Sewage rates may go up to fund mandatory project

The city is embarking on a federally mandated project to reduce the stormwater and sewage overflow that currently enters local waterways. “Although the work is mandatory, restoring our waters is important to our quality of life,” says Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Director Ray Hoffman “In short, we believe it’s the right thing to do, because it enables us to better preserve the region’s environment and natural resources for future generations.” The city currently sends 100-million gallons of raw sewage and stormwater into Puget Sound during or after heavy rainfall, a number they’d like to shrink by 60 percent.

The 15 year Combined Sewage Overflow project is expected to cost $500 million and SPU is asking that rate payers shell out more money starting in 2011. The proposed increases include four-percent more for residential wastewater in 2011 and 2012 and a drainage increase of 12.5 percent in 2011 and 11.5 percent in 2012. The Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhood Committee of the Seattle City Council will be discussing the rate hikes at Tuesday’s meeting. The presentation by SPU on the solid waste increase can be found here (.pdf) and the presentation on drainage and wastewater rates can be found here (.pdf).

Construction on a roadside raingarden in Ballard.

Ballard is the test neighborhood for the city’s “green solution” to the overflow problem. As we’ve written before, the city will reimburse certain homeowners (see map of eligible homes below) who participate in the RainWise program.

Resources for homeowners:

  • Residential RainWise information
  • Do research on controlling storm water, find out your home’s storm water impact, see what neighbors are doing
  • Map of eligibility area (.pdf)
  • Find out if you qualify for incentives & how to apply
  • Contractors listed by Seattle Public Utilities
  • Thank you Scott at for photos and help with this story!

    Geeky Swedes

    The founders of My Ballard

    4 thoughts to “Sewage rates may go up to fund mandatory project”

    1. Raw sewage gets pushed into the Sound every heavy rain, and will continue being dumped into the water in the future yet dogs can’t have beach access. That is UNTREATED sewage folks. And this is acceptable. Wow. Great infrastructure and planning.

    2. Many areas of Seattle (for instance North of 85th) don’t have storm drainage, yet I believe the rate increase will be inflicted on them. Not sure I see the justice in this, so I’ll pay for storm drainage and rain gardens on private property South of 85th, yet I can’t take advantage of the program.

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