We believe in transparency and education as key drivers of change in our community. Get familiar with our services and learn what we do, how your bill is calculated, who to contact during emergencies, and more.  

Billing FAQs

Do I pay any taxes to Fox Metro in addition to my water treatment bill?

Fox Metro only charges customers based on usage. No taxes are levied on your property.

During the summer I use water outside for my garden, lawn or pool. Will I be charged for the water that does not go into the sewer system for treatment?

If you are doing extensive lawn watering or filling a large pool, we do have a rebate system for that purpose. When you receive your bill that covers the service dates where the heavy watering occurred, call us at (630) 301-6881 to see if you qualify.

How can I lower my bill?

Since your Fox Metro bill is based on water usage, you can lower your bill simply by reducing the amount of water you use. There are many ways to reduce water consumption, ranging from water-efficient faucets, showerheads and appliances, to things as simple as taking shorter showers. Not only will this lower your Fox Metro bill, but you will also save on your city water bill.

To learn more about water conservation and how you can save money while helping the environment, view our Money Saving Tips by clicking here.

How often am I billed, and how is my water treatment bill calculated?

You will receive a bill from Fox Metro once every two months. Your bill is calculated based upon your water usage readings provided to Fox Metro by the city in which you reside.

How will my water treatment bill be computed if I am on a well, or have no water meter?

For those people who receive water from private wells or who have no water meter, Fox Metro bills based on an estimated water usage of 11,000 gallons every 2 months for residential use, and 33,000 gallons every 2 months for commercial use. If you believe your usage falls below this threshold, you may be able lower your bill by installing a water meter so that Fox Metro can invoice your household based on actual usage. Contact our billing department for more information at (630) 301-6881.

Why do I receive a bill from Fox Metro in addition to the city water/sewer bill?

Your city sewer/water bill pays for the drinking water coming into your home, as well as the maintenance of the smaller sewer lines connecting your home and neighborhoods. Fox Metro’s bill pays for the treatment of the wastewater so that it may be cleaned and returned to the river, as well as the maintenance of the large sewer lines that bring the wastewater to Fox Metro’s treatment plant.

Will I be charged a minimum bill if my usage is low?

A $3.00 minimum bill will be issued if there is low usage for the billing period.

Sanitary Sewer Easements

The maintenance of the sanitary sewer system is critical to the operation of the collection system and to ensure and secure public health. The Fox Metro Field Operations Department is dedicated to the proper maintenance and operations of the collection system. The sanitary sewer mains are primarily located underground and are connected by a series of manholes that are either at or slightly above ground level.

In order to properly maintain the sanitary sewer system, Fox Metro employees must be able access the manholes. Inadequate operation and maintenance of the sanitary sewer system can cause failures in the system. This operation and maintenance provides protection of the capital investment, which extends the effective life cycle and reduces operational costs.

How does Fox Metro select easements for clearing?

In general, it is Fox Metro’s goal to have 100% of the easements accessible for ongoing maintenance work. There are numerous older easements with heavy growth that are prioritized for heavy clearing and cutting work based upon Fox Metro’s established maintenance records for the area and problems discovered during televising and cleaning.

If I have fences or sheds in the easement that have been there for a long time, am I “grandfathered” and allowed to keep them?

Unfortunately, no, as this would still not allow Fox Metro to have the required access to the easement. Where possible, Fox Metro will work with property owners to allow existing fences to remain that are parallel to the direction of the sanitary sewer main under the following conditions:

  • The fence has not damaged the sanitary sewer main and all manholes are fully visible and not obstructed.
  • The fence is constructed of wood and/or metal materials that can easily be removed by Fox Metro’s equipment such as a rubber-tired backhoe.
  • Fox Metro is not responsible for any damage to the fence.  If the fence is removed by Fox Metro, it is not responsible for costs to replace the fence outside of the easement.
  • The fence is considered a temporary, non-conforming use of the Fox Metro’s sanitary sewer easement. Once removed by the property owner or Fox Metro during a sewer emergency, the fence cannot be reconstructed within Fox Metro’s existing sanitary sewer easement.

Again, Fox Metro retains the right to make the final decision on obstructions located in the easement.

Thank you for your cooperation.

What is a sanitary sewer easement and how do I know if one exists in my yard?

