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Info for New Water and Sewer Customers

Welcome to the Columbia Falls Water/Sewer Utility Department.  In order to serve you better, we would like to provide you with important Water/Sewer Utility Information:

Landlord Agreement Form:

BUSINESS HOURS: Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, City Hall, 130 6th St West. The Utility Billing Clerk is available by calling:  (406)892-4392 or email: guntherl@cityofcolumbiafalls.com.

BILLING: Billing is completed and mailed between the 23rd to the 25th of each month. Payment is due on the 15th of the following month. All customers need to provide proper USPS mailing addresses for billing and utility correspondence.

DEPOSITS:  The City of Columbia Falls does not require a Water/Sewer Deposit from property owners. If you are renting, the property owner, your landlord, may require that you provide the City with a $250 deposit on your account. If required, the City will collect the deposit from you and hold it in your name until your move out. This deposit cannot be applied to your monthly bill. You must keep your monthly bill current.

FINAL BILLING:  If you are moving or selling your property, please notify the Utility Department at least 48 hours in advance so that a final meter read may be taken and the appropriate party billed for the usage. If you are a renter and your landlord required that you provide a $250 deposit, your final bill will be subtracted from the deposit and any balance remaining will be refunded to you.

HIGH USAGE:  Each month after meter readings, the City generates “high usage” letters to each customer that has experienced a very high reading or significantly higher than the last month’s reading. Sometimes, there is no cause for alarm such as having company and using more water. Other times, there may be a water leak or a leaky toilet resulting in higher than expected water usage.  If you have a burst pipe or broken water heater, for example, that results in high water usage, please contact the Utility right away so they can verify that the water did not go into the Sewer System. You may be eligible for a credit on the sewer portion of your bill.

METER READINGS: Meters are read around the 18th of each month. Meters are also read upon notification of a new owner or tenant, as necessary. Please provide the City with at least 48 hours’ notice so that a meter read can be scheduled.  Please do not remove or tamper with the Sensus Touchpad or Box that enables the automatic reading of your meter. Please notify the Water/Sewer Utility Department if you are remodeling or doing any work that may impair the meter reading device.

METER REPLACEMENT:  The City upgrades meters as necessary to ensure accurate readings. Meters are also replaced when they are non-functioning or broken. The Utility will contact you should they need to replace your meter.

PAST DUE BILLS:  All past due bills are due on the 8th of each month. To ensure timely and proper payment, the City sends a past due bill, in addition to the regular billing, if the account is past due by $25 or more.  The past due bill is due by the 8th of each month. You may make payment arrangements by contacting the Utility Department at (406)892-4392. If payment is not made or scheduled, you will receive a “Hang Notice,” on your door, reminding you that payment is due and you will be charged the hang notice fee, currently $5.00.  The Hang Notice gives you notice to make a payment or payment arrangement or have your water service shut off for non-payment on the date and time specified in the Notice. If you have not paid or made payment arrangements after the Notice period, your water service will be shut off and you will be charged a $25.00 shut off fee. You must pay the past due amount as well as the $25.00 shut off fee before your water service can be turned on again. Please avoid the hang notice and shut off fees by contacting the Utility to make payment arrangements before shut off occurs.

PAYMENTS:  A secure drive-up drop box is located adjacent to the rear (south) parking lot of the City Hall building, across the driveway from the Postal Service boxes. There is also a drop box inside City Hall available when the cashier window is open.

You may pay by check, cash or money order at our front desk. The City also offers an ACH system that will debit your bank account for the amount of your bill each month. You can set up auto-bill paying by picking up a form at the office or you can go on the City web site, https://cityofcolumbiafalls.org  and select the Electronic Utility Billing box at the top of the Home page. 

NEW: The City now accepts credit card payments from the convenience of your home or phone.  Click on the link on the front page of our website to make a payment.  (Payments will not be credited to your account until money is received from the bank – generally 1-2 business days.)

PENALTY: Late payment penalties are applied after the 15th of each month; $2.00 penalty or 1% of the unpaid balance, whichever is greater. Please allow adequate time if mailing a payment or processing a check payment through your financial institution. 

SUMMER WATERING:   The City of Columbia Falls allows for summer watering by establishing an average of your winter month’s water usage, December, January and February, for residential customers. This average usage is established as the base sewer usage reading for the months of May through October, so you are not charged sewer usage for watering your lawn or other greenspace. Similar provisions are available for commercial customers by contacting the Utility Department.

BACKFLOW PREVENTION REQUIREMENT:  Since 2000, the City of Columbia Falls has required backflow prevention devices to prevent contamination of the City’s water supply system. If your home or business has an irrigation system, hot water heating system or other cross-connection, you must have a testable backflow prevention device installed and tested annually.  Please contact the Public Works Director, Tyler Bradshaw, at City Hall, (406)892-4430 or by email: bradshawt@cityofcolumbiafalls.com, should you have any questions on backflow prevention.

UTILITY RATES:  Your water/sewer bill is based on the meter readings and base fees. Sewer is billed at $5/1,000 gallons and Water is billed according to customer type: single-family, multi-family, commercial, government or industry.  The rates begin at $1/1,000 gallons up to $1.77/1,000 gallons. The base fees for sewer are $8.85/month for residential and applied to commercial, government and industrial users based on an annual equivalent usage. The base fees for water are based on meter size, beginning at $10.50/month for ¾” meter.