Frequently Asked Questions
Q. My bill seems higher. Do I have a leak?
A. We recommend reviewing your last 15 months history of your water bills. If your bills have increased tremendously, it may be due to a leak. To check for a leak, turn off all faucets in the home or anything that may use water. Once this step is taken, walk out to your meter and check to see if you meter's leak indicator is moving (see How to read your meter). If all faucets are in the off position, nothing should be placing a demand on your meter and the leak indicator should not be moving whatsoever. If it is moving, there is a leak on your property.
Q. If my water is disconnected due to nonpayment, do I have to come into the office to have it restored?
A. We do accept payments by telephone using your Mastercard, Discover, Visa, American Express or by check to restore services. Please be advised there is a Western Union convenience fee when using these methods of payment.
Q. When will my payment post to my account? Why can't I pay online or through the automated service?
A. Your payment may take up to 48 hours to post to your account if you use any of our automated services, smartbill or payment centers. If your account is pending a disconnection and you are close to the date of disconnection or the disconnection date has passed, you must contact a customer service representative by phone or in person. (during normal business hours) This is to insure payment is immediately posted to your account to avoid possible interruption of service. Customers using their personal bank’s bill pay service should verify the process of how and when payments are remitted. Payments are not always remitted electronically and may take several days to be received and posted to the customer’s water/sewer/garbage account; receiving a confirmation number does not confirm an immediate payment to the water company.
Q. What do I need to do to use my Smartbill .pdf on an iOS device?
A. Smartbill is designed to function in Adobe Acrobat Reader. You must download a current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. Once that has been accomplished, you must set the default .pdf reader to Adobe Acrobat Reader on the iOS device. Failing to set the default .pdf reader will result in the iOS device opening the .pdf with a reader that cannot perform the functionality of the .pdf attachment.
Q. Why am I having problems paying from my Smartbill in Google Chrome?
A. If you are opening and trying to pay your Smartbill in the Google Chrome browser, new modifications to that browser will require you to change some settings on your pc in order to pay your bill via Smartbill. Please follow these instructions:
1. open chrome browser
2. go to chrome://plugins/ (type in the browser address bar)
3. look for the plug-in called "Chrome PDF Viewer"
4. Click on the disable link
5. Verify that you have the latest version of Adobe downloaded and restart your pc.
Q. How do I change / update my Smartbill email address?
A. If you are enrolled in the Smartbill program and you would like to change or update the email address where you want to receive your ebill, you can update it HERE. Please note that the new email address will require 48 hours to be updated in our system. Please be aware that you will need your full account number in order to update / change the email address on record. The Smartbill will not be delivered to the new address until the confirmation email has been received at the new address and the verification link has been submitted back to us.
Q. Where are you located?
A. We are located at 8755 Goodwood Blvd, near Tara Blvd. and next door to St. Luke's Episcopal Church / School.
Q. If I paid to have service restored today, what time can I expect my water to be reconnected?
A. We do restore water service the same day the payment is received in our office. Our servicemen reconnect service until approximately 8pm. If there are a large number of orders, it may be after that time.
Q. How do I test my commode for a leak?
A. We recommend placing 8-10 drops of red food coloring in the tank of the commode and wait for 2-3 hours, not flushing during this time period. If the red dye appears in the bowl, you have a commode leak.
Q. Is my meter read every month?
A. Yes. The water company sends a meter reader to your meter each month. If you feel the meter reading is not accurate, you may consider walking out to your meter and reading it to see if the reading is a higher number than what the reader meter has reported. See "Understanding Your Bill" for the location of your most recent meter reading.
Q. Why would my water smell like rotten eggs?
A. The naturally occurring raw water in the Baton Rouge area has a sulphur smell. Before the water leaves our pumping stations, it is chlorinated which removes the smell. If you have been away on vacation or your water has not been used for several days you may notice that this smell has returned to your water. This is because the chlorine dissipates in the water over time. Water heaters in the home commonly cause this to happen more rapidly because the heated water dissipates the chlorine at a faster rate than in the cold water. If you notice the smell try to determine if it is in your hot or cold water. To do this: take a clean glass, take a sample of the cold water, and step away from the sink, (sometime the sink will create smells from the drain). If you notice the smell let your cold water run for 2-3 minutes to bring fresh water in to your home. If this does not take care of the problem then call customer service.
