DENVER, June 20 — The Metro Wastewater Reclamation District’s board of directors approved the 2013 budget at the District’s regular board meeting last night. It includes annual charges for service of $109,901,727 for 2013. This figure is eight percent higher than the 2012 annual charges for service. For existing households, this translates into an increase of about 91 cents a month more than 2012.

Annual charges are the fees the Metro District charges metro area cities and sanitation districts for treating their wastewater before discharging it to the South Platte River. Annual charges are based on the amount of wastewater treated and how much pollution must be removed. 

Capital costs are driving this budget. Among the most expensive capital projects that will contribute to the $1.26 billion the District expects to spend in the 2012-2022 planning period are these:

  • The $211.5 million for the South Secondary Improvement Project, which began in late 2009 and is needed to meet stringent nitrogen and ammonia removal requirements recently imposed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (see http://www.metrowastewater.com/aboutus/Pages/reports.aspx
  • A new Northern Treatment Plant (NTP) north of Brighton that is needed to provide service to the District’s growing northern service areas. The current cost estimate for constructing the NTP facilities is $475.9 million (see http://www.metrowastewater.com/know/NTP/Pages/default.aspx )
  • The $67 million North Secondary Improvement Project, which was completed last year and was needed to meet the same stringent nitrogen and ammonia removal requirements noted above

The average household in the Metro District’s service area pays an estimated one-third less for wastewater treatment than those served by comparable utilities around the country.

The myriad regulations the District must follow drive the capital costs. Following these regulations is not optional. To arrive at the annual charges, the board weighs options and determines how best to provide funding to enable the District to meet the requirements in the most cost effective manner possible. 

To make sure the District is prepared to meet its future requirements, it undertakes extensive long-range planning measures. These plans look 10 or even 20 years or more into the future.

The Metro District’s 715-square mile service area includes most of metropolitan Denver, including all of Denver and parts of Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson Counties. Arvada, Aurora, Brighton, Lakewood, Thornton, and part of Westminster are included, and about 1.7 million people are served.

The Metro District collects and treats about 130 million gallons of wastewater a day at the Robert W. Hite Treatment Facility five miles northeast of central Denver. This plant is rated for a design flow of 220 million gallons a day (30-day average). It is the largest wastewater treatment facility in the Rocky Mountain West.

Formed under Colorado law in 1961, the Metro District provides wholesale wastewater transmission and treatment service to 59 local governments, including both cities and sanitation districts in metropolitan Denver. Additional information about the Metro District can be found at www.metrowastewater.com.

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