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W/S Superintendent

W/S Operator

Treatment Plant

(608) 489-3388

Utility Clerk

Sheila Schraufnagel

Utility Billing

 (608) 489-2521

Summer Deduct Meters

Deduct meters are now available for a $25 fee. Call Sheila Schraufnagel at (608) 489-2521 for more information.

What to Flush & What not to Flush

When you flush your toilet, flushed material leaves your home through pipes that connect to the City’s wastewater system. But did you know that many materials that are flushed or poured down the drain can harm or block the pipes in the system?

Toilet paper breaks down in water and rarely causes a blockage. Other materials may not break down, which can plug your pipes, and cause a sewer backup and flooded basement. Avoid a costly, messy, and time-consuming cleanup.

To help prevent a blockage, you should flush only:

  • Human waste
  • Toilet Paper
  • Water

  • Paper products (i.e. tissues, paper towel and paper napkins)
  • Wipes of any kind (i.e. baby wipes, cleaning and makeup wipes)
  • Disposable diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Q-tips, cotton balls and cotton swabs
  • Bandages and wrappings
  • Medications (i.e. pills, capsules, and liquids)
  • Dental floss
  • Disposable toilet cleaning brushes
  • Cat litter
  • Condoms
  • Hair from hairbrushes
  • Toothpicks
  • Fats, oils and grease
  • Vegetable and fruit scraps
  • Needles and sharps
  • Motor oil and paint thinner


Please dispose of these materials in the garbage or at the household hazardous waste drop-off sites.

Products may be advertised as flushable, but it doesn’t mean they are safe for your system.


Copper Public Education Program

Copper is a reddish metal that occurs naturally in rock, soil, water, sediment, and air. Its unique chemical and physical properties have made it one of the most commercially important metals. Since copper is easily shaped or molded, it is commonly used to make pennies, electrical wiring, and water pipes. Copper compounds are also used as an agricultural pesticide and to control algae in lakes and reservoirs.

Copper also occurs naturally in plants and animals. It is an essential element for all known living organisms including humans. However, very large single or long-term intakes of copper may harm your health.

Copper and its compounds are common in the environment. You may be exposed to copper by breathing air, eating food or drinking water containing copper. You may also be exposed by skin contact with soil, water or other copper-containing substances.

Copper forms differ when joined with one or more other chemicals. These may be naturally-occurring or manmade. Most copper compounds found in air, soil and water are strongly attached to dust or embedded in minerals, and cannot easily enter the body. These forms become dissolved in water and are not attached to other particles. In this form, copper is more likely to affect your health.

Levels of copper found naturally in ground water and surface water are generally very low; about 4 micrograms of copper in one liter of water (4 ug/l) or less. Copper levels may increase significantly if corrosive water comes in contact with copper plumbing and copper-containing fixtures in the water distribution system. This normally occurs if corrosive water remains motionless in the plumbing system for six hours or more. Copper in drinking water increases with the corrosivity of the water and the length of time it remains in contact with the plumbing.

Higher copper levels have sometimes been noted in new homes constructed with copper plumbing. Copper levels tend to decrease with time as coatings form a natural barrier between the water and the plumbing materials.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets drinking water standards and has determined that copper is a health concern at certain exposure levels. Copper, a reddish‑ brown metal, is often used to plumb residential and commercial structures that are connected to water distribution systems.  Copper contaminating drinking water as a corrosion by‑product occurs as the result of the corrosion of copper pipes that remain in contact with water for a prolonged period of time. Copper is an essential nutrient, but at high doses it has been shown to cause stomach and intestinal distress, liver and kidney damage, and anemia. Persons with Wilson's disease may be at a higher risk of health effects due to copper than the general public.  Any water system that exceeds the action level shall also monitor their source water to determine whether treatment to remove copper in source water is needed.

The easiest and most effective method for reducing exposure to copper is to avoid drinking or cooking with water that has been in contact with your house plumbing for more than six hours.  When first drawing water in the morning or after a work day, flush the system by running the cold water faucet for 2-3 minutes, or until the water gets as cold as possible.  (If you live in an apartment complex, flushing the system may take longer).  Water used for showering or washing also helps flush the system.  It is still a good idea to flush each faucet where water is drawn for drinking or cooking purposes since some fixtures contain copper.

Another option for reducing your exposure to copper is to purchase bottled water.  This may be a useful option, particularly if it will be used by young children as drinking water, or for making infant formula.  However, you should be careful to obtain bottled water which meets all drinking water standards.

Copper in our diet is necessary for good health. You eat and drink about 1000 micrograms (1000 ug) of copper per day. Drinking water normally contributes approximately150 ug/day. Immediate effects from drinking water which contains elevated levels of copper include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea. The seriousness of the effects can be expected to increase with increased copper levels or length of exposure.

Long-term exposure (more than 14 days) to very high levels of copper in drinking water has been found to cause kidney and liver damage in some people. Children under one year of age are more sensitive to copper because it is not easily removed from their system. People with liver damage or Wilson’s disease are highly susceptible to copper toxicity.

On the average, drinking water accounts for less than 5% of our daily copper intake. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has determined that copper levels in drinking water should not exceed 1300 ug/l. No adverse health effects would be expected if this level is not exceeded. Measures should be taken to reduce exposure to copper if this level is exceeded.

Elevated copper levels in drinking water may significantly increase your exposure to copper and cause adverse health effects. You may find that there is a metallic taste in your drinking water before copper levels are high enough to cause adverse health effects. You may also notice blue or blue-green stains around sinks and plumbing fixtures. The only way to be certain of the copper level in your drinking water supply is to have the water tested. It is recommended that you use a laboratory that is state certified to analyze copper levels in drinking water.

If you are being served by a public water system, the owner of the utility will have results of copper sampling which has been done in parts of the distribution system. If the EPA action level of 1300 ug/l for copper is exceeded in more than 10% of samples collected, the utility must conduct further testing to determine if the corrosivity of the water is contributing to an increase in the copper levels. They are also required to optimize corrosion control measures to reduce the corrosivity of the water to acceptable levels. If you have any questions regarding copper monitoring, contact your water utility.

If you are experiencing elevated copper levels in drinking water, it may be likely that lead levels are also elevated.  This is especially true if the plumbing system in your home or apartment contains lead solder joints, lead service lines, or brass fixtures.  Since lead and copper enter drinking water under similar conditions, it is advisable to test for lead when testing for copper.



Hillsboro Water Department

(608) 489-3388

Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes

Being prepared and informed may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes. The Hillsboro Water Utility provides information and suggestions around how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do freeze.

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
  • Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.
  • If you believe your water lateral is frozen, immediately call (608) 489-2521 or (608) 489-3388.

Online Utility Payments

The City is now working with Payment Service Network to offer online utility payments for your water and sewer bill. Follow the links and set up an account today!