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Garbage Fee

This year, Chicago residences which receive garbage collection services provided by the Department of Streets and Sanitation will begin paying a garbage service fee of $9.50 per month per dwelling unit. The fee will pay for a portion of the costs associated with weekly garbage collection services provided to your residence.

Half of Chicago households (buildings with five dwelling units or more) already pay for garbage collection service from a private provider. The new City garbage fee impacts the other half of Chicago households (buildings with four dwelling units or less), which receive garbage pickup from the City.

The City’s garbage fee remains lower than the average fee paid by the half of Chicago households required to contract for private garbage collection. Chicago residents living in buildings with five or six dwelling units pay a private garbage hauler on average $10 to $16 per unit per month for private garbage removal. Further, the City’s garbage fee of $9.50 is comparatively lower than the average fees paid by residents of surrounding suburbs.

The garbage fee will appear on a new unified utility bill for City-provided water, sewer, and garbage services. The unified utility bill allows residents to receive one bill and make one payment each billing cycle, eliminating multiple payments or separate billing cycles for City-provided services. This new unified utility bill will continue to match the resident’s current water and sewer billing schedule – every other month for metered water accounts and every six months for non-metered water accounts.

In April 2016, residences will begin to receive the first unified utility bill with current charges for water and sewer services and current charges for garbage services. The first unified utility bill will also include catch up charges for garbage services received since the fees January 2016 effective date.

Please note that utility account balances may include unbilled charges for the garbage fee which are prorated from January 1, 2016.  Any unbilled garbage fee charges are not yet due and will be reflected on the next unified utility bill.

To help ease the transition to the unified utility bill and to allow residents to space out catch up garbage fee charges, the City is waiving all late payment penalties for 2016 for the garbage fee portion of your utility bill.

For more specific information on the garbage fee charges and the billing cycle, please click on your specific account type below – metered water account or non-metered water account.


Don’t know your account type? Your account type (metered or non-metered) is listed on your previous bill.

Late Payments and Payment Plan Options

To ease any additional costs associated with catch up billing for the garbage fee and help with the transition to the unified billing system, the City is waiving all late payment penalties for the garbage fee portion of utility bills in 2016.

Residents can split the garbage fee payments among multiple utility bills, or residents can make monthly payments online, by phone, via mail, or at one of the City’s payment centers or payment kiosks. Please note, late water and sewer payments will continue to be subject to penalties.

While residents do not need to sign up for a payment plan to take advantage of the garbage fee late payment amnesty for 2016, there are multiple payment plan options for residents to pay their utility bills.

Residents may apply for a payment plan option at any Department of Finance Payment Center or by calling Utility Billing Customer Service at 312.744.4426.

To learn more about the payment plan options, click here

Number of Dwelling Units at a Property

To help ensure residents are accurately billed for garbage collection, a simple self-certification process is available. This self-certification process allows residents to check the number of dwelling units identified at their property and update that information, where necessary.

Residents may view the number of units at their property online or by calling Utility Billing Customer Service at 312.744.4426. Resident may either mail the self-certification application to the City of Chicago’s Utility Billing Customer Service or complete the process online.

If the building has multiple owners or residents, such as a condominium, only one person or the building association needs to complete the self-certification process for the building.

Any updates to the utility bill may take up to three weeks to process. Therefore, some updates may not be reflected in the first utility bill. For updates that lower the number of units billed, the City will retroactively adjust the bill to reflect the updated number of dwelling units at the property. Subsequent bills will reflect the updated number of dwelling units.

The City will regularly audit the utility billing property list to ensure properties are receiving charges that accurately reflect the number of dwelling units.

If the City determines that the actual number of dwelling units is more than reported through the self-certification process, residents will be billed for additional dwelling units(s) retroactively, plus other penalties may apply.

To complete the self-certification process, click here.

Supporting Information

Department Main Office