Environmental Services (main) / Wastewater Management / Rates
Wastewater rates are based on the actual cost to build, maintain and operate the Wastewater Management system, including treatment plants, pumping stations, sewer pipes, maintenance crews and billing systems. This adds up to about $82 million a year.
Wastewater rates help pay for:
Upgrades to the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant to expand its capacity and prevent untreated sewage from overflowing to Commencement Bay and fresh-water streams.
Operation and maintenance of the City’s wastewater collection and treatment system.
How do we know how much you should pay? Through a complicated formula, we determine each homeowner’s and business owner’s proportionate share.
Residential wastewater rates
Homeowner wastewater rates are based on the amount of fresh water a household uses during the most recent four-month winter billing cycle, typically December through March, when water usage should be at its lowest. This eliminates any extra water used in summer gardening and yard maintenance, which doesn’t end up in the wastewater treatment system.
New customers are charged based on average residential use. A typical single family home in Tacoma uses 700 cubic feet, or 7 ccf, of water each month during the winter months. Once a customer establishes a winter water usage history, their monthly rates will be adjusted accordingly.
Monthly rates for a single-family residence, effective March 1, 2013, are:
- A fixed charge of $19.35, plus
A flow charge of $3.64 per hundred cubic feet of water used
The typical single family home pays $44.88 per month for wastewater fees.
Residents who qualify as low-income seniors or low-income disabled could be eligible for a rate reduction. If you think you might qualify, call (253) 593-3499 to find out how to apply. You'll find details on this discount program and other bill-paying assistance on the Tacoma Public Utilities website.
Ways to reduce your wastewater bill
- Use less water during the winter months
- Look out for leaks and other changes in winter water use that could result in higher consumption
Commercial wastewater rates
Different types of businesses send different amounts and concentrations of wastewater through the system. That’s why a restaurant will pay different wastewater rates than a hospital.
Monthly wastewater rates in 2013 for commercial and industrial customers include:
1. A fixed charge of $9.19, plus
2. A flow charge per hundred cubic feet of water used. The flow charge for unmonitored customers ranges from $4.85 per ccf to $11.11 per ccf.
3. Most businesses, which usually send most of the water they use through the wastewater system, have their rates calculated based on monthly water use measured through their water meters. About two dozen businesses have their rates calculated through sampling and metering of each business. A monthly minimum charge of $19.35 applies to all commercial wastewater customers per Tacoma Municipal Code 12.08.460.
For monitored customers, the flow charge is based on individual sampling results.
For unmonitored customers, the flow charge is set based on the specified strength for the category you are included in, as follows:
Category 1: $4.85/ccf
Photo Finish Laboratories
Taverns – No Food Preparation
Business Form Printers
Category 2: $5.14/ccf
Hotels and Motels – No Restaurant
Top and Body Repair Shops
Repair and Paint Shops
Auto Repair Shops
Asphalt Felts and Coating
Category 3: $6.47/ccf
Canned and Cured Fish
Fresh or Frozen Fish
Grocery Stores – Others
Bowling Alleys – No Restaurant
Category 4: $7.95/ccf
Hotels and Motels – With Restaurant
Category 5: $7.96/ccf
Category 6: $9.45/ccf
Bakery Stores – On-Site Baking
Restaurants (Category I)
Taverns – With Food Preparation (Category I)
Bowling Alleys – With Restaurant (Category I)
Category 7: $10.74/ccf
Grocery Stores – Full Service
Funeral Services – With Embalming
Category 8: $11.11/ccf
Restaurants (Category II)
Taverns – With Food Preparation (Category II)
Bowling Alleys – With Food Preparation (Category II)
For questions or more information, please contact Wastewater Management at (253) 502-2100.
Ways to lower your wastewater bill
- Some businesses (such as restaurants and taverns that prepare food) have the option of installing grease interceptors for a lower rate.
- Other businesses wanting to reduce wastewater costs should focus on conserving the amount of fresh water used.
For information about commercial or industrial wastewater rates, please call Wastewater Management at (253) 591-5588.
If you believe your property has been damaged by a City sewer or storm drain backup, call our Wastewater Management claims office right away at (253) 591-5588. The law allows you three years to file a claim for damages, but we can't pay unless we can investigate and document the damage, so it's better to call sooner rather than later. City staff will come out to inspect the property, document any damage and let you know if the damage is eligible for a claim. City staff will then walk you through the claim filing process.
For all other claims involving injuries or vehicle or property damage, call the City's Risk Management Department at (253) 591-5440.
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