Frequently Asked Questions
The frequently asked questions are divided into two categories, including the following:
Billing Cycle
Water Quality

Billing Cycle
Residential billing is accomplished on a monthly cycle. Payment is due 30 days from the issuance of the bill. Interest is applied to the unpaid balance after 30 days. If payment is not received within 45 days from the issue date, a delinquency notice is customarily sent as a courtesy reminder. If payment is not received, a shut off notice is sent to the customer with termination of service to follow. The unpaid balance plus a shut off and re-connection charge must be collected before water service is reactivated. Should a difficulty arise that prevents you from making your payment on time, please contact us immediately to coordinate a payment plan. A simple phone call to our customer service staff will start this process.
Q: How can I pay my bill?
A: The most efficient payment methods are remittance by mail and online credit/debit card bill payment or electronic check. Our customers have convenient access to an online payment option via the link “Pay Your Bill”. Customers may also call (401) 821-9300 and make a payment over the phone with a Customer Service Representative. Customers can continue to make payments in person at our office located at 1072 Main Street, West Warwick, RI, however, for safety reasons cash is no longer accepted. Payments made in person at our office must be in the form of a check, money order or credit/debit card.
Q: What if I can’t pay my bill on time?
A: If you are experiencing financial hardship or need extra time to pay your bill. Please contact our office at (401) 821-9300 and speak to a Customer Service Representative to set up a payment plan or arrangement.
Q: What is the consumption charge (RS, IC, or GT)?
A: The RS (Residential), IC (Industrial/Commercial) and GT (Governmental) consumption charge is derived from calculating your water usage by the current approved rate in effect at the time of billing. Your bill will fluctuate depending on the amount of water used.
Q: What is the water protection (WP) charge?
A: The WP (Water Protection) charge is imposed by the state. The Kent County Water Authority bills and collects this charge for the state. The money is used by the state to protect the source of your drinking water from potential pollution. The state determines the use of these funds through water quality protections initiatives.

Homeowners of single-family dwellings who are 65 years of age and live at the property are exempt from this charge, as are some commercial agricultural producers. Please review our Rules and Regulations or call one of our customer service representatives for details on these exemptions.
Q: What does the service charge (SC) mean?
A: The SC (Service Charge) is part of our rate structure and is based on the size of the water meter. This is a fixed amount.
Q: How is my water consumption calculated?
A: Water consumption is charged in units of 100 cubic feet for dial register meters. Each 100 cubic feet is equal to approximately 750 gallons of water consumed. Water consumption is charged in units of 1 cubic foot for radio frequency registers. Each cubic foot is equal to 7.5 gallons of water consumed. All meters in the service area register in cubic feet.
Q: My current water bill is considerably higher than my last bill. Why is my bill so high?
A: You are either using more water than you did last month, have a leak, or our rate structure may have increased. Plumbing leaks, seasonal usage, or change in lifestyle can result in higher usage. Occasionally, we must increase rates to cover rising costs associated with maintaining and improving your water system.
Q: How could I have used this much water?
A: When questioning your billed consumption, check the reading on the water meter located within your home to confirm that the reading obtained by the Authority is accurate. Also available to the customer is the leak detector indicator located on the face of the water meter register. To use this feature, all water use within the home must be off such as the faucets, dishwasher, washing machine and all other water using appliances. Check the water meter to see if it is spinning. Older model meters use a red triangle that rotates to indicate a leak. The new digital radio frequency meters will blink a faucet image to indicate a leak and must be activated by pointing a flashlight on the register. If you need assistance feel free to call our customer service representatives at (401) 821-9300 to walk you through the self-check procedures.
Q: How can I know how much water I used?
A: The only accurate way to monitor water usage and calculate the amount of water you have consumed is to monitor your meter reading from the indicator on the face of your meter. We read your meter monthly utilizing an outside reading device or radio frequency. That is the reading that appears on your monthly billing statement. You can compare that reading to the one indicated on the face of your meter to ensure the reading is comparable. Keep in mind that water consumption continues between the reading date on the statement and the date you receive the statement in the mail. The statement reading should be less than currently shown on your meter because of the time lag between when we take the reading and when you receive your bill. Radio read meters require a flashlight be shined on the dial to activate the digital dial for you to obtain a reading.
Q: Why is my bill exactly the same as the last bill?
A: This may occur when readings are obtained from dial register meters that are computed by rounding to the nearest 100 cubic foot of consumption. Occasionally, the consumption in your current bill may reflect the same numerical value as the previous bill because the billing uses only significant digits to the 100 cubic foot increment. Even though your actual consumption may have been a little more than reflected during one cycle, this amount will be picked up in the consecutive cycle. This does not apply to radio frequency meters.
Q: Why do I have to pay for water when water is a natural resource?
A: Water is a natural resource, but water in its raw state cannot be consumed or sent to your home. Many costs are associated with providing potable water meeting safe drinking water standards to your home, which includes such things as: the cost of producing, transporting and treating the water, maintenance of the infrastructure and associated costs, mandated regulatory requirements and the actual purchase of wholesale water.
Q: Is it true that you can’t terminate service to my home for non-payment in the winter?
A: This is not true. As a public utility we can terminate service during the moratorium period if we follow the proper notification rules. Again, if you have trouble making a payment, please call the Customer Service Department at (401) 821-9300. It will avoid additional charges to reactivate service after disconnection.
Water Quality
Our drinking water is among the safest in the world. It takes diligence and hard work to keep our drinking water safe and in good supply. Water protection and conservation requires efforts by government, local water supply systems, industries, and you.

