What do I pay for...
The Portland City Council adopts adjusted sewer rates annually on July 1, the start of the city's fiscal year. The average monthly sewer bill for single family residential sewer customers increased 5.3% on July 1, 2013 making Portland's average monthly residential bill for sewer and stormwater services an estimated $62.74.
In the Billing Details section of City of Portland combined sewer, stormwater and water bills (see example below), the services listed that the Bureau of Environmental Services provides are Sewer Volume, Stormwater Off-site, Stormwater On-site, and Portland Harbor.
Environmental Services charges are highlighted on this example of a Portland combined sewer, stormwater, water bill
Here is a summary of how Environmental Services spends charges collected for those services:
59.4%, or $37.29, of the average monthly bill pays for sewage treatment, maintenance, and debt service for the sewer collection and treatment systems. Each dollar of the sewer volume charge pays for the following services:
Operate and Maintain Sewer Facilities and Wastewater Treatment Plants - $0.30
- Repair and maintain the sewer collection system consisting of more than 2,500 miles of pipe and nearly 100 sewage pump stations
- Operate and maintain the Columbia Boulevard and Tryon Creek sewage treatment plants
- Safely return treated wastewater to the Columbia and Willamette rivers
- Beneficially re-use biosolids
Plan, Design and Manage Sewer Facility Construction - $0.03
Plan, design, inspect and manage projects to construct new sanitary sewer facilities and replace old facilities
- Finance Construction Projects - $0.61
- Construct city sewer facilities
- Repair and replace aging sewer pipes and pump stations
- Expand and upgrade sewer treatment facilities
- Protect Public Health, Safety and the Environment - $0.06
- Administer federal, state and local environmental regulations
- Support local planning and public education in city watersheds
- Inspect and monitor private activities that pose a pollution risk to the environment
- Review and approve private development plans
39.6%, or $24.87, of the average monthly bill pays for operation, maintenance and debt service for stormwater management facilities.
- The Off-site charge pays for repairs, maintenance, and repair of facilities that manage stormwater runoff from city streets.
- The On-site charge pays for facilities that manage stormwater runoff from private property.
Each dollar of stormwater management charge pays for these services:
Plan, Design, Construct and Finance Stormwater Management Facilities - $0.53
Plan, design, engineer, inspect and manage projects to construct new stormwater management facilities and replace old facilities
Pay debt service of construction bonds
Operate and Maintain Stormwater Facilities and Treat Stormwater Runoff - $0.24
Repair and maintain sewer pipes, ditches, culverts, sumps, sedimentation manholes, water pollution control facilities and ponds
Restore Watershed and Environmental Health - $0.12
Administer federal, state and local environmental regulations
Engage citizens in local planning and public education efforts
Identify capital requirements for stormwater management and the restoration of natural habitat
Initiate projects to clean up the Portland Harbor Superfund site
Prevent Pollution and Assist Developments in Meeting Stormwater Management Standards - $0.10
Inspect and monitor private activities that pose a pollution risk to the environment
Review and approve private development plans
- 1.0%, or $0.58, helps fund the city's participation in the ongoing federal Superfund investigation in the Willamette River's Portland Harbor.
- Debt service for sewer and stormwater infrastructure accounts for about 36.6% or $22.96 of the average monthly bill.*
*Environmental Services computes total debt service by dividing cash transfers to the Debt Redemption Fund by annual system costs. (This assumes that non-rate revenue goes to offset debt service at the same ratio and that the ratio of debt service to annual system costs is the same for commercial as it is for residential.)
- Debt service for CSO control projects accounts for about $18.56 of the average monthly bill of $62.74.
- Operating and maintaining CSO control facilities accounts for about $1.39 of the average monthly bill of $62.74.
- CSO debt service and operations and maintenance together account for an estimated 30.8% of the average monthly single-family sewer bill.
- Nearly $82.6 million of the bureau’s annual debt service payments are related to the CSO program.