Sewer Services FAQ

Sewer Services FAQ

Why does the City only consider written protests when considering adjustments to sewer service changes?

The City follows the requirements of Proposition 218 when considering adjustments to sewer service charges.  In accordance with Proposition 218, the City must mail a Notice of Proposed Sewer Service Charges to all affected property owners that specifies the basis and reason for the charges, information about the public hearing at which the proposed charges will be considered, and how the property owner can protest the proposed changes.  At the public hearing, the proposed sewer service charges are subject to "majority protest".  That means that if more than 50% of property owners submit written protests before the end of the public hearing, then the City Council cannot adopt the proposed sewer service charges.

Who do I contact with City of Livermore Sewer billing issues?

You may contact City of Livermore billing staff Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at (925) 960-4320.

Why doesn't the change in sewer service charges match the percent increase approved by the City Council?

The Comprehensive Water and Wastewater Cost of Service Study provided by Raftelis Financial Consultants determined a need for adjustments to sewer service charges based on the total required revenue to operate the utility. The City Council approved a 7 percent increase in revenue. These revenue requirements were allocated based on the system demand by customer classes, and the percent change in a customer's class service charge reflects the proportion of the class’ demand on the system. Therefore, some of the customer classes required additional adjustments to maintain equity between the different classes to remain legally compliant with Proposition 218. The largest of the equity-adjustments occurs in the multi-family category, and is caused by the previous rates under-collecting revenue from this customer class. 

Previously multi-family rates were based on lower flow assumptions for the customer class that could not be supported by occupancy data.

The condominium classification could no longer be supported as a distinct class by the flow data, and therefore has been eliminated. These customers became part of the multi-family classification due to similar demands on the sewer system.

Why are there new charges on the commercial and institutional customer's bill? What is the new fixed charge for commercial customers?

Previously, commercial and institutional customers were assessed a minimum charge equal to the Single Family Residential charge, however this does not meet the cost of service requirements.  The Comprehensive Water and Wastewater Cost of Service Study proposed recovering fixed costs from commercial customers via a monthly fixed charge in addition to a volume-based charge.

A portion of the costs are not recovered via the fixed charge, resulting in a reduction in the proposed volume-based rates.

What do you mean by fixed charges and volume-based charges?

Fixed charges cover the costs of providing sewer service that is not affected by the volume of sewage treated (e.g., customer service costs).  Volume-based charges cover the costs that vary with flow (e.g., pumping, electrical, and chemical costs).

What happened to the Sewer Lateral Program charges?

The Sewer Lateral Program provides for the cleaning, maintenance and repair of a Single Family Residential customer's sewer lateral between the sewer main in the street and their permitted two-way curbside lateral cleanout.  The cost to cover the Sewer Later Maintenance Program is incorporated into the Single Family Residential sewer charge.

How often has the sewer service charge been increased? Why is the increase so high?

Sewer service charges were last increased in 2008, followed by six years of no increases.  There were nominal increases in Fiscal Years 2015-16 and 2016-17.  Individual rate increases tend to be larger when rates are not adjusted regularly to keep up with inflation.  Sewer charges have actually increased more slowly than the rate of inflation over the last 13 years.