Every Kent County Water Authority employee is committed to providing drinking water that is unquestionable in quality. All our system operators are certified by the Rhode Island Department of Health and participate in continuous education programs to maintain those qualifications. Water quality is our primary concern. The water delivered to your home is tested over 100 times each month for compliance with State and Federal drinking water regulations.

Each year you will receive an annual Water Quality Report from Kent County Water Authority that reviews our testing results for the year and valuable information on our system. The Water Quality Report must be sent to customers prior to July 1.
Q: My water is discolored, why?
A: All water contains dissolved minerals in varying amounts depending on the source. Kent County Water Authority has multiple approved sources of water that contain very low levels of harmless iron and manganese. Over time the dissolved minerals can precipitate out and accumulate in the water system piping, especially in areas of low flows and/or velocities. Sudden large flow rates such as fire hydrant discharges or water main ruptures can cause the iron and manganese particles to become re-suspended and appear as a rusty reddish brown (iron) or black (manganese) color water at customers faucets around the affected area.

The discoloration is harmless and resultant from the suspended minerals. This condition should clear up quickly by running the cold faucet in your home or business for a short period of time. Widespread complaints usually indicate a supply system problem, while an isolated incident indicates a household plumbing problem. Please note that Kent County Water Authority works to mitigate the accumulation of minerals and related discoloration issues with a regularly scheduled hydrant flushing maintenance program.
Q: What should I do if I see discolored water?
A: KCWA recommends that you flush your cold water tap until you get clear water from the main. If it is still discolored after several minutes of flushing, you may need to wait a couple of hours until the sediment disturbance in the main subsides, and the water in the main becomes clear, then try flushing again. If the problem does not resolve within a few hours, please contact KCWA as it may be necessary to maintenance flush the water main.

