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2007 Sewer Rate Study
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  Public Works

Sewer Rate

  • Sewer Rate
  • Wastewater System
  • Wastewater System Planning FAQs

Sewer Rate Quicklinks

arrowHow do I calculate my sewer bill?
arrowWho do I call with sewer questions?
arrowWhen should I receive my sewer bill?
arrowWhat are the sewer rates and are they same for all users?
arrowWhat are the different types of commercial classes?

Sewer Service Charge

The sewer service charge was established by the City Council in 1962 to pay for the operation and maintenance of the sewer collection system and sewage treatment. All residents connected to the City’s sewer system pay the service charge.

Sewer Rates

Report Cost of Service and Rate Study for Sewer Service (Report)

The City of Chula Vista has 3 user classes as follows:

Single-family Residential Rates

The single-family rate is based on winter water usage – an industry standard. This type of rate structure generally reflects the lowest amount of water consumption by all consumers. Readings are taken between November and April when most customers turn off their sprinklers and irrigation is at its yearly low.

For single-family customers, the monthly charge will be based on an average of their two lowest consecutive months within the defined period with a 90% rate of return and will remain the same for one year.

Multi-Family Residential & Commercial Rates

Rates for multi-family dwellings and commercial and industrial users are based on meter size, water usage and strength of effluent generated in order to comply with new state standards.

Definition of Commercial User Classifications

There are three classes of Commercial Users, based on strength of sewage generated:

  • High Strength (Greater than 500 mg / 1 SS)
  • Medium Strength (200 through 499 mg / 1 SS)
  • Low Strength (Less than 200 mg / 1 SS)

The strength of sewage is dependent on the level of Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (SS) in the sewage. Sewage with higher BOD and SS levels requires more treatment and therefore has higher rates.

  • The High Strength user category is defined as commercial businesses that discharge high strength sewage. This user class includes restaurants, large full service supermarkets, and food processors (i.e., bakery, deli, and butcher). etc.
  • Medium Strength users are defined as commercial businesses that discharge medium strength wastewater, including delis, bakeries, coffee and sandwich shops, bars, auto repair facilities with wash racks, grocery stores, medical offices, photographers, and laundry facilities.
  • The Low Strength users category is defined as commercial businesses including offices, retail stores and schools.

Sewer Rate Calculation Tables

When Should I Receive My Bill?

  • Sweetwater Authority customers (Western Chula Vista) receive a bi-monthly bill from the City's Finance Department.
  • Otay Water District Customers (Eastern Chula Vista) are billed monthly through the Otay Water District.
  • Property Tax Bill customers (Southern Chula Vista) see a line item on their annual property tax bill.

Contact Us

Western Chula Vista
Bi-Monthly Sweetwater Authority Customers
Finance Department
(619) 691-5117
Eastern Chula Vista
Otay Water Customers
Wastewater Engineering
(619) 476-2350
Southern Chula Vista
Property Tax Bill Customers
Wastewater Engineering
(619) 476-2350

For general information please call (619) 476-2350 or to contact us by e-mail, click here.

Wastewater System


Combined Sewer Rate Structure  


System Planning Components

Wastewater Management System & Capital Improvement Program Update

The City is updating its Wastewater Management System (WMS) and Wastewater Capital Improvement Program (WCIP) to make sure that infrastructure needs are identified in advanced, adequate funding is in place, and upgrades, replacements, and new installations occur in a timely manner.

The new WMS includes a state-of-the-art Asset Management Program that systematically evaluates the City's existing sewer infrastructure. Asset Management allows cities to proritize rehabilitation and replacement projects so money is spent where it's most needed.

The Wastewater Capital Improvement Program will utilize the information on infrastructure needs identified in the WMS and provide a detailed listing of projects that will meet these needs and the costs and funding sources for these projects.

What is Asset Management?

With tight budgets everywhere, it’s increasingly important for cities to get the most out of their existing infrastructure. Asset management is an approach to do just that.

It means…

  • Identifying the level of service that’s needed
  • Evaluating the condition of existing infrastructure assets (pipelines, pump stations, etc.)
  • Developing a strategic plan to ensure that assets are maintained, rehabilitated, and replaced in a timely manner, so service needs continue to be met

What is a Capital Improvement Project?

A Wastewater Capital Improvement Program (WCIP) identifies and prioritizes the projects needed to keep infrastructure – sewer pipelines, manholes, pump stations, and so on –  up and running, along with the sources of funding that will enable projects to be built. Like most cities, Chula Vista reviews and updates its CIPs every 5 years. The new Wastewater CIP will reflect the strategic financial and asset management planning built into the WMS process.

Frequently Asked Questions (Wastewater Engineering)

Wastewater Management System Update

What is a Wastewater Management System?

The City's Wastewater Management System (WMS) is a document "road map" guiding maintenance and improvements to sanitary sewer system infrastructure, including sewer lines, access manholes, pump stations, etc.

What is in the Wastewater Management System document?

The City's updated WMS accomplishes the following tasks.

  • Inventories the City's existing wastewater infrastructure, including installation date, material, capacity, and life expectancy
  • Determines the level of wastewater service that will be needed in the future to accommodate a growing population
  • Assesses alternative options for repairs and improvements to ensure that the needed level of service is met
  • Provides recommendations to increase the efficiency of the City's existing infrastructure
  • Presents a Wastewater Capital Improvement Program (WCIP) that identifies the projects that will be needed to maintain the needed level of service as the City's wastewater infrastructure continues to age and a growing population places increasing demands on the wastewater system; when certain repairs or improvements should be made; how much they will cost; and the available Sewer Fund balance that will enable projects to be built

What's special about Chula Vista's WMS and WCIP?

