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City Council Approves Sewer Rate Increase
New rates will be effective July 1, 2010 and on July 1, 2011

April, 2010

During the sewer and water rate adjustments that have been made over the last several years, the City has consistently indicated that similar increases would be occurring each year for the foreseeable future. At a public hearing on April 12, 2010, the City Council approved a two-year increase in sewer service charges in order to fund necessary rebuilding of aging facilities, meet new mandated regulatory permit requirements, and keep rates aligned with the actual cost of providing sewer service in our community.

Why is this sewer rate increase necessary?
The City’s sewer utility is self-supporting, which means that it is funded primarily by sewer service charges to customers. Sewer rates must be adequate to fund the operations, maintenance, and capital improvement expenses of the City’s collection system, as well as for the regional wastewater treatment plant.

Over the coming years, increased funding is necessary for the repair and replacement of aging City sewer infrastructure - many of the City’s sewer pipelines are over 70 years old and approaching the end of their useful life. This will help to ensure that the community continues to have safe and reliable sewer service. The City also faces new costs for state-mandated preventive maintenance programs.

Additionally, the South Bayside System Authority (SBSA) (a regional wastewater treatment facility where Redwood City’s waste water is treated) is embarking on over $340 million (in 2008 dollars) of long-term capital needs projects. Based on Redwood City’s share of wastewater flow to the SBSA facility, the City will be required to fund about $206 million in projects at the treatment plant over the next decade, including $90 million of high-priority projects within five years. These projects are needed to replace old facilities and enable the regional sewer plant to meet new, stricter wastewater permit requirements. For information about SBSA capital replacement program, visit the website at

Approved Increases to Monthly Basic Service Charge for RESIDENTIAL Customers

Monthly cost at current rate

Monthly cost at proposed rate as of July 1, 2010 Monthly cost at proposed rate as of July 1, 2011




 Approved Increases to Service and Usage Charges for COMMERCIAL Customers

The minimum monthly charge for all commercial sewer customer types will increase from its present rate of $44.70 to $48.72 effective July 1, 2010, and then to $53.10 effective July 1, 2011.

The new commercial usage rates, for water usage above the minimum charge, are based on the number of units of water used, depending on the type of business.

Changes to Usage Rates for COMMERCIAL Customers

rate per unit
New rate
per unit
$ Increase
per unit
Institutional / Public $3.29 $3.59 $3.91
Retail / Commercial $3.67 $4.00 $4.36
Hospitals $3.67 $4.00 $4.36
Restaurants $8.91 $9.71 $10.58
Supermarkets $8.91 $9.71 $10.58
Industrial $2.93 $3.19 $3.48

What is the approval process for the proposed sewer rate increase?
The City Council discussed, considered, and approved this two-year sewer rate increase at a public hearing on April 12, 2010. As required by law, the City mailed out public hearing notices to all its water customers.

The new sewer rates will become effective on July 1st, 2010, and July 1st, 2011. Based on our bi-monthly billing cycle, utility bills issued on or after July 1st, 2010 (and July 1st, 2011) and before August 1st, 2010 (and August 1st, 2011), will be charged at a compound rate reflecting 1 month at the old rate and 1 month at the new rate. All bi-monthly bills issued on or after August 1st, 2010 (and August 1st, 2011) will be charged at the new rates.

Redwood City provides wastewater service to approximately 26,500 residential and 1,500 commercial customers located in and around the City. Wastewater is collected via a network of 192 miles of sewer pipelines and 31 sanitary sewer pump stations, and is then transported to the SBSA for treatment and disposal.

The City has a comprehensive, long-term financial plan for the sewer utility, and over the next two years gradual increases will continue, in order to meet long- term operating and capital needs.

For more information on sewer and wasterwater issues, please feel free to contact our Public Works staff at 650-780-7464, or send an email to

(Go to Sewer Services main page)

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