During the occurrence of discolored water, it is recommended that you refrain from doing laundry (to prevent staining) or run the hot water (to prevent sediment getting into your hot water tank). If your laundry becomes stained, use stain remover such as “Iron Out” or a regular detergent to rewash. Do not use of chlorine bleach as this could make the situation worse.
Q: Why does my water smell funny?
A: Kent County Water Authority purchases a large quantity of its water from Providence Water Supply Board. At certain times of the year, the Providence Water Supply Board adds more chlorine to the water, which may produce an iodine or metallic taste and have a bleach odor. If the chlorine smell is too strong, fill a pitcher with water and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for four to eight hours and the chlorine smell and taste will dissipate.
Q: Why does my water look cloudy or milky?
A: During the winter months, KCWA Water Quality Laboratory receives numerous telephone calls from concerned customers regarding cloudy water. Our experience has shown that the cloudiness is simply the result of excess air in the water. Under certain conditions, water is capable of becoming supersaturated with dissolved air. This is a common occurrence during the winter months of the year and is due to the ability of cold water to retain large quantities of dissolved air, which is kept in solution mainly by temperature and pressure. As the water temperature is increased and the pressure released (as in opening the faucet) the dissolved air rapidly comes out of solution, imparting a temporary, cloudy appearance to the water. The "cloudy" appearance is due to the sudden formation of tiny air bubbles which slowly rise to the top. This condition usually lasts a minute or two, after which time the water will clear. Although it is not a health hazard, entrapped air can impart an aesthetically unpleasant appearance to the water. If the consumer finds this appearance too unappetizing, a simple remedy is to fill a container with cold water and place it on the counter or in the refrigerator. Under normal pressure conditions, the air will quickly dissipate in a few minutes and the water may then be used for drinking and cooking purposes.
Q: Why does my water taste funny?
A: Many factors effect tastes. With widespread complaints, it usually indicates a possible change in the water systems, while isolated incidents indicate a problem within the household plumbing. Chlorine is used to disinfect the water. At times, more chlorine is necessary, and you may notice a distinct difference in the taste of the water. If you are more sensitive to taste issues, you may consider keeping an open bottle or pitcher of water in the refrigerator, which will help to dissipate the chlorine taste.
Q: Do I have fluoride in my water?
A: Kent County Water Authority purchases water from Providence Water Supply Board that is treated with fluoride. Water supplied by our own wells is not treated with fluoride but may contain natural fluoride. Since water is blended in our system, fluoride is present.

Fluoride is a natural trace element found in varying amounts in almost all soils and water supplies. At optimum concentrations, fluoride has been shown to reduce dental cavities in children. In 1962, Providence Water began adding fluoride to the drinking water. The fluoride concentration in the Providence Water system is maintained at 0.7 parts per million.
Q: How much chlorine is in my water?
A: Chlorine is used as the primary disinfectant by many water suppliers, including KCWA. Federal legislation known as the Surface Water Treatment Rule, promulgated in 1989, necessitated changes in the way disinfectants such as chlorine are applied. Since that time, KCWA has endeavored to maintain as low a residual chlorine level as possible and still continue to meet the requirements of the regulation. KCWA's residual free chlorine level for water leaving the treatment plant varies from 0.30 to 1.00 parts per million, considerably lower than many neighboring water supplies in RI, and the in United States as a whole, which often have residual chlorine levels at the consumer tap in excess of 1.00 mg/l.
Q: How can I get information about lead in my water?
A: Information on the occurrence of lead in drinking water is available on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) websites:

Although not all homes have a lead service line, there are some lines still in existence in the KCWA system. Solder used in plumbing prior to 1987 may also contain lead. Test results have shown that the highest concentrations of lead occur in water that has been allowed to stand for an extended period undisturbed in a home's interior plumbing. This allows the contact time necessary for leaching of lead to occur from the lead solder and/or the lead service line to the drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and KCWA recommend that whenever water has been standing undisturbed in the pipes for long periods, such as overnight, or even during the day, that the cold water be run until it reaches its coldest temperature prior to using it for cooking or drinking purpose. This flushing mitigates the potential for lead contaminated water from the water pipes from being consumed. As a conservation measure, the water that is flushed may be captured and used for plant watering or other non-consumption purpose. In addition to flushing, there are numerous home treatment devices on the market which claim to reduce lead in drinking water. Many do work, however, not all manufactures claims are accurate.
  Contact Information

Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am to 4pm
  Phone: (401) 821-9300
  Fax: (401) 823-4810
  Email Customer Service

1072 Main Street
PO Box 192
West Warwick, RI 02893-0192