CBRM water utility customers will see greater savings from water conservation efforts beginning on April 1

March 27,2024

CBRM water utility customers will see greater savings from water conservation efforts beginning on April 1

New billing cycle for water and wastewater will begin on April 1, 2024

SYDNEY, NS - Beginning on April 1, a new water-wastewater billing cycle will begin that is based on customer water usage.  CBRM Council approved a new wastewater discharge by-law at the council meeting on Tuesday, March 26.

The CBRM Water Utility and CBRM Wastewater Department are in process of becoming a UARB-regulated commission named the CBRM Water and Wastewater Commission. Water and wastewater services will be entirely based on customer usage. Currently, the system is a combination of customer use billing and property tax billing. 

“Water utility customers are on rotating billing cycles, but we want to make all customers aware that the new billing process for the usage-based system will begin on April 1st,” said Greg Campbell, Manager of Technical Support Services – Utilities at CBRM.

“This new billing allows residents to have more control over their water bill as it will reflect usage,” added Campbell.  “Anyone wanting to make conservation efforts will see more value to that beginning on April 1 onward.”

Campbell said customers should be aware that the sewer rate will be removed from their adjusted annual tax bill in the fall. On their water bill, most customers will see a new water-wastewater charge that will be based on water usage.  Over the summer months, customers will receive bills that have partial amounts due to the quarterly billing cycles.

Wastewater costs are charged on CBRM tax bills at a rate of $ 0.191 per $100 of assessment.  Under the new model, residents will no longer see a sewer charge on their tax bill.  The cost of wastewater collection and treatment services will appear as a separate line item on their water bill.

The new billing process removes the wastewater component from the tax rates and begins a user pay system that measures water usage as the basis of wastewater discarged. The addition of wastewater to the calculation reflects the service provision of sewer services that address water that leaves the home. Examples include water from showers, washing machines, toilet flushing, sprinklers, etc.  

Federal regulations require wastewater to be treated before re-entering the environment.  Currently in CBRM, capital projects are underway to eventually treat all effluent from the municipal systems to comply with regulations. Some treatment plants are complete, such as the treatment plant in Dominion and Westmount. The Battery Point treatment plant in Sydney will require upgrades to meet new regulations. Plants are under construction in Glace Bay and Port Morien while others in North Sydney, Louisbourg, New Victoria and New Waterford areas are planned, but not yet funded. 

Council first approved the exploration of the establishment of a Commission structure to oversee water and wastewater in December, 2022.  In June 2023, Council approved a motion to move forward with the creation of a new CBRM Water and Wastewater Commission. On March 26, 2024 Council approved a new wastewater discharge by-law to implement the new cost-recovery model for water and wastewater services. Provincial legislation is  required to finalize the creation of a regulated water and water commission for CBRM.


Christina Lamey

Communications & Information Officer

Cape Breton Regional Municipality 


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