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Sewer and Water Rates

Note: Drinking water and recycled water services are only provided for the Davenport area. If you reside within the City of Santa Cruz or the surrounding unincorporated areas not located in the mountains, your water company is most likely to be either the City of Santa Cruz or Soquel Water. There are also some smaller water companies who service rural areas within Santa Cruz County. 

If you are unsure what district you reside in, please see our service districts map.

Fees

Please contact our office regarding permits and fees. If you know what district you reside in you can estimate your fees by using our Connection Fee Calculator. Please note actual fees may be higher or lower than indicated in the estimate calculator depending on the details of your project.  

All Rates


Select one of the Districts below for more information

Santa Cruz County Sanitation District (SCCSD)
Freedom County Sanitation District (FCSD)
Davenport County Sanitation District (DCSD)

 

Examples of how rates are calculated for Residential billing:

1 Single Family House (SFD)
= Single Family Current Year Rate x 1

2 Single Family Houses (SFDs) on one parcel 
= Single Family Current Year Rate x 2

1 Single Family House (SFD) and 1 Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
= (Single Family Current Year Rate x 1) + (Multiple Family Current Year Rate x 1)

1 Apartment, Condo or Townhouse
= Multiple Family Current Year Rate x 1

39 Apartments
= Multiple Family Current Year Rate x 39

What types of dwellings are considered to be a Multiple Family Rate? 
Apartments, Condos, Townhouses, Duplex (rate x2), Triplex (rate x3), Fourplex (rate x4), ADUs

My ADU or other type of residence is not being renting out and is currently being used as storage, will I be charged for it?
Yes, sewer service charges will be assessed regardless of vacancy. To stop sewer assessments, please contact sanitation to obtain a permit to remove the unit. After you have received the permit, a contractor must be hired to disconnect the lateral by plugging or capping it. A Sanitation Inspector will come to confirm that the process has been completed. Once the process has finished, the sewer charges will be prorated as need for the months of connection and future billings for that residential unit will discontinued.

Why is this charge so high for sewer charges? 
The sewer charges billed for this district are billed as a yearly charge. If you take the rate and divide it by 12 months, the charges are similar to other sewer districts who bill on a monthly basis.

Examples of how rates are calculated for Commercial billing

Other (General) Business
 = Current year Flat Rate + (Prior calendar year water usage in HCF x Current year Other Business HCF Rate)

2 Restaurants
 = (Current year Flat Rate x 2) + (Prior calendar year water usage for both Restaurants in HCF x Current year Restaurant HCF Rate)

Additional Information About Sewer Service Charges

Revenues to operate the District are collected yearly from residents, businesses and schools that are connected to the sanitary sewer system through property taxes and manual bills.

Sewer service rates are established through the Santa Cruz County Sanitation District, which is governed by a three‐member Board of Directors. Two of the District Board members are members of the County Board of Supervisors within whose jurisdiction the District boundaries lie. The third Board member is from the Capitola City Council, since Capitola sanitation is handled by the Sanitation District.

Using information supplied by District staff, the rates are reviewed each year by an independent engineering firm which specializes in revenue studies for utility districts and are subject to final approval by the Board. Before the rates are set, a notice of public hearing is mailed to all owners of property within the Sanitation District boundaries, another notice is published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the public hearing is held. The public hearing is normally scheduled in April or May of each year, with the rates becoming effective on the first of July. Customers are encouraged to participate in the public hearings and can send written comments to the attention of the District Engineer.

Residential Rates: Residential customers are charged a flat rate per dwelling unit. There are separate rates for Single Family Dwelling (SFD), Multiple Family Residences (townhouse or condo, duplex, apartment complex or ADU) and for mobile home parks.

Commercial Rates: Charges for commercial customers are based on the volume and pollutant strength of the wastewater being treated. In 1991/92 our rate structure was revised as part of a District‐wide revenue study designed to bring us up to current State and Federal standards. At that time, we converted to a two‐part rate which includes a flat annual charge per business space or suite, whether vacant or occupied, plus a composite volume rate which is based on each tenant's user category and the total annual water use.

The volume of wastewater is determined from records of water usage as metered by the Santa Cruz City Water Department (their jurisdiction within the Santa Cruz County Sanitation District covers the Live Oak area from Lake Avenue on the east side of the Yacht Harbor to 41st Avenue) and Soquel Creek Water District (from 41st Avenue to San Andreas Road). Due to the lead time involved in getting the yearly sewer charges placed on the County property tax statements, the current fiscal year's charges are based on water use and strength factors from the previous calendar year.

Water use for calculating the service charge is measured from January through December of the previous year (for example: for tax year 2016/17 the water use will be from January through December 2015). The sewer service charge for this period is placed on the property tax bill.

The following is an example of a typical 2016/17 restaurant service charge calculation if we assume that that restaurant used 560 HCF (hundred cubic feet) of water in the calendar year 2015: (560 HCF x $10.81) + $284.64 = $6,338.24

Commercial Renting and Leasing: Due to the lag in billing, commercial customers who rent or lease their property should carefully consider how sewer service charges are addressed in the lease or rental agreement. Changes in tenants with different demands for water or that have different wastewater strength will affect the yearly service charge. A landlord may not become aware of potential changes in service charges until well after tenant changes have occurred. All sewer service charges are billed to the property owner. Property owners are responsible for paying the charges whether or not they are can collect from their tenants.

How wastewater strength effects charges: Sewer service charges for commercial customers are based on volume, Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Suspended Solids (SS). Both BOD and SS generated by restaurants, bakeries, butchers, mortuaries and food processors, cost the District more to treat than wastewater with lower strengths, such as that generated by shoe stores, laundromats, office complexes, medical offices, etc.

