The Racine Wastewater Commission establishes the rates that are charged to customers based upon the anticipated amount of flow that will be received at the treatment plant in the next calendar year. These rates are then approved by the Racine Common Council on an annual basis in accordance with the sewer agreement. If the trend is for flow to increase, then rates will likely decrease. If the trend is expected to decrease then the rates will likely increase. Rates are based upon a certain dollar per million gallon rate. Most of the flow at a treatment plant is based upon what is called a normal domestic strength waste characteristic coming from the average customer. These rates are known as Class 1 rates. Industries may discharge higher than normal domestic strength waste and these rates are called Class 2 rates. Sampling is performed at various industries throughout the year to determine the strength of their waste in order to apply Class 2 charges to specific industries. Many industries participate in an industrial pretreatment program whereby they have internal treatment systems to reduce the strength and composition of their waste in order to reduce the burden at the treatment plant and in turn reduce their costs of treatment at the plant.
Wastewater Rates - From Adopted Budget
|| Rate per 100 cubic feet
|| Quarterly Service Charge
| City of Racine
| Elmwood Park
| North Bay
| HouseHold Hazardous Waste Charge
For wastewater rates in Caledonia, Mt. Pleasant, Sturtevant and Wind Point, please consult with your Village or their sewer commission for further information on wastewater charges.
Summer sewer rates are based on winter usage.
Break Even and the True up:
With the adoption of the sewer agreement in 2002, the Wastewater Utility was required to adopt a rate structure where it cannot make a profit or take a loss in any given year. Let’s say for instance that it may require $10 million in revenue to operate the Utility in a specific year. Rates are established and it happens to be a dry year and the flow at the plant is off by 10%. This results in a deficit of revenue of $1 million. That means the operation lost $1 million. The agreement says that the revenue deficit needs to be made up in the next budget cycle. So going into the next rate making cycle the Utility now has to have a budget with a revenue requirement of $11 million to make up for the loss in the previous year. This means that if everything else stays the same in the expenses to run the plant, that rates have to go up 10% in that year to make up the difference from the previous year. Conversely if the flow at the plant would have exceeded expectations in a given year, then the rates in the next budget cycle would go down proportionately in the next budget making cycle.
Effects of Infiltration and Inflow:
You would expect that the sanitary sewer system is a tight and a closed system but that is not the case. Groundwater and rain water are major factors in dealing with peak flow scenarios at the treatment plant and in the collection system. Flows can increase tenfold when it rains. This requires the plant operators to be cognoscente of the weather and to stand ready to switch gears at the treatment plant. This annual unknown of how much rainfall will fall and how rapidly it falls can cause major fluctuations in revenues at the plant and the resulting rates in not only the year the rain falls, but in the subsequent years thereafter affecting the true-up.
Rates in your Village or City:
The Racine Wastewater Commission determines the rate that will be charged on a per gallon basis to municipal entities like a local Village. In turn, that Village adds up other costs that they may have to operate their collection system of pipes and lift stations as well as office staff and engineering costs. Locally the Villages of Mt. Pleasant, Caledonia, Sturtevant and North Bay charge their residential customers a flat quarterly fee to cover their costs. In that way their Village sewer commissions know what revenue they can count on in a given fiscal year. Just because the wastewater utility may raise or lower its rates to the Villages, does not necessarily mean that the Village may raise or lower the rate to their customers. If you have question about your sewer charges please contact the Village or City where you may reside.
Sewer Charges in the City of Racine:
Sewer charges in the City of Racine are invoiced to the customer based off of a quarterly water meter reading for residential customers. So a customer in Racine has his or her charges based off of what they would use at their individual home or business. If you conserve water and use less, your sewer bill will be lower. Racine customers also pay a fixed quarterly capital charge to pay off the debt for larger projects constructed called Capital Improvements. The capital charge goes to pay back the long term borrowing for improvements completed at the wastewater plant in 2005 as well as other projects in the collection system to alleviate flooding in certain parts of the City. It also provides the City with a funding source to repair and maintain a rather large collection system of pipes that are often between 50 and 150 years old. City residents will also see a quarterly charge on their bills for funding the local Household Hazardous Waste program.