Easements are dedicated portions of private property dedicated for public use. In the case of sanitary sewer, the easement is a piece of the property where the sanitary sewer main is located and it gives Fox Metro the right to access the property.  Sewer Use Ordinance #885 grants Fox Metro the ability to inspect and maintain the sanitary sewer main. Easements are developed at the time the utility is constructed or when a piece of property is subdivided for use. They are often shown on property surveys and deeds.

It is important to note that the sanitary sewer easement is different than a property service connection, which connects an individual property’s sewer service to the sanitary sewer main.  Users are responsible for maintaining their own service connection.

What is a Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO)?

A SSO is the discharge of untreated wastewater from the sewer system out onto the ground or into a waterway. This is a release of waste onto private property will flow into adjacent waterways or into a customer’s home. These spills have various causes, the principal ones being the buildup of fats, oils, and grease as well as root infiltration. Fox Metro works hard within the extensive maintenance program helps to prevent SSOs from occurring.

Please see Fox Metro’s Capacity, Management, Operations, and Maintenance (CMOM) plan page for more information about SSO’s and Fox Metro’s extensive maintenance activities.

What laws and regulations apply in these situations?

Relevant laws and regulations for Fox Metro’s easement maintenance include:

  • Illinois Sanitary District Act of 1917 – grants Fox Metro the authority to create orders, ordinances and resolutions.
  • Fox Metro Sewer Use Ordinance #885 – allows Fox Metro to operate and maintain the sanitary sewer mains and easements. The most recent version of the Sewer Use Ordinance was submitted to the Illinois EPA for approval in November 2019 and subsequently adopted by the Fox Metro Board of Trustees.
  • Illinois Noxious Weed Law – requires individuals and property owners to control the spread of and eradicate noxious weeds, such as ragweed and thistle, which are commonly found in Fox Metro’s service area.
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES permit) – the primary regulatory mechanism for the state and federal government. Relevant portions of this permit include the development, implementation, and submittal of the Sewer Use Ordinance and the CMOM plan, as described above.

Failure of Fox Metro to follow these guidelines and regulations subjects the District to civil penalties (fines) and can jeopardize Fox Metro’s NPDES permit.

Where are the sanitary sewer mains located?

The sanitary sewer mains are located either in the public right-of-way along the streets and roads or on private property in dedicated sanitary sewer easements, which are typically along property boundaries.

Why do these trees need to be cut down if there is no emergency?

Fox Metro can save valuable time in responding to emergencies such as SSOs if they have unrestricted access to these areas. This time saves further damage from occurring by allowing Fox Metro to focus on the repair work. Easement maintenance is authorized in Sewer Use Ordinance #885.

Why must Fox Metro cut trees and plants away from the easement?

Trees and brush must be cut away from these areas to maintain access to the sewer line for maintenance and it also removes root materials from the proximity of the sewer mains. The clearing also allows Fox Metro to access these areas with its equipment in the event of an emergency, saving time and cost, but most important is to minimize the amount of sewer water that overflows and to mitigate any negative impact to the environment.

Why must Fox Metro maintain these sanitary sewer mains in my yard?

Fox Metro is required by state and federal law to prevent sanitary sewer overflows. A critical element to preventing these overflows is routine inspection and cleaning the sewer mains owned by Fox Metro. Additionally, the Fox Metro Field Operations Department takes pride in maintaining the sewer mains to the best of their ability as part of the routine service provided to customers.

Will Fox Metro cut and remove all of the trees and plants from within the easement?

Ideally yes.  However, the Fox Metro’s maintenance staff will consider allowing the “boundary trees” along the edge of the easement. These trees can be left in place until the sewer main is replaced by Fox Metro under the following conditions:

  • Upon Fox Metro’s inspection, there are no signs of tree or plant root intrusion into the sanitary sewer main or manholes that will eventually cause a blockage and sewer overflow.
  • The “boundary trees” are located within the easement such that they do not prohibit Fox Metro’s use of the easement to access the sewer main or manholes or cause damage to the main or manholes if the trees topple over during high wind conditions.

Fox Metro retains the right to make the final decision on the “boundary trees”.

Will new plants and trees be replanted by Fox Metro?

Fox Metro is not required to replace this vegetation and it hinders future access to the easement. Upon clearing the easement, the damaged areas will be re-graded and spread with mulch or sewn with grass seed. The easement will then be maintained as necessary to allow for continued access.

Combined Sewer Overflows

Are CSOs Legal?

Yes, CSOs are legal and permitted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Every month, Fox Metro submits a Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) to the IEPA. Most months, the number of discharges is zero. This DMR has various reporting requirements, such as duration of the CSO event, amount of precipitation, and water chemistry testing.

