Council wastewater rates are very competitive

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018

In 2016, households in the seven-county Twin Cities area paid, on average, about $274 per year for wastewater collection and treatment service. That’s 41% less than households in our peer regions across the country—those that treat more than 100 million gallons of wastewater daily.

Treatment tanks.This comparison comes from the latest comprehensive survey that the National Association of Clean Water Agencies conducts every three years, released recently. The survey reporting 2016 rates also showed:

  • Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) treated wastewater at a cost of $2,703 per million gallons, compared with $3,837 on average for our peers.

  • MCES carried $448 in debt for each of the 2.8 million people we served, compared with $991 for our peers. Borrowing is needed to finance construction and rehabilitation of wastewater infrastructure.

MCES charges local governments for regional wastewater conveyance and treatment based on each community’s annual flow. Local governments, in turn, charge property owners to cover both local and regional costs. About 55% of the average retail sewer charge per household is paid to MCES, according to Dan Schueller, Principal Financial Analyst for MCES.

MCES conducts a survey of its 109 local government customers every two years to learn what they charge at the retail level for sewer service. The annual wastewater charge for a single-family home in 2018 ranged from $157 to $672 in the 109 metro area communities served by MCES. The weighted average was $307.

From 1990 to 2009, MCES sewer rates tracked closely to inflation. Since 2009, rate increases have averaged 3.6%. That is due, in part, to a 10-year, $1 billion region-wide initiative to accelerate updating and improving the aging wastewater collection and treatment system.

MCES operates more than 600 miles of large regional sewer pipes (interceptors) and 8 wastewater treatment plants.

More information about wastewater treatment

Posted In: Wastewater & Water

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