HOA Outreach




The following articles may be utilized in your HOA newsletters or mailers. You may copy the content below and source that the information was provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation as follows:

“This information is provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District, for additional information on this subject please call 303-979-2333 or visit www.swmetrowater.org.”

All photos/graphics have been purchased from Shutterstock or taken/created by district staff.

If you think your HOA or community may be interested in a short presentation about who we are and who to contact in certain situations from our District, please contact us at 303-979-2333 or info@swmetrowater.org.

  • HOA Presentation About Your Water and Sewer District


    District staff has recently given presentations at HOA meetings in your area. These presentations are helpful to communities and residents by providing information on who the district is, what services we provide, and who to contact in certain situations.

    For instance, an emergency, such as a water main break or sewer back-up should be reported to Southwest Metro Water & Sanitation District, but a question regarding your billing status should be directed to Denver Water or the City of Littleton. This is because Southwest Metro operates and maintains the water and sewer mains your service lines connect to and does not do any billing itself. Billing services are provided by our partner municipalities. If you are having issues with water or sewer service, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist.

    If you think your HOA or community may be interested in a short presentation from Southwest Metro Water & Sanitation District, please contact the District at 303-979-2333 or info@swmetrowater.org.

  • Protect Your Pipes from Freezing Temperatures



    Before cold weather sets in:

    Winterize your irrigation systems. Make sure that you turn everything off and fully drain or blow-out the system. Be sure to disconnect garden hoses from all spigots.

    Identify your home’s freezing points. Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls.

    Locate your main shut-off valve. In case of an emergency, you will need to know where your main shut-off valve is located inside the house, and where your curb stop shut-off valve is located outside. If you have an inside meter set, knowing where your curb stop box is located can save you from incurring water damage if there is a leak on your service line.

    Strengthen your defenses. Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors. Keep the heat set at no lower than 55 degrees when you are away from home.

    Protect your pipes. Insulate exposed and unprotected pipes by wrapping them with insulation or heat tape. Seal any cracks or holes in your walls using foam installation or caulk.

    When temperatures stay below freezing:

    Keep interior doors open. If pipes run though cabinets or vanities, open the doors to let warmer room temperatures flow in.

    Keep garage doors closed. If you have water supply lines located in your garage be sure to keep your garage closed as much as possible to limit pipe exposure to freezing temps.

    Allow faucet to drip. Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a very small trickle of water to run. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.

    If your pipes do freeze:

    Shut off water immediately. Do not attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shut-off valve.

    Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it with a hair dryer or space heater.

    Be careful turning water back on. Once the pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks that might have been caused by freezing.

     

    This information is provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District, for additional information on this subject please call 303-979-2333 or visit www.swmetrowater.org.

  • Water and Sewer Rates for 2022



    New water rates start January 1st

    In October 2021, the Denver Board of Water Commissioners adopted rate changes to help pay for critical upgrades and projects to keep the water system operating efficiently. Starting January 1, 2022, district customers will see a fixed monthly charge of $17.20 per 3/4-inch meter on their Denver Water bill. While the fixed monthly rate will increase by 74 cents, the price per 1,000 gallons will decrease by 2 cents for all district customers in 2022.

    A water bill is comprised of a volume rate for the amount of water used and also a fixed charge. The fixed monthly charge contributes to Denver Water having a stable source of revenue to continue funding the necessary water system upgrades to ensure reliable service.

    Denver Water’s rate structure includes three tiers based on how much water you use. Indoor water use — for bathing, cooking and flushing toilets — is essential for human life and is charged at the lowest rate. Efficient outdoor water use is charged in the second tier (middle rate), followed by additional outdoor water use in the third tier (highest rate). In addition to variable charges based on water use, the rate structure also includes a monthly fixed charge based on the size of your water meter.

    Beginning January 1, 2022, fixed monthly charges will increase to $17.20 per month for district customers who have a ¾ inch meter. The 2022 volumetric water rates for district customers are shown in the following chart.

    Edit
    Tier Monthly Consumption Rates per 1,000 gallons
    Tier 1 0 to average winter consumption (AWC) $2.72
    Tier 2 AWC + 15,000 $4.89
    Tier 3 Greater than AWC + 15,000 $6.52

    Customers will receive information about the 2022 rates in their Denver Water bills. If you have any questions about this rate increase, please call Denver Water Customer Care at 303-893-2444.

     

    New sewer rates start January 1st

    In October 2021, the Littleton City Council adopted sewer rate increases for all customers connected to the wastewater collection system. The new rates will take effect on January 1, 2022.

    Annual sewer utility fees will increase by 5% for all district customers. Revenues collected within the sewer utility are used to pay for operational and capital needs to manage sewer infrastructure including repairs and maintenance projects. This revenue also supports operational and capital needs of the South Platte Renew (SPR) treatment plant.

    The cities of Littleton and Englewood jointly own the SPR treatment plant located in Englewood. The facility serves the cities of Littleton and Englewood as well as 19 connector districts within the 75 square mile service area. This is the third largest publicly owned treatment works in the State of Colorado. Littleton’s Sewer Utility Fund provides for the city’s 50% share of funding for the SPR treatment plant while maintaining the sanitary sewer collection lines within the collection area.

