Water and Sewer Rates
The City of Westminster provides water and wastewater service to its residents and businesses. It is our responsibility to maintain the water and wastewater systems that provide the great quality drinking water you use, and the dependable wastewater service you trust.
In addition to providing drinking water to its residents, Westminster also supplies drinking water to people outside of the city limits. These customers include the City of Federal Heights, an additional 2,000 customers in Shaw Heights, and other unincorporated areas around the city. (Accounts outside of Westminster's city limit pay a higher rate than those within the City.)
Every two years the city reviews the water and sewer rates to ensure that they are set to sufficiently recover the costs of providing water and wastewater service to city residents.
The 2015-2016 budget includes a 4 percent water rate increase in both 2015 and 2016, which would apply to the sale of residential, irrigation, commercial and reclaimed water, as well as the monthly meter service fee. It also includes a 6.25 percent rate increase to sewer rates for residential and commercial customers each year in 2015 and 2016.
For the average single-family home, these rate increases equate to an increase of $2.80 per month in the 2015 water and sewer bill. In 2016, the combined increase would result in an increase of $2.94 to the average single-family monthly bill.
The City’s water and wastewater rates continue to remain comparable to those of its neighbors along the Front Range. To help you see where Westminster’s rates compare to those of some of our neighbors, we have included a graph illustrating Westminster’s 2015 and 2016 rate increases along with the 2014 rates of neighboring cities. This graph will be revised in early 2015 with the updated rates for other cities.
What do your rates fund?
Your rates fund the operations of our water and wastewater systems. This includes chemicals, power, parts and staff. A portion of the rate increase is used for maintaining Standley Lake reservoir, as well as 404 miles of water distribution pipe, the Semper and Northwest water treatment plants, the reclaimed water treatment plant, the Big Dry Creek wastewater treatment plant and 532 miles of wastewater collection pipelines.
Your rates fund a number of projects to repair or replace components of these two systems. Portions of the city’s utility infrastructure have been in place for over 100 years, so there are always replacements and improvements that need to be made. We are constantly assessing the condition of these systems to ensure that they are in the best shape to provide service to your home or business. This allows the city to have a well-maintained and dependable system with minimal interruptions to service.
One example of how we’ve worked to keep the water system operating and save our customers money is water pipeline breaks. In 2006 the city significantly increased its investment in replacing aging water lines. We used to get around 150 breaks per year before 2005 and now we are seeing around 50-60. The average cost of a water break repair is about $4,000 per incident, including materials, staff time, fuel and other costs. By replacing older water lines we are reducing the number of service interruptions that our customers experience and we are saving approximately $400,000 over previous levels of water line replacement costs.
The 2015 and 2016 rate increases adhere to the city’s fiscal policies that were adopted by City Council to provide for the long-term sustainability of the utility. Your rates will help to fund repairs and replacements to our utility system to keep it running smoothly. By implementing fair and equitable water and wastewater rates, we can make these repairs to the system in a timely manner, reducing costs and service interruptions.
The city works diligently to build and maintain a financially sustainable utility. We are proud of our AAA/AA+ bond rating, which reflects the city’s strong financial planning, low debt burden and affordable water and wastewater rates.