Rates & Charges

Competitiveness and value

MCES strives to keep wastewater rates below the national average for large-sized utilities. MCES also contributes to the economic vitality of the region through quality and cost-effective wastewater utility management.

The chart below compares Metropolitan (Twin Cities) retail rates (city rates which include MCES' wholesale charges) to other publicly owned treatment systems around the country. Information is from the 2017 National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Financial Survey, and compares average annual retail rates (the chart includes all agencies that treat more than 100 mgd and reported their rates to NACWA; in 2017, this was 23 agencies). Of these 23, the Twin Cities region has the fourth lowest average retail sewer rate (i.e., 86% have higher rates), which is 41% lower than the peer group average.

A chart showing the average retail sewer charges per household for large-sized utilities per NACWA's 2017 survey. The average across all utilities is $468, while MCES has the fourth-lowest rate at $274.

Municipal Residential Wastewater Retail Rates

In 2016, the regional average retail residential sewer rate per household in the Twin Cities for wastewater treatment was $274. That yearly charge is about 40% lower than the national average ($468) for peer agencies (those that treat more than 100 million gallons of wastewater per day and respond to National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)'s triennial Financial Survey).

Comparison of rates based on NACWA's survey:

Year Twin Cities Average Retail Rate[1] National Average Rate[2] % Twin Cities is lower National Ranking[3]
2016 $274 $468 41% 4 of 23 (86th percentile)
2013 $235 $404 40% 7 of 25 (75th percentile)
2010 $216 $393 45% 5 of 24 (83rd percentile)
2007 $195 $318 42% 5 of 22 (81st percentile)
2004 $181 $261 26% 6 of 23 (77th percentile)
2001 $186 $226 23% 6 of 31 (83rd percentile)
1998 $177 $222 23% 8 of 29 (72nd percentile)
1995 $171 $221 24% 8 of 29 (75th percentile)

[1]: Rate reported to NACWA in their triennial survey.
[2]: Includes peer agency group (those that treat more than 100 million gallons per day) from NACWA's triennial survey.[3]: Because of the different number of responses in each year, the percentile rank of MCES is also provided. This represents the percentage of respondents that reported higher retail rates than MCES.

2018 Survey of Municipal Residential Wastewater Rates (PDF)

Comparing the Value

When compared to other household service costs, the Twin Cities average retail charge for sewer service is a bargain. The following graph shows average household costs per month.

Bar graph comparing average monthly utility rates with Twin Cities Sewer rates listed seventh of nine rates.


  1. Cable TV: $78--Average cable bill was $78 in 2011 ($53 for basic no frill service) per market research firm SNL Kagan
  2. Electric: $72--Minnesota average in 2010 per Citizens League
  3. Natural Gas: $58--CenterPoint Energy average residential customer budget plan in February 2012
  4. Wireless Phone: $50--Average cell phone bill per May 2009 Consumer Reports
  5. Phone: $24--Qwest's rate for basic telephone service (2012) including taxes and fees
  6. Trash: $21--Average of six haulers in St. Paul for 60 gallon service including taxes and fees per MPCA report Analysis of Waste Collection Service Arrangements dated March 2009
  7. Sewer Service: $18--Average retail rate per household in the Twin Cities metropolitan area in 2010. MCES receives a portion of this amount (about 70%), with the remaining going to city governments
  8. Water Supply: $16--2008 average charge for Minneapolis and St. Paul combined (based on 60,000 gallons/household/year) per Utility Rates Survey from Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services. Rates for most Twin Cities suburbs are about 15 - 50% lower than this.
  9. Stormwater Utility fee: $7--Average for St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2007.


Dan Schueller