As you may know, the water and sewer rates you pay to Illinois American Water include pass-through charges, without mark up, from the City of Elmhurst for water service and wastewater treatment service. Our team was recently notified of substantial City of Elmhurst rate increases which impact our customers. While none of these charges are Illinois American Water charges, they will impact your Illinois American Water water and wastewater bill. A residential customer in the Country Club District will see an increase of $38 to their bill, effective July 1, 2019. This increase is not an Illinois American Water increase.

We expressed our concern about the increase, on behalf of our customers, to the City of Elmhurst. In addition, as soon as we knew about the City of Elmhurst’s rate discussion, we sent this letter to notify our customers. Since then, the City approved an increase from the current charge of $3.87 per thousand gallons of sewage treated to approximately $7.17 per thousand gallons for non-City residents in the Country Club District. In addition, City of Elmhurst residents are billed for sewage treatment service based on the amount of clean water sold to them on the front end, while non-City residents, like those who reside in the Country Club District, are billed for sewage treatment service by the amount of wastewater and sewage treated on the back end. This difference in billing means that customers in the Country Club District pay more on a per customer basis for wastewater and sewage treatment service than the City’s residents.

This approach and rate increase has resulted in the significant impact to your bill. Unfortunately, Illinois American Water doesn’t have any control over these rates charged by the City of Elmhurst. We encourage you to reach out to the City of Elmhurst. For more information you can also contact our team at


Illinois American Water’s water and wastewater service rates are based on the cost of providing quality, reliable service to customers. Rates also pay for the investment Illinois American Water makes to ensure reliability. While municipalities may subsidize the costs of providing service through taxes, fees and other revenue sources, our rates reflect the true cost of providing high-quality water and reliable wastewater service. Our true-cost pricing model is endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency, Metropolitan Planning Council, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the National Association of Water Companies.

Illinois American Water is regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). The only way that Illinois American Water can adjust base rates is with the approval of the ICC. The process before the ICC is a transparent process that lasts about 11 months and requires thousands of pages of documents to justify the request. New rates do not go into effect until they are approved by the ICC. Customers have an opportunity to share their views with the ICC.

You can learn more about the rate setting process in our white paper: Challenges In The Water Industry: The Rate Approval Process.

In January 2016, Illinois American Water requested a change in water and wastewater rates. The request was driven primarily by an approximately $340 million investment across the state. Investments included:

  • Installing and replacing over 127 miles of water main within our complex distribution system.
  • Installing thousands of fire hydrants and water meters.
  • Upgrading water treatment and storage systems.
  • Upgrading and constructing wastewater facilities to meet new regulatory requirement and ensure reliability.
  • Installing and replacing valves and manholes.
  • Rehabilitating over 24 miles of sewer mains through replacement or cured-in-place lining.

These investments ensure not only reliable service for public health, public safety, fire protection and economic development, but also for safe drinking water and reliable wastewater service for homes and businesses.

Following an 11-month review, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) issued an order adjusting rates for Illinois American Water. Illinois American Water cannot change base rates without ICC approval. The last change in base rates for water service and wastewater treatment occurred over four years ago in 2012. Wastewater collection base rates have not increased since 2003.

The below documents explain current rates by service district:

      Alton Area Industrial Pretreatment Program
Chicago  Metro Wastewater
Chicago Metro Water
South Beloit
Sundale / Highland Hills / Washington Estates

When new base rates became effective, customers were sent a bill insert about the new base rates. The inserts are posted below.

Alton, Cairo, Champaign County, Hardin County, Interurban (Metro East), Peoria, Pontiac, Sterling, and Streator
South Beloit
Chicago Metro

We also recently sent an insert about new line items on bills.

Three new line items have been added to customer bills. These include both credits and charges and are identified as the Invested Capital Tax (ICT), Volume Balancing Adjustment (VBA) and Tax Reform Credit. These rates appear as separate line items on customer bills and are described in this bill insert.

Ensuring Quality Infrastructure

Illinois American Water is dedicated to ensuring your local water system continues to provide reliable, high quality water service. That includes making timely investments in our water distribution systems. Our Quality Infrastructure Program helps us to replace and update aging infrastructure on a timely basis.

The following communication pieces are attached if you would like more information about the Quality Infrastructure Program.

Ensuring Quality Infrastructure bill insert

The ICC has also created a Customer Bill of Rights for Illinois Water and Sewer Customers.

For more information about Illinois American Water’s tariffs and Part 280 rules, please see the links below:

Illinois American Water - Rules and Regulations and Water Tariffs
Administrative Code Part 280 Rules Implementation Checklist

*A typical Illinois American Water water service customer uses 4,500 gallons a month.