Tacoma Utility Rates Increase in 2005

Tacoma residents will pay about $5 more each month for their garbage, sewer, surface water and drinking water services next year. The average total increase adds $5.03 to a typical customer’s utility bill. A typical customer has a 30-gallon garbage can, lives on a 7,000-square-foot lot and uses 700 cubic feet of fresh water each month. The Tacoma City Council approved the increases Nov. 2, and the rates take effect Jan. 1.


Tacoma Solid Waste Management is raising rates for its residential customers an average amount of 8 percent next year, and at the same time the utility is lowering rates for some of its commercial customers. The rate restructuring is a step toward charging residential customers the true cost of the services they receive. Currently, some commercial customers are subsidizing the cost of residential service.

Tacoma’s solid waste rates are based on the size of garbage container a customer chooses. In 2005, a 20-gallon garbage container goes from $18.10 to $19.55 per month; a 30-gallon container goes from $24.20 to $26.10 per month; a 60-gallon container goes from $33.85 to $36.50 per month; and a 90-gallon container goes from $44.85 to $48.40 per month.

Since comprehensive recycling and yard waste services are included in the cost of garbage pickup, Solid Waste Management encourages Tacoma residents to switch to a 30-gallon garbage container or smaller and to get a larger recycling container. Residents also may request up to two 90-gallon yard waste containers for no additional cost. For more information on Tacoma’s garbage and recycling services, call (253) 591-5543.


In an effort to more fully cover the cost to provide landfill services, fees at the Tacoma Landfill will rise in 2005. City residents will notice a jump in price from $5 to $10 for the first 400 pounds of garbage they take to the landfill. Also, the cost for City residents disposing of more than 400 pounds increases from $4.50 to $6.25 per 100-pound increment (exceeding the initial 400 pounds).

Non-City residents and commercial customers will see an increase from $4.50 to $6.25 per 100-pound increment in addition to a new minimum $10 charge per load.

The Tacoma Landfill fees help pay for:

*Operation of the transfer facility

*Processing and compaction of waste material

*Transportation and tipping fees for Tacoma’s waste material at a Pierce County landfill

*Debt service for the Tacoma Landfill environmental cleanup

*Maintenance of the landfill’s gas-to-energy and groundwater extraction systems, and the protective cap


Wastewater Management residential customers will see an average increase of 1.7 percent in 2005, but each customer’s situation will be different depending on actual usage. Wastewater charges are based on the amount of fresh water a household uses during the most recent winter months—typically December through March. The monthly wastewater bill for a typical single-family home (using 700 cubic feet of water a month during the winter months) will go from $30.31 in 2004 to $30.72 in 2005.

The new revenue will fund upgrades to the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant to expand its capacity and prevent untreated sewage from overflowing to Commencement Bay and other fresh-water streams, as well as funding continued maintenance to the City’s surface water collection system. For more information on sewer services in Tacoma, call (253) 502-2100.


Surface Water Management residential customers will see an average increase of 6 percent in 2005, but each customer’s situation will be different. The rate for a typical single-family lot (7,000 sq. ft.) goes from $11.59 per month in 2004 to $12.28 per month in 2005.

The City uses its surface water revenue to operate and maintain more than 400 miles of public stormwater pipe, 20 detention ponds/structures, four pump stations and more than 17,000 storm drain catch basins. In addition, the City uses its revenue to improve water quality in Tacoma as well as to comply with federal regulations associated with the City’s stormwater permit, and to fund the ongoing Thea Foss Waterway Superfund cleanup. For more information about surface water fees in Tacoma, call (253) 502-2100.

Learn more about garbage, sewer and surface water rates at http://www.cityoftacoma.org/esrates.


Tacoma Water rates will increase an average of 12.5 percent systemwide, with one step to begin Jan. 1, 2005, and the second step on Jan. 1, 2006. Most residential customers will see an increase of approximately $2 a month in each year. Tacoma Water requested the rate increase to address a number of needs, including renewing and replacing the oldest parts of the water systems; meeting federal requirements for water treatment; environmental responsibilities; responding to actions of other government agencies, such as the need to move water mains because of road-widening projects; and future water supply. For more information about Tacoma Water rates, call (253) 502-8247.