How Wastewater Rates Are Set
About Your Wastewater System
The City of Chino Hills provides wastewater (sewer) services for approximately 21,000 customer connections across our 45-square mile service area. Ensuring the conveyance of sewage from customers to treatment centers safely, reliably, and in compliance with all environmental standards takes a complex wastewater collection system. Providing your wastewater service also takes a highly trained staff devoted to dependability.
|8 lift stations
|Over 200 miles of pipeline
|17 pumps and motors
|4,855 maintenance access vaults
Wastewater Rate Study
The Wastewater Rate Study Report (PDF) for the City of Chino Hills was completed to evaluate the City’s existing wastewater system and develop wastewater rates with a technically sound methodology which meets the requirements of California Constitution Article XIII D, Section 6 (commonly referred to as “Proposition 218”). In particular, this Study contains thorough details on the following:
- The legal framework surrounding Proposition 218, particularly with respect to wastewater.
- Cost of service-based wastewater rates that meet Proposition 218 requirements.
The study summarizes the key findings and results related to the development of these charges for wastewater.
How are wastewater rates calculated?
The wastewater rates are based upon 1.) Pass-through treatment cost agreements that are set by the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA), and 2.) Expenses incurred by the City to operate and maintain the wastewater collection system that transports the wastewater from the customers' properties to the IEUA treatment facilities.
1. IEUA Treatment
The Inland Empire Utilities Agency is the agency responsible for treating and disposing of the wastewater for all residents and businesses in the City, as well as six other public agencies’ wastewater in the area. The IEUA Treatment fee is a 100% pass-through cost, which is billed at actual cost by the City on behalf of the IEUA. This fee appears on your monthly billing statement as the Sewer Treatment IEUA Pass-thru Charge, as shown in the image on the right. The City does not keep any portion of this pass-through charge.
2. City Collection System
As noted above, the City’s wastewater collection system is comprised of approximately 200 miles of gravity collection system pipe, eight lift stations, and associated force mains. The gravity collection system ranges from 4 to 30 inches in diameter, with over 4,800 maintenance access vaults. In order to continue providing adequate flow of sewage and minimize breakage and spills, the system requires regular maintenance, as well as pipeline repair and replacement. The City’s portion of the wastewater rate is designed to fund the City’s costs of providing wastewater service and appears on your monthly billing statement as City Sewer Maintenance Charge. See sample to the right.
Additionally, the majority of the City’s service area conveys wastewater by gravity alone. However, there are some areas of the wastewater collection system that require lift stations to pump the flows up to the primary transmission lines that connect to IEUA. In the areas of the City requiring pumping, an additional pump charge per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) is also included within the City Sewer Maintenance Charge.
Did you know we can only charge for the costs associated with providing and maintaining wastewater service?
As a public wastewater collection service provider, the City of Chino Hills can only charge its customers for the costs associated with providing wastewater collection service. The City cannot earn a profit, and can only pass along the costs associated with providing and maintaining the service. Revenues collected through the wastewater rates cannot be used to fund other City services, only the cost of operating and maintaining the wastewater collection system. When determining wastewater rates, the City of Chino Hills prioritizes:
- Fair Treatment of all customers
- Reflecting true costs of service
- Maintaining and protecting the City wastewater system's financial stability and its ability to provide high-level service
- Sufficiently covering IEUA treatment costs
When were wastewater rates approved in Chino Hills?
Proposition 218 (approved by voters in 1996) requires the City to give the ratepayers the opportunity to protest a change in rates. After allowing ratepayers the opportunity to protest a change in wastewater rates, the new wastewater rates were approved in July of 2023. The rates were approved after a majority of protest ballots from the total number of properties affected were not returned. A successful protest vote would have required 50%, plus one or 11,360 votes, of the total 22,718 properties. Only 6,312 valid protest forms were returned.
When will my wastewater rates increase?
When the wastewater rates were approved in July of 2023 after the Proposition 218 process, rate increases were scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2023, and each July 1st thereafter through 2027. The wastewater system will be evaluated every year to determine if the adopted rate increases are needed or if the next scheduled rate increases can be lower than what was initially noticed.