    The 2022 sewer rates for single family residents and multi-family buildings are shown in the following chart.

    Edit
    Single-Family Residential User
    Inside City Limits Inside City Limits within a Sanitation District Outside City Limits
    $296.65 $225.14 $270.15
    Multi-Family Residential Users
    Inside City Limits Inside City Limits within a Sanitation District Outside City Limits
    $252.12 $191.35 $229.61

    If you have any questions about the annual sewer rates, please call the City of Littleton at 303-795-3700.

     

    This information is provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District, for additional information on this subject please call 303-979-2333 or visit www.swmetrowater.org.

  • Protect Your Home from Sewer Backups



    The sewer service (lateral) is owned and maintained by homeowners, including the connection to the district’s main. All maintenance and repairs within the lateral are the homeowner’s responsibility, even the portion of the pipe within the street.

    If a backup occurs within your sewer service lateral, a contractor must be contacted by the owner to restore sewer service. All damages are the homeowner’s responsibility. Many homeowner’s insurance policies contain an exclusion for sewer backup damages. Coverage is often available but must be requested as an addition to the policy. The District advises homeowners to discuss sewer backup coverage with their insurance agent.

    If it is determined to be a backup caused by a mainline blockage, district staff will restore sewer service and work with the owner to clean and restore the affected areas. In the case that you encounter a sewer back up, call the District at 303-979-2333. We can assist in determining if it is a mainline or service line backup.

    The following recommendations can help avoid or mitigate damage from a sewer backup:

    • Do not plant deep rooted trees over or immediately adjacent to sewer service pipes.
    • Do not wash grease, fats or oils from food preparation down the drain. Deposit these materials in the trash.
    • Do not flush any non-flushable items. Follow the Three P’s rule when it comes to what you can safely flush – flush only pee, poop and (toilet) paper.
    • Periodically have your sewer service pipe video inspected by a reputable company and clean the pipe when necessary.
    • Do no place valuable personal property on the floor close to a floor drain. Store personal items at least a few inches off the floor or place inside plastic tubs to protect them in the case of a backup.

    If you do experience a backup:

    • Do not run water down any drains or toilets until the problem is identified and corrected.
    • Check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing anything out of the ordinary. This can help determine the location of the problem.
    • Call the District! We are available to assist with determining the cause of the backup.

    If you have any questions or concerns pertaining to the information in this article, or if you would like the District to review your sewer scope video, call the District office at 303-979-2333.

     

    This information is provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District, for additional information on this subject please call 303-979-2333 or visit www.swmetrowater.org.

  • Contact 811 Before You Dig!

    Before breaking ground, homeowners must contact 811 to have underground utility lines marked on their property. Colorado law states that all who wish to dig must first give utilities up to three business days (not including weekends and holidays) to locate facilities which may be impacted by excavation, such as water and sewer lines, gas lines, electric lines and telephone and cable lines.

    No job is too small to call! Even if you are just planting a small shrub or installing a new mailbox, you need to call 811 before you dig.

    If you have previously had an area located, you still need to have it located again for a new project. Erosion and root growth can alter the depth and location of buried lines. Companies may have altered their lines since the last time you called in a locate, so be sure to call each and every time you dig.

    If you have hired a landscaper or contractor, make sure that 811 has been contacted before they start work.

    Follow these steps before breaking ground:

    • Notify your local one call center by calling 811 or making an online request 2-3 days before work begins.
    • Wait the required amount of time for affected utility operators to respond to your request.
    • Confirm that all affected utility operators have responded to your request and marked underground utilities.
    • Respect the marks.
    • Dig Carefully around the marks.

    Fore more information on how 811 works, click here. If you have any questions regarding utility locates or for help with a message received from a utility locator, contact the District office at 303-979-2333.

    If you receive an email response from Platte Canyon, remember that it only pertains to water and sewer locates.

     

    This information is provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District, for additional information on this subject please call 303-979-2333 or visit www.swmetrowater.org.

  • Xeriscape Gardens Conserve Water



    The District encourages the use of xeriscape or Waterwise gardens to promote water conservation. Xeriscaping is landscaping that limits the need for watering in arid climates. Landscapes can require 50% of the water used for home consumption. Savings from 30% to 80% can be attained with the use of xeriscaping.

    Use the seven principles of xeriscaping (as listed below) to create a beautiful landscape that will help conserve water and reduce your water bill.

