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Wastewater 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 $80 million a year.

 

Wastewater rates help pay for:
  • Prevention of untreated sewage from flowing to Commencement Bay and freshwater streams
  • Reclamation of billions of gallons of water every year
  • Generation of biogas for energy
  • Manufacture of TAGRO premium gardening projects, including 32,000 cubic yards of TAGRO Mix every year
  • Operation, maintenance and replacement of the City's wastewater collection, transmission and treatment systems

How Do We Know How Much You Should Pay?

Rates are based on a formula that considers the quantity and quality of sewage to be treated based on each homeowner's and business owner's usage.

 


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 Residential Customers in 2017

Monthly rates for a single-family residence, effective January 1, 2017, are:

  1. A fixed charge of $23.88, plus
  2. A flow charge of $4.47 per hundred cubic feet of water used

A single family home that uses 7 ccf of water in the winter pays $55.17 per month for wastewater fees in 2017.

 

Ways to Reduce Your Wastewater Bill

  • Use less water during the winter months
  • Watch 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 a different wastewater rate than a hospital.

Monthly wastewater rates in 2017 for commercial and industrial customers include:

  1. A fixed charge of $11.40, plus
  2. A flow charge per hundred cubic feet (ccf) of water used. The flow charge for unmonitored customers ranges from $6.22 per ccf to $13.01 per ccf.
  3. Most businesses, which typically send most of the water they use through the wastewater system, have rates 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 $23.88 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 user group you are in.

Category 1 - $6.22 per ccf
Photo Finish Laboratories 
Taverns - no food preparation
Laundromats
Photo Studios
Car Washes
Lime Manufacturers

 

Category 2 - $6.48 per ccf
Hotels and Motels - no restaurant 
Hospitals 
Nursing Homes
Automotive Body, Paint, and Interior Repair
Drycleaning/Laundry Services
General Automotive Repair

 

Category 3 - $8.16 per ccf
Canned and Cured Fish
Linen Supply
Bowling Alleys - no restaurant
Fresh or Frozen Fish

 

Category 4 - $9.57 per ccf
Hotels and Motels with restaurant
Correctional Institutions

 

Category 5 - $9.69 per ccf
Industrial/Commercial Laundries
Retail Bakeries

 

Category 6 - $11.13 per ccf
Commercial Bakeries
Limited Service Restaurants (Category I)
Donut Shops with onsite baking

 

Category 7 - $12.59 per ccf
Grocery Stores - full service
Funeral Services with embalming 

 

Category 8 - $13.01 per ccf
Full Service Restaurants (Category II)
Establishments with full service food preparation (Taverns, Bowling Alleys)

For questions or more information, please contact Billing and Technical Services 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 Billing and Technical Services at (253) 502-2100.


Assistance Programs

Residents who qualify as low-income seniors or low-income disabled may be eligible for a rate reduction. If you think you might qualify, call Customer Solutions at (253) 502-8400 to find out how to apply. You'll find details on this and other bill-paying assistance on the Tacoma Public Utilities website.

 

Claims

If you believe your property has been damaged by a City sewer or storm drain backup, call our 24-hour spills hotline right away at (253) 502-2222. 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.