Sewer Surcharge Overview
Adjustments Approved to Fixed and Water Consumption Charges for 2020
The City of Windsor has announced adjustments to the Fixed and Water Consumption Sewer Surcharge rates for 2020. The majority of the expenditure increases in 2020 (i.e. 95%) are not due to increases in operations but are instead a result of the significant investment as a step towards achieving a long-term, sustainable funding level to address the major infrastructure upgrades that will be forthcoming from the Sewer Master Plan.
The adjustments to the rates will become effective on February 1, 2020.
The average customer that reduces water consumption similar to the trend may pay less of an increase for the sewer surcharge component of their water bill in 2020.
As always, consumers can reduce their sewer surcharge costs through continued conservation.
What is the Sewer Surcharge used for?
The Sewer Surcharge on the water bill contains a fixed charge component based on the size of the service and a consumption charge component based on water consumed. The revenue collected is used to fund capital projects largely related to alleviating basement flooding, along with operational expenditures related to sewer maintenance, sewage pumping stations and sewage treatment plants.
The $6 million in increased capital investment in 2020 will be used for inflationary pressures that continue to erode the purchasing power for the capital program ($1 million), and for additional capital works expected to be required from the Sewer Master Plan ($5 million).
Increased summer consumption for uses that typically don’t return water to the sewer system (e.g. filling pools, washing cars, watering grass, etc.) is not included in the calculation of the sewer surcharge.
The City, on behalf of its residents, maintains 1,760 km of sewers, 44 pumping stations and 2 major pollution control plants. These assets have a value of approximately $2 billion.
There is a continued need to comply with ever more stringent environmental regulations, which achieve important environmental objectives but are costly to implement. In addition, the effects of climate change are resulting in more frequent severe storms that increase the risks of flooding in the city. For example, the City recently spent $110 million to upgrade the Lou Romano Sewage Treatment Plant and $67 million on the Mario Sonego Storm Retention Treatment Basin (RTB).
Why is the Sewer Surcharge paid as part of the Water Bill?
The sewer surcharge is a charge assessed on your Windsor Utilities Commission water bill, as sewer related costs incurred by the City are excluded from the property tax bill.
This methodology supports the “User Pay Principle,” since a majority of the sewer surcharge related costs are directly related to the amount of water discharged into the sewer system and treatment plants. The transparency of allowing the consumer to monitor the amount of water used and sewer surcharge that they are being billed for allows the consumers the ability to reduce their water consumption, thus reducing the amount of sewer surcharge fee that they pay.
If you require additional information, please call 311.