that you have a water leak, we encourage you to contact a plumber. A delay in investigating the reasons for increased consumption can result in a future high bill.

Why is the water discolored?

DISCOLORED WATER is water containing an accumulation of iron and manganese sediment from cast iron pipes and/or from a buildup of chemical deposits within the pipes. Water flowing at a steady, even pace in one direction will not disturb these deposits. If the water suddenly flows very fast or reverses direction, the sediment and deposits are stirred up, resulting in discoloration.

Discolored water can be used for showering, flushing toilets, cleaning floors, etc. However, you should NOT wash clothes in your washing machine using discolored water, as clothing may become stained. If clothing does get stained, immediately wash the clothes again using clean water and a rust remover product, available in most supermarkets. It is best if the clothes do not dry prior to rewashing using a rust remover product.


  • A broken water main may allow water to rush out of the pipe, temporarily increasing the flow and disturbing the sediment.
  • Valves closed to isolate a broken water main or to make repairs may disturb the flow in nearby water mains causing a temporary increase or reversal of flow that may disturb the sediment.
  • Fully opening a fire hydrant for fire fighting purposes or to flush the water system can cause a sudden increase in flow, which may temporarily cause discoloration.
  • New water mains added to the system might cause a change in established flow patterns and cause temporary discoloration.


Cloudy water is caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to gas bubbles in carbonated soft drinks. After a while, the bubbles rise to the top and escape. This type of cloudiness occurs more often in the winter because colder water holds more dissolved air.

How do I get my water analyzed?

You may contact a private laboratory for an individual analysis of your water.  CTWA does not recommend specific laboratories. CTWA does not do individual water analyses, except to isolate and/or identify a system problem or as required by regulatory agencies for permit compliance. CTWA water is routinely tested at specific sites within the distribution system as required by permits issued by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Can I turn the water off at my house? How?

You can turn the water off inside your home/building at the main valve. If you have an inside meter, the main valve is located near the meter. If you have an outside meter, the main valve is usually located near the water meter or where the service enters your home/building. You may wish to consider turning the water off if you will be away for an extended period. You will continue to receive a water bill even if you turn the water off at your house.


To operate the main valve, turn clockwise to the right (until it stops) to close, and counterclockwise to the left (until it stops) to open.

If you need the water turned off from the outside at the curb box, you must contact CTWA.  CTWA will turn water off or on for a fee. CTWA will not initiate or restart water service unless the customer is present to verify proper function of interior plumbing fixtures.

I think there is an underground or service leak. What should I do?

Please contact CTWA. We will investigate to determine the location of the leak (on or off property). The homeowner is responsible for the water service from the house to the property line and all the pipes within the house. If the leak is in the CTWA portion of the service line or on the main, the CTWA will make repairs and restore the affected area.

I have low pressure or high pressure in my home. What should I do?

Pressure is the force of water within the system. Other terms used in conjunction with pressure are static (not changing – pressure before flow) and residual (pressure left in a pipe system when high water flow rates are occurring). Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).

Low Pressure/Flow is generally described as not enough water in the system. The problem may be a restriction within the pipes or a problem with just one plumbing fixture. If the low pressure/flow problem is found throughout the building/home, please call CTWA and we will investigate. Someone will have to be available for us to access the property to check inside the home/business. Understandably, our crews will have to address system wide emergencies and other critical events prior to investigating low pressure concerns. Low-pressure concerns are investigated by the CTWA during normal work hours at no additional cost.

Low Pressure/Flow can be caused by:

  • Pipes that are restricted and do not allow a proper flow of water. The system pressure can be satisfactory regardless of the restricted flow.
  • The main valve or a valve at an individual fixture may be partially closed.
  • A malfunctioning Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) inside the home may cause reduced pressure/flow. The customer, not the CTWA, owns this device.
  • Screens on individual fixtures (filters or aerators) may be clogged. (Screens can be easily removed, rinsed and replaced.)

High Pressure is generally described as a stronger than normal flow of water from the spigots. If the pressure at your property is too high, resulting problems may include banging pipes, a tripped hot water relief valve or washers that wear out quickly.

A malfunctioning Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) can cause both high and low pressure problems. PRV’s in the house are the homeowner’s responsibility. You may wish to contact a plumber to replace a PRV or make other plumbing improvements. CTWA will not replace the PRV or make other plumbing repairs.

I see water surfacing outside on the street or shoulder of the road.

Contact CTWA at 724-774-7960 during office hours or contact the Center Township Police at 724-774-0271 after normal business hours. We will send someone to investigate. Please give the person answering the phone any additional information regarding the location and nearest cross street to assist in locating the leak.

What is a water service line and for what portion am I responsible?

The contractor installing the water main generally installs the water service from the water main to the property line. CTWA is responsible for maintaining the individual water service from the main to the property line. Service lines are generally 3/4″ or 1” for private homes and up to 12″ for large commercial and institutional customers.

The service line from the property line to the house and all water pipes within the house/building are the responsibility of the homeowner. This portion of the service line must be installed per the requirements of the CTWA. Inspection is required prior to trench backfill.

Is Fluoride added to CTWA water?

CTWA does not add fluoride to the water.