    1. Planning and Design: Be creative and design your own or consult with a professional landscaper. Planning allows you to install your landscape in phases which can reduce expenses.
    2. Limitation of Turf: Locate turf in the most functional area of your yard. Keep xeriscaping separate from planting of trees, shrubs, or flowers so that it can be irrigated separately.
    3. Use of Water Efficient Plants: Choose plants, shrubs and cacti that use little water. Examples are listed below.
    4. Efficient Irrigation: Be sure to irrigate turf areas separately from other cultivation in the yard. Regular adjustments to your irrigation system can save water and money.
    5. Soil Amendments: Soil improvements allow for better absorption of water and improved water-holding capacity. Soils with organic matter provide beneficial nutrients to plants.
    6. Use of Mulches: Mulches cover and cool soil, minimize evaporation, reduce weed growth, and slow erosion. They can also add color and attraction to your turf.
    7. Appropriate Landscape Maintenance: Regular maintenance preserves the beauty of your landscape and saves water. Xeriscapes can help reduce maintenance costs. Regular pruning, weeding, fertilization, pest control, and irrigation system adjustments increase water savings and reduce expenses.

    Examples of Waterwise plants that thrive well in Colorado:

    • Fernbush
    • Agastache
    • Spanish Gold Broom
    • Catmint
    • Iceplant
    • Blue Avena Grass
    • Penstemon
    • Mojave Sage
    • Prairie Winecups
    • Mexican Feather Grass
    • Apache Plume
    • Torch Lilly
    • Crimson Pygmy Barberry
    • Agave
    • Prairie Coneflower
    • Creeping Western Sand Cherry
    • Coral Bells
    • Yucca

     

    This information is provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District, for additional information on this subject please call 303-979-2333 or visit www.swmetrowater.org.

  • Keep Wipes Out of the Pipes!


    Companies heavily advertise their “flushable” wipes, but plumbers make a lot of house calls that involve clogged toilets, backed up sewer lines, and flooded basements caused by moistened wipes. Most wastewater experts will tell you that there’s no such thing as a flushable wipe. Flushable wipes may flush down the toilet just fine, but so will your keys, phone, or jewelry.

    While clogs can develop from any number of items, plumbers will now tell you that one of the most common causes of clogs today are moistened wipes (non-flushable and flushable).

    These wipes simply do not disintegrate as they move through your plumbing system. While one or two may move through the pipes, when you send multiple wipes down over time, the clogging begins.

    To illustrate this point, Consumer Reports did a “disintegration test” on three brands of flushable wipes and found that after 30 minutes of simulated swirling (just like a toilet bowl) the wipe was still intact.

    Wastewater experts are asking people to follow the “Three P’s” rule when it comes to what you can safely flush — flush only pee, poop and (toilet) paper.

    Follow the 3 P’s rule and use the following list of what not to flush to help keep your plumbing safe from back ups and clogs.

    • Baby Wipes/Wet Wipes/Flushable Wipes
    • Feminine Products
    • Dental Floss
    • Q-tips/Cotton Balls
    • Diapers
    • Condoms
    • Paper Towels/Tissues
    • Cigarette Butts
    • Pills

    This information is provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District, for additional information on this subject please call 303-979-2333 or visit www.swmetrowater.org.

  • Troubleshooting a Higher Than Normal Water Bill


    Have you received a higher water bill than usual? In the past few weeks, the District has received an increased number of calls from customers reporting high consumption on their most recent water bill. In several, but not all cases, the increase was a result of a leak that the customer did not realize they had. Here are some ways you can troubleshoot the cause of your higher water bill on your own.

    • First, locate your water meter.
    • Next, locate you water supply shut off valve.
    • Turn off all faucets and any water-using appliances.
    • Note the gallon calculating sweep hand on the meter.
    • After about 30 minutes or so, look at the dial to see if the hand or number wheels have moved. If they have moved, you have a leak either inside or underground.
    • To determine whether the leak is inside or underground, turn off the main shut off valve (this step will only work if you have an exterior meter – see reference chart on Denver Water’s website by clicking here). If the indicator stops, your leak is inside the home.
    • Be sure to double check your toilets and all faucets in the home.
    • If the indicator continues to move when the shut off valve is closed, you have a leak underground in your service line that will need to be repaired by a plumber. On our website, under construction corner, you can find a list of licensed plumbers in the district.

     

    If you do have a leak and get it repaired, District staff can check the meter to make sure the leak has ceased and can notify Denver Water. You may be eligible for a bill adjustment on your Denver Water bill.

    Also, remember to take in to account the weather when evaluating your water bill. If you irrigate your lawn regularly, your bill will increase a great deal, especially in the hotter, dryer months. We have not been getting the amount of rainfall recently like we did in June and early July. Remember to follow Denver Water’s Summer Watering Rules. They are meant to help conserve water, but also to help your lawn look luscious and green by retaining more water at cooler times of the day.

    District staff is always available to help you isolate any leaks and to double check that your meter is functioning properly. If you have tried everything but feel like the problem has not been resolved or there is not an explanation for your higher than normal water bill, give us a call at 303-979-2333. Our regular business hours are from 8 am to 4:30 pm for non-emergencies. You can also send us a request to investigate a high water bill using our new online Customer Request Form found on our homepage.

    For a more detailed description on how to read your meter, visit Denver Water’s website.

     

    This information is provided by Southwest Metropolitan Water & Sanitation District, for additional information on this subject please call 303-979-2333 or visit www.swmetrowater.org.