Q. Why would my water have a brown tint?
A. The water in our area has a small amount of a naturally occurring mineral called manganese. Over a period of time it settles out in the distribution system. Unexpected events that occur around the metro area that require large amounts of water from our system such as fires, construction and main line breaks can create a rapid movement of water. This can cause the sediment in the water main to stir up. After this happens, you may notice that your water has a darker than normal tint. To resolve this problem run your cold water for 2-3 minutes. If you notice this problem in your toilets or hot water heaters remember that they have tanks that need to be cleared after your incoming cold water runs clear. If this doesn’t clear the problem then please call us so we can address the issue as quickly as possible. Please do not hesitate to notify us of these types of problems. We rely on you to tell us when there is a problem.
Q. I have been gone all month and have not used any water, why do I still owe a water bill?
A. Every active water account is charged a minimum monthly water bill based on the size of the water meter regardless of usage. Please see the Schedule of Rates & Tariffs tab for the current monthly minimum rate for your water company.
Q. Why can't I view my water bill online?
A: Because any website can be compromised, Baton Rouge Water company has chosen not to allow access to its customer data via the internet. This provides a very high level of confidence in the security of your personal account information. We do offer Smartbill which provides an electronic copy of your monthly statement via secure password protected email for customers who wish to store and maintain electronic copies of monthly bills.
Q: Why does it take the Water Company so long to repair broken lines?
A: The bottom line is by rushing to make a repair, we can do more harm than good. We realize having low water pressure is inconvenient, but our digging into a fiber optic cable is a huge risk and only increases people’s frustrations. Worse than adding to inconvenience, our digging into a buried gas or electric line presents an immediate danger to our workers and to people nearby. For these reasons, we work to isolate water line breaks to effect the fewest number of customers possible. We then contact other utility providers, as we must under State law found here, and ask them to come to the scene and mark their facilities so we don’t damage them. So, if you see us standing around while water runs down the street, please know we are as anxious as you are to get the issue resolved.
Q: Why is water so expensive?
A: Firstly, your bill may include not only charges for water, but also charges for sewer and solid waste. The single best way to control what you pay for service is to conserve water. The less you use, the less you pay. Having said that, a great deal of work goes into producing, treating and transporting water to your home or business, and collecting, treating and discharging wastes. Wells must be drilled. Treatment facilities must be built, operated and maintained. Pumps, pipes and elevated tanks must be installed and operated. Water quality must be managed and people have to do all of this work. On the waste side, your sewer provider has to take out everything people put in their waste stream before the treated water can be returned to a river. The two greatest costs of providing water service are labor and the electricity used to pump and deliver water to your home.
Q: What is the Water Company doing to protect our Aquifers?
A: The company has for many years been promoting conservation and working to educate users of water about its value. Our employees helped found the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation District and have served on it ever since its inception. We have served on numerous water supply task forces formed by several governors. We work daily to engineer solutions to saltwater intrusion and have invested millions of dollars in our aquifers. Further, the company is slowly but surely moving our centroid of production away from the Baton Rouge Fault to reduce saltwater intrusion. In addition, the company does not provide water for industrial process. Each of the facilities long the river sources its own supply of water.
Q: What can I do to save water and help protect our aquifers?
A: It sounds simple, but the best thing you can do to protect our aquifers is to conserve water. Fix leaks as soon as you find them, turn off the water while you brush your teeth, and irrigate your lawn and gardens correctly. The best time to water your lawn is before 10:00 am. Popular Mechanics tips for lawn watering are excellent and can be found here.
Water Usage Tips
Bottled water costs 2900 times more than tap water.