Explanation of Utility Services

Water Use

Water consumption charges are calculated based on the amount of water used as indicated by the meter. One unit of water is equivalent to 748 gallons or 100 cubic feet (HCF). For residential accounts, there is a two tier system with different rates applied to the different tiers.

Residential accounts begin on tier one and are charged at that rate until they exceed the number of units allowed at that rate. For single family residential and master-metered single family residential, the first 13 units are charged at the first tier and any additional units are charged at the second tier. Multi-family and manufactured homes are given 7 units of consumption per dwelling unit at the first tier and any additional usage at the second tier.

Consumption Calculations

1 unit = 748 gallons -or- 100 cubic feet (HCF)

20 units = 14,960 gallons -or- 2000 cubic feet (HCF)

The water meter, located at the service address, is read each month by professional and courteous field representatives. Every effort is made to ensure accuracy and timeliness, but as with any human endeavor, errors may occur. We therefore are happy to go back out and check the meter reading on any account for which the billing appears erroneous or atypical of the service history.

SDCWA Infrastructure Access Charge

The SDCWA Infrastructure Access Charge is a pass-through charge from San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) to finance projected fixed annual costs including the construction, operation, and maintenance of aqueducts and the Emergency Storage Project.  This fixed monthly charge is based on meter size.

SDCWA Water Pass-Through (Surcharge)

SDCWA Surcharge is a pass-through charge from the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) established in 2002 to recover annual increases in the cost of water.  The surcharge is based on the amount of water used each month.

MWD Pass Through RTS (Readiness-To-Serve)

MWD Readiness-To-Serve charge is a pass-through charge from Metropolitan Water District (MWD) to recover the cost of the portion of system capacity that is on standby to provide emergency service and operational flexibility.  The readiness-to-serve charge finances MWD infrastructure projects and is a monthly fee based on meter size.

Clean Water

Clean water is consumption-related charge that finances compliance with state-mandated requirements to reduce and/or eliminate discharge into the storm drain system.  The fee pays for the cleaning, repair, and maintenance of the city's storm drain system and is based on the amount of water used each month. 

Monthly Fixed Fire Line Service Charge

A flat monthly charge on water accounts that provide a dedicated fire line service (fire sprinklers).


Fixed Customer Charge - a flat monthly charge paid by all customers in all classes and reflects cost associated with billing, administration, the call center, and customer service.

Residential Fixed Services Charge - a monthly service charge for residential customers based on the number of dwelling units served by each account. Dwelling units provide the best available indicator of the impact to the wastewater system by each residential account.

Non-Residential Fixed Service Charge - a fixed service charge for non-residential accounts that is calculated by the size of the meter. Unlike residential accounts, water meter size is the best available indicator of the impact each commercial account will have on the wastewater system.

Single-Family Residential wastewater flow charges are based on a Winter Quarter Average (WQA). The WQA uses the total amount of water consumed during the service periods ending in January, February and March and the total number of days for that same 3-month period. The reason for using those billing periods is that during the winter months outside irrigation is reduced, so that most of the water used is impacting the sewer system. This method encourages conservation and gives the customer a chance to reduce their wastewater charge.

The following is an example showing how to calculate your sewer flow: 

The total consumption for the billing periods ending in January, February and March is divided by the total number of days and then multiplied by 30.42 in order to produce a monthly average.  The WQA is determined by multiplying the monthly average by a return to sewer factor of 95%, allowing a 5% margin for outside irrigation during the winter months.  The WQA is reset in July of each year using the previous winter’s usage. 

Master-Metered Single-Family Residential and Manufactured Home wastewater flow charges are based upon the number of residential units at the location. The fixed monthly charge is multiplied by the number of residential units to calculate the sewer flow charge.

Multi-Family Residential wastewater flow charges are based on the amount of water used during the billing period. Accounts with a separate irrigation meter are billed 90% of water use at a rate determined by sewer strength. Accounts without a separate irrigation meter are billed 75% of water use. For this classification, State standards for sewer strength are applied.

Non-Residential wastewater flow charges are based on the amount of water used during the billing period. Accounts are billed 90% of water use at a rate that is determined by sewer strength. The sewer strength categories are determined by State standards and are classified as follows:

  • Low
  • Medium
  • Medium High
  • High
  • Institutional
  • Industrial/Special Users
  • Temporary Lodging

Each category has a different rate and represents a group of users with similar sewer strengths. Upon initiating an account, the account is placed in one of the categories based on the type of activity at the location.

City Waste

City waste service is the monthly charge to cover the following:

  • Removal of refuse from public property
  • Clean-up of public parks and beaches
  • Maintenance and operation of two landfills
  • Bi-weekly street sweeping (public streets only)

The monthly charge depends on whether the service address is on a public or private street. Private streets are not swept and therefore there is no charge.

Contract Trash

Waste Management of North County has had a contract with the City of Oceanside since August of 1994 to provide contract trash services to the residential, multi-family and commercial customers within the city limits. As the contractor, they provide trash services for which the City of Oceanside bills on their monthly statement.

Single Unit Residential Premise means any building or structure in the city which is used for residential housing purposes. The following contract trash services will be provided:

  • Curbside pickup of solid waste
  • Recyclable materials
  • Green waste collection
  • Storm drain cleaning

The standard size container for residential services shall not exceed thirty-five gallons. The combined weight of the container and contents shall not exceed fifty pounds. The number of containers collected cannot exceed twelve at any one time. Containers should not be damaged or have jagged or sharp edges. Regular curbside pickup will be once a week. Recyclable materials include newsprint, glass, aluminum and steel cans, and plastic containers. These materials should be sorted and then placed in the recycling containers provided by Waste Management of North County (760) 439-2824. Green waste means biodegradable yard waste such as leaves, grass and wood materials from trees and shrubs. Waste Management provides a separate container for green waste only.

Waste Management provides several special services. These include bulky household item pickup, Citywide Spring and Fall clean-up events, and Christmas tree pickups. For more information on these services please call (760) 439-2824, or visit their website northcounty.wm.com/oceanside/oceanside.asp.