The updated WMS is part of a state-of-the-art Asset Management Program that systematically evaluates the City's existing infrastructure and prioritizes rehabilitation and replacement projects so money is spent where it’s most needed.

With tight budgets everywhere, it's increasingly important for cities to get the most out of their existing infrastructure. Asset management is an approach to do just that. It means...

  • Identifying the level of service that's needed
  • Evaluating the condition of existing infrastructure ("assets")
  • Developing a strategic plan to ensure that assets are maintained, rehabilitated, and replaced in a timely manner, so service needs continue to be met

The new WCIP will reflect the strategic financial and asset management planning built into the WMS process. An important aspect of the new WCIP will be distinguishing rehabilitation and replacement projects that maintain the system's existing capacity from improvement projects that increase the system's capacity to support a growing population. This makes sure that existing customers pay only for rehabilitation and replacement (capacity-maintaining) projects, while the cost of capacity increases is borne by future customers.

What is the planning period for the WMS?

The updated WMS will plan for rehabilitation, replacement, and improvements needed through the year 2050. However, like most cities, Chula Vista reviews and updates its WCIP every 5 years. This makes sure the WCIP is kept current with changes in construction and materials costs, Sewer Fund revenues, and funding availability.

How does the City pay for improvements to the wastewater system?

Sewer system operations and maintenance are funded with revenues from the Sewer Service Charge that customers pay through their sewer bill. This includes payment to the San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Department (Metro) for treating the City of Chula Vista's sewage.

Capital projects for rehabilitation and replacement of existing sewer infrastructure are funded by the Sewer Facilities Replacement Fund, also supported by customer rate payments.

Trunk sewer projects that expand or improve system capacity are funded through Sewer Capacity Charges paid by new development projects. The charge is proportional to the anticipated increase in use. Capital sewer projects related to specific large developments within the City are funded with the Sewer Development Infrastructure Fund (Sewer DIF), and paid for by the proponents of these large developments.

What sewer improvements are likely to occur in the coming years and how will they affect me?

The sewer improvements likely to occur are currently being determined through the WMS and WCIP process. Once the WMS and WCIP are complete, they will be available here so you can check long-term plans for your neighborhood. As individual projects are implemented in the future, the City will notice residents by mail, e-mail, and/or door hangers.

What is the benefit of updating the WWMP and the CIP?

  • Condition assessments identify ways to increase the efficiency of existing infrastructure, such as repairs or replacements to reduce inflow and infiltration (I&I) and save money on wastewater treatment costs
  • Forward planning allows rehabilitation, replacement, and improvements to be made before failures occur (repairs related to failures are generally much more expensive than preventative maintenance)
  • Focused improvements to the sewer system can be made in a manner that keeps the system in good working order for years to come in the most cost-effective way

Sewer Rate Review and Update

What does my sewer fee pay for?

Your sewer fee is used for:

  • Rehabilitation or replacement of aging sewer facilities, including sewer lines, access manholes, and pump stations
  • Payment to the City of San Diego for sewage treatment at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Maintenance and operation of the City's wastewater collection system

Why are sewer rates being updated?

The California Health and Safety Code requires agencies such as the City that provide water, wastewater and sewer service to adopt a schedule of fees at least once every five years (HSC Section 53756). Agencies are permitted to include a schedule of adjustments to adjust rates for inflation, as long as the adjustments do not exceed the cost of providing service. Agencies may also provide for automatic rate adjustments that "pass through" increases or decreases in wholesale charges adopted by another agency that provides services such as wastewater treatment.

Consistent with state law, the City is updating its sewer rates so they adequately reflect the cost of operating and maintaining the sewer system, given the rising costs of materials, energy, and labor.

Key considerations include:

  • Meeting upcoming and longer-term increases in the cost of wastewater treatment service provided by the City of San Diego
  • Investing in the infrastructure required to provide wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal service at a level that complies with state and federal regulations. Funding levels are based on needs identified through the City's Wastewater Management System and updated Capital Improvement Program, a multi-year financial plan now being updated with the goal of promoting financial stability and keeping long-term costs low.

When will the new rates go into effect?

The new rates will be effective July 2014.

. How are sewer rates determined?

Consistent with state law, sewer rates are set at a level that covers the cost of providing service but does not create a profit. Rates are calculated based on user "class" - single-family residential, multi-family residential, and commercial.

For single-family residences, rates are based on the amount of wastewater generated, which is proportional to the amount of potable water the residence uses. Rates are calculated based on winter water usage (typically the lowest water consumption of the year), assuming a 90% rate of return (i.e., 90% of the water used by a residence is returned to the sewer system as wastewater).

For multi-family residential dwellings, rates are based on water usage (assuming a 79% rate of return) and meter size. Rates for commercial customers are based on water usage (assuming a 90% rate of return), meter size, and on the strength (difficulty of treatment) of the wastewater effluent generated.

How much will sewer rates increase?

The following table provides a sample calculation of existing and adopted sewer rates.

Average Monthly Sewer Bill Consumption

User Class Current
(FY 13/14)
(FY 14/15)

Single-Family Residence
10 hcf

$40.16 $43.71 Increase of $3.55
Multi-Family Residential
1" Meter
35 hcf
$112.09 $122.33 Increase of $10.24

Med-Strength Commercial
2" Meter
70 hcf

$350.25 $380.09 Increase of $29.84


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