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Sanitary Unit Charge


The sanitary unit charge is a user fee billed to all properties located in the Consolidated Sanitary District (CSD) that have a connection to the County’s sanitary sewer system (Map of Service Area). The fee supports the costs associated with the operation and maintenance of the County’s six wastewater treatment facilities. It also provides funding for necessary capital improvements.


The unit charge fee is calculated based upon a schedule adopted by the County Legislature in 1978, and most recently updated in 2022. The unit charge rate is developed annually through the County budget process and billed with the property taxes each year. Every property is billed in terms of “units”.

What’s a unit?

A unit represents the amount of water discharged from the property to the sewer system on an annual basis. Currently, one unit is equal to 110,000 gallons.


Single family households are charged one unit per year. Multiple-family dwellings (such as apartments) are charged 0.75 units per dwelling. Therefore, a two-family house receives a total charge of 1.5 units.


Businesses, which typically discharge more water than households, receive a unit charge based on the amount of water that they use; with a minimum of 1 unit.

Unit charge rates
Rate Per Unit
2023 $448.58
2022 $464.68




How is my sewer bill calculated if I have a residence, an apartment or a business?

  • Residential properties are billed a flat rate of 1 unit; apartments are billed ¾ of a unit for each apartment. Commercial and industrial properties are billed according to water usage, with a minimum of 1 unit. Water usage records are obtained from local water providers – OCWA, the City of Syracuse, Town of Dewitt, Town of Clay and Village of Baldwinsville.
  • A structure that contains both commercial and residential space is deemed “mixed use”. Mixed use properties typically have a commercial business on the ground floor and apartments on the floor(s) above. Apartments in these buildings are billed at ¾ of a unit for each apartment and 1 unit for the commercial space. In cases where the water usage for the commercial space exceeds the calculation of 1 unit plus .75 units per apartment, then the property is billed based upon the actual water use.

What if my apartments are vacant?

  • Fixed charges are assessed to all properties within the CSD to recover capital and operational costs associated with providing wastewater conveyance (sewers and pump stations) and treatment (wastewater treatment plants). Because sewer service cannot be turned off and is always available, all properties in the sanitary district are charged a minimum fee.

I no longer have apartments in my building. What can I do?

  • Contact your local assessor to ensure that your property is correctly classified. Your local assessor is an officer or employee of the town of city where your property is located.

I am on septic. Will I still be charged?

  • County sewer charges are only assessed to users of the sanitary system with a sewer connection. Properties that utilize a private septic system are not billed. If, for any reason, a private septic system fails and sewer service is available and accessible, then hookup will be mandatory in accordance with public health codes.

If I use less water, will my bill be less?

  • Residential charges are a flat rate; single family houses are billed 1 unit; multi-family dwellings are billed ¾ of a unit per family. Residential charges are not billed based upon water usage.
  • Commercial and industrial properties are billed a flat rate of 1 unit, and, in addition, are billed proportionately for any water usage over 115,000 gallons annually.

How can I lower my water usage?


  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the fridge so you don't have to run the tap to get it cold.
  • Likewise, heat up water for washing dishes in the microwave or on the stove.
  • Fix leaks. Leaks from pipes, plumbing fixtures and fittings are a significant source of water waste for many households.  Research has shown that the typical home can lose 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per year due to leaks. Some leaks are obvious, such as dripping faucets and leaking water heaters. Unfortunately, many leaks go undetected for years because the source of the leak is not visible.
  • Use your dishwasher. A fully loaded dishwasher uses less water than handwashing the same amount of dishes.
  • Insulate water pipes.  If you must leave your water running to avoid a frozen water pipe you are wasting a lot of precious water.
  • How do I check for toilet leaks? Lift the tank top on the back of the toilet. Place a few drops of food coloring into the water in the tank. Wait approximately ¾ of an hour. If the coloring shows up in the bowl of the toilet, your toilet is emptying and refilling itself. Your flapper may need to be replaced.


Envelope Image For more information, please call, 315-435-2260.



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