How can residents help?

During heavy rain events, every gallon of wastewater and stormwater that can be kept out of the sewer system is a gallon that will not be part of a CSO discharge. For wastewater discharges, please avoid unnecessary water usage, such as: showering/bathing, toilet flushing, dishwashing, laundry, etc. For stormwater discharges, using rain barrels and cisterns to collect rainwater runoff can help reduce flows to the system. Rain barrels also can reduce drinking water bills by reusing water for garden and landscape watering. Sump pumps that connect to the sanitary sewer system are illegal and flow should be rerouted to yards. A licensed plumber should be able to advise residents on the most appropriate methods of removing a specific illegal connection.

How often do CSO events occur?

Fox Metro has worked hard to reduce the number of CSO events per year.  Since the 2012 improvements, the average number of CSO events per year from 2012 to present is less than 1.  These events are usually due to extremely high precipitation events, like flooding, where the plant does not have sufficient capacity to treat all of the wastewater flowing into the plant.

Bar chart showing the number of CSO events per year since Fox Metro’s 2012 improvements.

A large percentage of the wastewater flow entering into Fox Metro is stormwater from the Combined Sewer System in Aurora.  Therefore, the wastewater discharged into the Fox River during a CSO event is mostly comprised of stormwater.

More CSO Information

CSO Public Notification Plan

CSO Pollution Prevention Plan (PPP)

CSO Operational & Maintenance (O&M) Plan

CSO Long Term Control Plan – Part 1 of 5 (29 MB)
CSO Long Term Control Plan – Part 2 of 5 (11 MB)
CSO Long Term Control Plan – Part 3 of 5 (22 MB)
CSO Long Term Control Plan – Part 4 of 5 (15 MB)
CSO Long Term Control Plan – Part 5 of 5 (7 MB)

City of Aurora CSO DMR for information on the City’s CSO DMRs

USEPA CSO overview  page for general information about CSOs

National Weather Service for information about flooding in Montgomery-Oswego area

Fox Waterway Agency for more information about flooding on the Fox River

USEPA Permit Inquiry for public information on Fox Metro’s various permits

H2 Oh No! for an animated video about CSO’s created by the Center for Urban Pedagogy

What are Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)?

CSOs are discharges from Combined Sewer Systems into a receiving stream.  A Combined Sewer System collects both stormwater runoff and sanitary sewage in the same pipes.  During dry weather, the Combined Sewer System transports all wastewater directly to Fox Metro’s wastewater treatment plant on Route 31 in Oswego for full treatment before discharging to the Fox River.  But during wet weather events, the volume of wastewater occasionally exceeds the Fox Metro’s treatment capacity and the excess flow must be discharged directly to the Fox River with either partial or no treatment.

Combined Sewer Systems are common in older municipalities of Illinois, such as Chicago, Peoria, Bloomington, Elgin and Aurora.

CSO Diagram

General CSO diagram, courtesy of USEPA

What are the health risks of CSOs?

CSOs contain highly diluted sewage with bacteria that may cause illness. Therefore, swimming, canoeing, or other activities that result in body contact with the Fox River should be avoided during and after a rainfall. Pets should also avoid contact with the water at this time. Since the CSO events usually occur when the river is at flood stage, it would be wise to obey any issued river advisories for general safety purposes, regardless of CSO events.

What is being done to reduce the occurrence of CSO events?

In 2010, Fox Metro submitted a CSO Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to the IEPA and USEPA that outlined a multi-phased approach to reducing the number of CSO events to a maximum of 4 per year. In 2012, the first Phase of the LTCP was completed and included improvements to increase the plant’s capacity by 54 million gallons per day (mgd) during wet weather events. Added to Fox Metro’s existing capacity, the new total of 139 mgd at design peak flow has drastically reduced the number of CSO events. Six phases of the LTCP are scheduled to be completed by the year 2025.

Where are the CSOs located?

Fox Metro owns one (1) CSO and it is in the box culvert located at the upstream end of Fox Metro’s facility near the railroad tracks.  There is also a CSO notification sign near the river.

Fox Metro CSO Discharge

View of the CSO Box Culvert discharge point on the Fox River.

A map shows the location of the CSO along the river.  The City of Aurora also owns several CSOs.

Did you know you can pay your bill online?

Fox Metro offers paperless billing and online payments, including automatic payments, at no additional cost. Sign up today!

Pay My Bill