Board Approves 2006 Wastewater Billing Reduction

Most customers in Lost Creek will see a reduction in their wastewater bills as a result of recent action taken by the Board. Because of the drier than normal winter many residents used more water for lawn irrigation than usual. Since water usage is used to estimate wastewater production this may have increased wastewater billing for some accounts in March and April.

Here’s how it works. The District’s wastewater plant processes about 280,000 gallons of wastewater per day, 365 days a year. The problem is to apportion the costs of treating that wastewater fairly among all the households we serve. Wastewater production in most households is relatively constant through the year while water usage increases during dry weather when more is used for irrigation. Water usage during the low irrigation months of December, January, and February of each year is used to estimate the normal wastewater production for each account. That level is then set as the maximum that account will be billed for wastewater until the next averaging period. You can, of course, be billed less than the maximum if your water usage in any month is less than the winter average. It’s not an exact science but it’s the best method available for apportioning wastewater treatment costs to the households that produce them.

Because of the drier weather this winter many customers used more water for irrigation than normal so their 2006 average was not a true measure of wastewater production. For these accounts the Board approved setting wastewater maximums back to last year’s 2005 levels. Meanwhile accounts whose averages stayed the same or decreased this year will use this winter’s lower averages.

Here’s an example: The Smith’s average water usage in the winter of 2005 was 6,000 gallons per month and increased to 20,000 per month in 2006. Their wastewater bill from May 2006 through February 2007 will be based upon their actual water usage each month up to a maximum of 6,000 gallons. The Jones’ average water usage in the winter of 2005 was 23,000 gallons per month and decreased to 10,000 gallons per month in 2006. Their wastewater bill from May, 2006 through February 2007 will be based upon their actual water usage each month up to a maximum of 10,000 gallons.

So, beginning with May usage, reflected on bills received on or about June 1 most customers will be paying no more for wastewater in 2006 than they did in 2005, and some will pay less.

posted: Thursday, May 26, 2005