As established during the Board of Commissioners’ 2020 rate study, monthly water rates will increase in 2021 by approximately 2.5%. Sewer rates will increase by approximately 8.25% in the same period. Although the Board will be looking at rates for years 2022 and beyond as part of a rate study to be done in the middle of this year, the rates are currently projected to increase by the same percentages through 2024.
The larger increases planned for sewer rates are driven largely by the need for the District to expand and upgrade the wastewater system over the coming years. In particular, the District will be devoting a large portion of its capital improvement program dollars over the next ten years to the two wastewater treatment plants. Some of the upgrades are driven by regulatory requirements that have been mandated for wastewater plants that discharge treated effluent to the Puget Sound.
The rates for those in the City of Federal Way will include the 7.75% excise tax levied by the City. These taxes were already included in 2020 rates. It is anticipated that customers in unincorporated King County will see an increase in rates in 2021 or 2022 to address the right-of-way rental charge that King County is imposing on utilities with facilities located in King County right-of-way.
Despite the increases, District water and sewer rates will continue to remain at the lower end of rates charged by neighboring water and sewer utilities. Stay tuned for the March/April Newsletter, which will contain our 2021 Water and Sewer Rate Survey.