 

User Group BOD Strength
(mg / liter)
SS Strength
(mg / liter)
Single Family Dwelling (SFD) 200 180
Multiple Family Dwelling 200 180
Bakery/Donut Shop 1070 250
Restaurants/Catering 1070 250
Food Processing 800 800
Funeral Parlors/Mortuaries 800 800
Other Business (incl wineries) 150 150
Schools 130 100
State Parks 130 100
Dominican Hospital 200 200
Chaminade Conference Center 500 600

Freedom County Sanitation District (FCSD)

Revenues to operate the Freedom County Sanitation District are collected yearly from residents, businesses and schools that are connected to the sanitary sewer system through property taxes and manual bills. Sewer service rates are established through hearings held with the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

Using information supplied by District staff, the rates are reviewed each year by an independent engineering firm which specializes in revenue studies for utility districts and are subject to final approval by the Board. Before the rates are set, a notice of public hearing is mailed to all owners of property within the Sanitation District boundaries, another notice is published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the public hearing is held. The public hearing is normally scheduled in April or May of each year, with the rates becoming effective on the first of July. Customers are encouraged to participate in the public hearings and can send written comments to the attention of the District Engineer.

Residential Rates: Residential customers are charged a flat rate per dwelling unit. There are separate rates for Single Family Dwelling (SFD), multi-family (Apartments, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), Townhouses, and Condos) and for Mobile Home Parks.

Commercial Rates: Charges for commercial customers are based on the volume and pollutant strength of the wastewater being treated. Our rate structure is a twopart rate which includes a flat annual charge per business space or suite, whether vacant or occupied, plus a composite volume rate which is based on each tenant's user category and the total annual water use.

The volume of wastewater is determined from records of water usage as metered by the Watsonville Water Department. Due to the lead time involved in getting the yearly sewer charges placed on the County property tax statements, the current fiscal year's charges are based on water use and strength factors from the previous calendar year.

Water use for the purpose of calculating the service charge is measured from January through December of the previous year (for example: for tax year 2016/17 the water use will be from January through December 2015). The sewer service charge for this period is placed on the property tax bill.

The following is an example of a typical 2016/17 restaurant service charge calculation if we assume that that restaurant used 560 HCF (hundred cubic feet) of water in the calendar year 2015: (560 HCF x $3.19) + $144.62 = $1,931.02

Commercial Renting and Leasing: Due to the lag in billing, commercial customers who rent or lease their property should carefully consider how sewer service charges are addressed in the lease or rental agreement. Changes in tenants with different demands for water or that have different wastewater strength will affect the yearly service charge. A landlord may not become aware of potential changes in service charges until well after tenant changes have occurred. All sewer service charges are billed to the property owner. Property owners are responsible for paying the charges regardless of if they can collect from their tenants.

How wastewater strength effects charges: Sewer service charges for commercial customers are based on volume, Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Suspended Solids (SS). Both BOD and SS generated by restaurants, bakeries, butchers, mortuaries and food processors, cost the District more to treat than wastewater with lower strengths, such as that generated by shoe stores, laundromats, office complexes, medical offices, etc.

User Group BOD Strength
(mg / liter)
SS Strength
(mg / liter)
Single Family Dwelling (SFD) 200 180
Multiple Family Dwelling 200 180
Bakery/Donut Shop 1070 250
Restaurants/Catering 1070 250
Food Processing 800 800
Funeral Parlors/Mortuaries 800 800
Other Business (incl wineries) 150 150
Schools 130 100
State Parks 130 100

Davenport County Sanitation District (DCSD)

Revenues to operate the Davenport County Sanitation District are collected yearly from residents, businesses and schools that are connected to the sanitary sewer system through property taxes and manual bills. Sewer service rates are established through hearings held with the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

Using information supplied by District staff, the rates are reviewed each year by an independent engineering firm which specializes in revenue studies for utility districts and are subject to final approval by the Board. Before the rates are set, a notice of public hearing is mailed to all owners of property within the Sanitation District boundaries, another notice is published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the public hearing is held. The public hearing is normally scheduled in April or May of each year, with the rates becoming effective on the first of July. Customers are encouraged to participate in the public hearings and can send written comments to the attention of the District Engineer.

Residential Rates: Residential customers are charged a flat rate for sewer and a flat rate for water per dwelling unit.

Commercial Rates: Charges for commercial customers are based on the volume and pollutant strength of the wastewater being treated. Our rate structure is a two‐part rate which includes a flat annual charge per business space or suite, whether vacant or occupied, plus a composite volume rate which is based on each tenant's user category and the total annual water use.

The volume of wastewater is determined from records of water usage as metered by the Davenport Water Facility. Due to the lead time involved in getting the yearly sewer charges placed on the County property tax statements, the current fiscal year's charges are based on water use and strength factors from the previous calendar year.

Water use is utilized for calculating the service charges. This is measured from January through December of the previous year (for example: for tax year 2016/17 the water use will be from January through December 2015). The sewer service charge for this period is placed on the property tax bill.

The following is an example of a typical 2016/17 restaurant service charge calculation if we assume that that restaurant used 560 HCF (hundred cubic feet) of water in the calendar year 2015:

Sewer: (560 HCF x $18.71) + $766.86 = $11,244.46
Water: (560 HCF x $9.63) + $415.70 = $5,808.50

Commercial Renting and Leasing: Due to the lag in billing, commercial customers who rent or lease their property should carefully consider how sewer service charges are addressed in the lease or rental agreement. Changes in tenants with different demands for water or that have different wastewater strength will affect the yearly service charge. A landlord may not become aware of potential changes in service charges until well after tenant changes have occurred. All sewer service charges are billed to the property owner. Property owners are responsible for paying the charges regardless of if they can collect from their tenants.