Tacoma utility rates change March 1

The average Tacoma residential customer will pay a combined total of $2.95 more each month for surface water and wastewater services when new rates go into effect March 1, City of Tacoma officials announced Thursday. Monthly bills for a 30-gallon solid waste container will not be affected. Tacoma City Council approved the increases Feb. 12. A typical customer has a 30-gallon garbage container, lives on a 7,000-square-foot lot and uses seven ccf (100 cubic feet) of fresh water each month.


Residential curbside

Customers with 30-gallon garbage cans won’t see their rates increase in 2013, although those who use 60- and 90-gallon containers each week will see increases as the City continues phasing in a volume-based rate structure, where a 60-gallon container will ultimately cost twice as much as a 30-gallon can. A customer that currently uses a 20-gallon container will be switched to a 45-gallon container that will cost $27.42 per month.

The monthly rates for garbage collection are as follows:

  • 30-gallon can | (2012) $36.55 | (2013) $36.55 (switching to 60 gallons every other week)
  • 60-gallon can | (2012) $68.50 | (2013) $70.80 (switching to two 60-gallon every other week)

New container sizes, which will allow some residents to cut their bills, are being added as every-other-week garbage collection is phased in across the city starting in March. Recycling, yard/food waste, Call-2-Haul and household hazardous waste disposal services are included in the cost of residential garbage collection.

Tacoma Landfill disposal fees have not increased, and are $10 for the first 400 pounds, and $6.50 per 100-pound increment above 400 pounds (city residents); $7.50 per 100-pound increment — minimum $10 charge per load (non-city residents); and $6.50 per 100-pound increment — minimum $10 charge per load (commercial customers).

Solid waste rates and fees help pay for collection of garbage, recycling and yard/food waste; operation of the transfer facility at the landfill; transportation and disposal of waste material at a landfill; other infrastructure, operational and overheads costs for the landfill and environmental stewardship; and programs such as Call-2-Haul, the nuisance cleanup program, neighborhood cleanups and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility.


Wastewater Management residential customers will see an average increase of $1.94 per month, although actual bills depend on water use. Wastewater charges are based on the amount of fresh water a household uses during the four most recent winter months when water usage should be at its lowest — typically December through March. The monthly wastewater bill for a typical single-family home (using 7 ccf of water a month during the winter months) will go from $42.94 to $44.88 on March 1.

Wastewater rates help pay for operation and maintenance of the City’s wastewater collection and treatment system; upgrades to the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant; and preventing pollution of Commencement Bay.


Surface Water Management residential customers will see an average rate increase of $1.01 per month, but actual bills depend on lot size and level of development. The rate for a typical single-family lot (7,000 square feet) goes from $17.82 in 2012 to $18.83 per month on March 1.

Surface Water rates help pay for operation and maintenance of stormwater pipe and catch basins; pollution prevention; efforts to control urban flooding; stormwater system inspections and monitoring; and projects needed to meet state requirements.