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Almost 10% of Cleveland Water customers were behind on water and sewer bills by 6 months

May 2, 2022

This is part of a series looking at the state of water affordability in Cleveland, Philadelphia and beyond, authored by the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative in partnership with Resolve Philly in Philadelphia.


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Across the United States, the cost of water and sewer has grown more expensive over the last several decades, with the average water bill increasing by 30% between 2012 and 2019, according to a utility bill index conducted by Bluefield Research.


And in Cleveland, as well as cities like Philadelphia, the pandemic and the cities’ high poverty rates mean there are thousands of people behind on their water bills.

As of November 2021, almost 10% of all Cleveland Water customers – about 40,000 customers – were behind on their water and sewer bills by six months or more, a rate that’s far higher than non-pandemic years. More than 1 in 4 Cleveland Water customers were behind on at least one bill that month, and in Philadelphia, nearly a third of customers were at least one bill behind in March 2021.

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